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Supporting the Academic and Social Integration of Transfer Students Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (ISTS) January 24, 2007 Thomas Brown

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1 Supporting the Academic and Social Integration of Transfer Students Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (ISTS) January 24, 2007 Thomas Brown

2 Everybody’s talking about transfer students…

3 Transfer Success in Missouri Transfer students are the majority of entering students at two urban campuses…it is imperative to study the success of these students. University of Missouri report, 2004

4 Indicators of Success in Washington Two indicators focus specifically on outcomes for Washington community college students who transfer…. Promoting Student Success Through Greater Accountability Washington H.E. Coordinating Board April 2005

5 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) Board policies for student success include transfer and graduation. Definitions of success include students who transfer…. MNSCU Student Success Measures Project May 16, 2007

6 Student Success in Connecticut Successful transfer is one measure of success… Student Success in Connecticut Colleges September 2007

7 In California… Student success should be measured through outcomes, including: Time to degree Graduation rates Four year degrees conferred on transfer students. How Are California Public Colleges Doing? July 2007 July 2007

8 Today’s Session… Who are transfer students? Why do students transfer? Who are transfer students? Why do students transfer? What are their strengths? What are their strengths? What challenges do transfer students encounter as they move in, move through and move on from higher education? What challenges do transfer students encounter as they move in, move through and move on from higher education? What individual and institutional initiatives can enhance their learning, development, and persistence? What individual and institutional initiatives can enhance their learning, development, and persistence?

9 Obstacles to successful transfer Negative attitudes and low expectations Negative attitudes and low expectations Lack of adequate information about the social and academic climate of the new institution Lack of adequate information about the social and academic climate of the new institution Course transferability issues Course transferability issues Problems with registration, orientation, academic advising, housing, etc. Problems with registration, orientation, academic advising, housing, etc. Student expectations based on positive prior institutional experiences. Student expectations based on positive prior institutional experiences. “ Strategies for Successful Transfer Orientation” Ward-Roof & Cawthorn, 2004

10 Keys to transfer success Faculty/staff support Faculty/staff support Personal motivation/self discipline Personal motivation/self discipline Supportive environment Supportive environment Peer support Peer support Courses completed/availability of needed courses Heidi Kippenham U of North Dakota AACRAO Conference 2007 Courses completed/availability of needed courses Heidi Kippenham U of North Dakota AACRAO Conference 2007

11 Keys to transfer success Professional development Many key competencies are developed after educators arrive on campus. Therefore, colleges must assume the responsibility for teaching and developing their own educators to enhance student learning inside and outside the classroom by providing professional development programs. Brown & Ward, 2007

12 Group introductions Name Name Institution/Organization Institution/Organization Your title/position Your title/position Your role, responsibilities, relationship to transfer students and issues. Your role, responsibilities, relationship to transfer students and issues. What is one successful aspect of your efforts to support transfer students? What is one successful aspect of your efforts to support transfer students? What challenge, issue, or question do you hope to have addressed today? What challenge, issue, or question do you hope to have addressed today?

13 Who are transfer students? Institutions must clearly and accurately define their transfer populations when attempting to develop or modify programs and services for transfer students. Kerr, King, & Grites, 2004

14 They are traditional aged and senior citizens. They are overachievers and underachievers. They are international students; moms with young children; they are students with disabilities; they are displaced homemakers; first generation students and students in recovery needing a nurturing atmosphere…. Bernice Dunn, 2004

15 Treating everyone the same may be equal treatment, but it may not be equitable treatment.

16 A Principle: Human beings seek to economize on the energy required to make distinctions.

17 Example: Most houseplants die because we treat them all the same.

18 Multiple issues… Transfer students Transfer students First-generation First-generation Adult and re-entry students Adult and re-entry students Students of color/multicultural/international Students of color/multicultural/international Student with disabilities Student with disabilities Student-athletes Student-athletes Undecided students Undecided students First-year students (at their new institution….) First-year students (at their new institution….) LGBT Students LGBT Students Underprepared Students Underprepared Students Others?? Others??

19 Transfer in US Higher Ed 1/3 of all students will transfer at least once. 1/3 of all students will transfer at least once. 43% of two-year students will transfer at least once. 43% of two-year students will transfer at least once. 20% of students will attend three or more institutions. 20% of students will attend three or more institutions. Wellman, 2002; Ewell, Schild, & Paulson, 2003 Wellman, 2002; Ewell, Schild, & Paulson, 2003

20 Who are Transfer students? Vertical transfers: 2 to 4 year campuses Horizontal transfers: 2 to 2 year campus 4 to 4 year campus Reverse transfers: 4 year to 2 year Swirling transfers: transferring multiple times to various institutional types

21 Swirling Taking advantage of the varied educational opportunities and experiences available in the diverse US higher education system.

22 Others?? Who are transfer students on your campus, in your state, system/district, etc.? What do you know? What more do you need to know?

23 Why do students transfer? Poor institutional fit New or changed personal, educational, or career goals New or changed personal, educational, or career goals Social environment incongruent Social environment incongruent with students expectations, abilities comfort level, academic performance or skills level. “Advising Students in Transition” Peggy King, 2000 Peggy King, 2000

24 Only 43% of transfers to 4-year institutions are from 2-year institutions. Wellman (2002)

25 Why do students transfer? Two-year to four-year Financial considerations Financial considerations Admissions requirements Admissions requirements Availability of developmental coursework Availability of developmental coursework Geographic proximity Geographic proximity King, 2000

26 Two-year to four-year transfer The two year college is perhaps the most effective democratizing agent in higher education. Knoell & Medsker, 1965 Community colleges make winners out of ordinary people…. Leslie Koltai, 1993

27 Community colleges are on the front lines of American higher education in providing increased opportunities for students who otherwise would be denied access…. “ Advising Multicultural Populations for Achievement and Success.” Tom Brown & Mario Rivas, 1993 New Directions for Community Colleges

28 Two-year to four-year transfer 45% of all US undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges. 45% of all US undergraduates are enrolled in community colleges. 47% of all students of color enter higher education through two-year colleges. 47% of all students of color enter higher education through two-year colleges. 52% of community college students are first generation. 52% of community college students are first generation. 57% of community college students are women. 57% of community college students are women. CCSSE 2005

29 Over the years, research has consistently shown that students, when they transfer, perform as well as student who initially enroll at four-year colleges….

30 Transfer students tend to be one of the best retention risks in higher education today. These students have one or two years of college experience, are more mature, and often have determined an educational objective…. Michael McCauley, 2000

31 We must know the characteristics of the successful transfer students at our institutions so we can identify the services needed for other transfer students to succeed. Tartar & Miller, 1995

32 A challenge… Many community college transfer students struggle against the perception that they cannot succeed at four- year institutions…. Jack Kent Cooke Foundation

33 What misconceptions about transfer students serve as obstacles to their successful academic and social integration? What are some myths about transfer students on your campus? How might these be challenged or changed?

34 What are some of the strengths of transfer students? How do transfer students contribute to institutional mission, the learning community, peer groups, etc.?

35 A high percentage of students in two year colleges indicate their plans to transfer; however, too few students achieve their goal.

36 Why students leave college: Psychological factors Psychological factors Environmental factors Environmental factors Societal factors Societal factors Institutional factors Institutional factors What about us? What about me?

37 Institutions are far more likely to attribute attrition to student characteristics than to institutional characteristics. What Works In Student Retention, 2004

38 4We build beautiful campuses, 4 We hire distinguished faculty,  We develop a challenging curriculum… then the “wrong” students show up! Dr. Betty Siegel, President Emerita Kennesaw State University

39 What happens to students after they enroll frequently has a more powerful impact on whether they persist or leave. Vincent Tinto, 1993

40 Talking About Leaving Students with 650+ Math SATs 40% leave engineering 50% leave biological sciences 60% leave mathematics Why undergraduates leave the sciences E. Seymour & N. Hewitt, 1997

41 Why do students leave college? Incongruence What they encounter is not what they expected….

42 Why do students leave college? Isolation Inability to connect with significant members of the campus community….

43 What do students say? They feel anxious about transferring credits. They feel anxious about transferring credits. Policies, procedures, and expectations are complex and confusing. Policies, procedures, and expectations are complex and confusing. They feel lost and experience difficulties getting connected to their new communities. They feel lost and experience difficulties getting connected to their new communities. Kippenham, 2007

44 Ann Lynch’s Moving in, moving through, and moving on provides a conceptual framework for organizing academic advising and other support services. Arthur Chickering, 1994

45 Model for transfer students Pre-transfer:moving in Transfer:moving through Post-transfer:moving on Gernand, 1992

46 Pre-transfer issues Raise awareness of transfer issues Raise awareness of transfer issues Locate relevant transfer resources Locate relevant transfer resources Prepare for transfer, including enhancing positive social, academic, and personal skills. Prepare for transfer, including enhancing positive social, academic, and personal skills. Assess options re: majors, careers, etc. Assess options re: majors, careers, etc. Understand articulation processes Understand articulation processes Manage personal, social, financial issues Manage personal, social, financial issues Steele & McDonald, 2000

47 Academic Advising Articulation Task Force University of Arizona, Arizona State University and community colleges Members: Faculty, advisors, administrators, and transfer student ombudspersons (TSO)

48 Effective articulation Offers consistency in the treatment of transfer students. Offers consistency in the treatment of transfer students. Faculty should have major involvement and responsibility for creating agreements. Faculty should have major involvement and responsibility for creating agreements. Transfer students should have equal access to programs at receiving institutions. Transfer students should have equal access to programs at receiving institutions. Simplify, simplify,simplify processes. Simplify, simplify,simplify processes. Should enable students to progress. Should enable students to progress. Not “one size fits all”. Not “one size fits all”. Sullivan, Dyer, Franklin 2004

49 Transfer issues Ensure that beliefs about transfer are based on fact Ensure that beliefs about transfer are based on fact Cooperation between institutions is important. Cooperation between institutions is important. Managing “transfer shock” Managing “transfer shock” Steele & McDonald, 2000

50 Obstacles to successful transfer Transfer students often have a false sense of security viz. their understanding of the higher education environment, and they miss orientation programs they may feel are going to be redundant or unnecessary. Transfer students often have a false sense of security viz. their understanding of the higher education environment, and they miss orientation programs they may feel are going to be redundant or unnecessary. Transfer students often have pre- conceived ideas about their new institution. Transfer students often have pre- conceived ideas about their new institution. Strategies for Successful Transfer Orientation Ward-Roof & Cawthorn, 2004

51 Transfer Shock The tendency for a student’s GPA to drop in the first semester after transfer to a new institution. Bird, 1956; Cedja, 1994; Cantrell, 1996 Transfer Shock The tendency for a student’s GPA to drop in the first semester after transfer to a new institution. Bird, 1956; Cedja, 1994; Cantrell, 1996

52 Transfers often think that what they did at their previous school will be all they have to do to be successful here…. Karen Watson, Academic Advisor Virginia Tech

53 Transfer success solutions 1. Acknowledge differences between institutions. 2. Recognize losses incurred during transfer. 3. Understand new expectations. 4. Learning new rules, policies. Bingham-Newman & Hopkins, 2004

54 We need to get students to understand that they may need to sharpen their study skills and apply them in a different way to understand transfer shock and how they can avoid it. Karen Watson

55 What are some differences between two-year and four-year campuses that could undermine transfer student success? Personal, social, cultural Academic, career, or other?

56 How could adverse effects of difference be mediated? How might institutions act affirmatively to bridge gaps between student expectations and their experiences?

57 Programmatic Initiatives 1. Articulation agreements-institution and departments/programs 2. Specialized transition courses for transfer students (required) 3. Specialized transfer orientation programs 4. Special Web pages 5. Peer mentor programs 6. Developmental academic advising 7. Honors programs 8. Financial aid programs 9. One-stop centers (Transfer center) 10. Transfer ombudsperson

58 Transfer students need to be provided with services similar to those offered to first-year students, although we need to recognize that their needs are different from first years. Vincent Tinto, 1993

59 Receiving institutions need to structure transfer student orientation programs to include the academic, social, psychological, and cultural aspects of campus life. Grites, 2004

60 Six key elements for transfer orientation 1. Institution information—history, traditions, mission, etc. 2. Academic information—policies, programs, people 3. Logistical—parking, financial aid, library, etc. 4. Social issues—student activities, organizations, events 5. Assessments—placement, career, etc. 6. Transition issues—diversity, safety, commuting, academic and social challenges. Austin, 1998 Austin, 1998

61 Keys to Orientation Success 1. Institutional awareness and commitment to transfer student issues and needs 2. Adequate resources and services 3. Family involvement 4. Provide opportunities for peer interactions 5. Involve transfer students in program planning and implementation 6. Strengthen relationships with sending institutions 7. Assess and use results for future program improvement and development Ward-Roof & Cawthorn, 2004 Ward-Roof & Cawthorn, 2004

62 What academic issues should be addressed in orientation? Academic expectations and success Academic expectations and success Meetings with department and programs Meetings with department and programs Meetings with academic advisor Meetings with academic advisor Library and technology resources Library and technology resources Academic support services (e.g., tutoring, study skills) Academic support services (e.g., tutoring, study skills) Honors programs Honors programs Academic research opportunities Academic research opportunities NACADA Transfer & Transition Survey, 2002 NACADA Transfer & Transition Survey, 2002

63 What social needs should be addressed in orientation programs Counseling and career planning services Counseling and career planning services Health and wellness Health and wellness Volunteer opportunities Volunteer opportunities Athletics and intramurals Athletics and intramurals Clubs and organizations Clubs and organizations Issues for commuter students Issues for commuter students NACADA Transfer & Transition Survey, 2002 NACADA Transfer & Transition Survey, 2002

64 Transfer Center Separate office or facility designed exclusively to provide services and direction for transfer students. Centralized knowledge, skills, and resources Staffed by professional staff, faculty, peer mentors

65 Organizational Models: Shared (TRANSFER CENTER)

66 Examples of 4 year Initiatives One-to-one advising One-to-one advising Transfer orientation website Transfer orientation website Information sessions during orientation Information sessions during orientation Weekly (e.g., Academic Fitness at Virginia Tech) Weekly (e.g., Academic Fitness at Virginia Tech) Outreach to first generation students Outreach to first generation students Monitoring midterm grades Monitoring midterm grades Discussing major Discussing major re: locating housing, commuting re: locating housing, commuting

67 Retention practices responsible for greatest contribution to retention in 4-year public colleges and universities fall into three categories: 1. Academic advising (including selected cohorts, more advisors). 2. First-year programs (learning communities, integration of advising with first-year programs, University 101-type courses. 3. Learning support (tutoring, SI, summer bridge programs).

68 Academic advising is critical to the success of transfer students. Kerr, King, & Grites, 2004

69 Academic advising is assisting students to share the responsibility for academic planning with faculty, with students finally being able to find their own answers and use their advisors as sounding boards. Academic Advising for Student Success Susan Frost, 1991

70 Changing Environment & Changing Students PRESCRIPTIVE DEVELOPMENTAL Lynch, 1989; Brown& Rivas, 1994; Creamer, 2000; Brown, 2005 Need for Information Need for Consultation Changing Needs for Advising Moving InMoving Through Moving On II/ S I/S S/ I S I = Institutional Faculty, advisors, etc. S = Student Changing Contexts for Advising

71 Issues for multicultural students

72 Two-year colleges are the point of access for significant numbers of students of color.

73 Barriers to success for multicultural students Lack of identification with teachers and counselors Lack of identification with teachers and counselors Poor attitudes and expectations for teachers Poor attitudes and expectations for teachers Lack of support systems Lack of support systems Unclear goals Unclear goals Feelings of inadequacy/fear of failure Feelings of inadequacy/fear of failure Undefined values Undefined values Lack of minority presence Lack of minority presence Quality Education for Minorities Project, 1990 Quality Education for Minorities Project, 1990

74 Differing experiences for white and multicultural students More difficulty adjusting to large classes More difficulty adjusting to large classes Feel alienated upon transferring Feel alienated upon transferring Feel stigmatized as a “transfer student” Feel stigmatized as a “transfer student” Concerns about emphasis on competition for grades Concerns about emphasis on competition for grades More difficulty adjusting to academic environment. More difficulty adjusting to academic environment. Greater feelings of insecurity about the university environment. Greater feelings of insecurity about the university environment. Laanan, 1999

75 Effective interventions for Multicultural Transfer Students Collaboration between 2- and 4-year Collaboration between 2- and 4-year Transfer focused workshops and orientation programming Transfer focused workshops and orientation programming Advisors who take the initiative to reach out and connect students to academic, financial, student support services, minority organizations, etc. Advisors who take the initiative to reach out and connect students to academic, financial, student support services, minority organizations, etc. Advisors probe students re: major and career choices, and provide support re: personal experiences on campus, family issues, etc. Advisors probe students re: major and career choices, and provide support re: personal experiences on campus, family issues, etc. Peer mentor program Peer mentor program Laanan, 1999

76 Cognitive, Emotional and Behavioral Barriers Undermining attributions Undermining attributions Ego involvement Ego involvement Reluctance to seek assistance Reluctance to seek assistance Rivas & Brown, 2007

77 Faculty at 4-year institutions often negatively perceive the capabilities of community college transfers. Gonzalez, 2002

78 Community college transfer students are viewed by faculty and staff receiving institutions as possessing less ability and preparation and are deemed less likely to succeed than those entering directly from high school…. Bingham-Newman & Hopkins, 2004

79 Attributions When something happens in life, to what do we attribute the cause?

80 Shift attributions from ability to background. Students’ attributions and those of faculty and staff.

81 Creating strong and satisfying transfer experiences requires strong partnerships between students, faculty/staff involved in matriculation[, teaching and advising.] Dougherty, 2004

82 Establish a Transfer Student Discussion Group Promote awareness of transfer issues and collaborate to improve campus climate. Promote awareness of transfer issues and collaborate to improve campus climate. Involve key people from Recruitment, Admissions, Enrollment Management, Academic Advising, services for special populations (e.g., TRIO, athletes, international). Involve key people from Recruitment, Admissions, Enrollment Management, Academic Advising, services for special populations (e.g., TRIO, athletes, international). Data Driven (e.g., feeder institutions, students, areas of interest). Data Driven (e.g., feeder institutions, students, areas of interest). Empower the group to make things happen…. Heidi Kippenham, 2007 Empower the group to make things happen…. Heidi Kippenham, 2007

83 Institutions don’t change. Institutional/organizational change happens only when individuals take the initiative to create change in their areas of responsibility. Peter Senge, Professor MIT Center for Organizational Learning

84 Supporting the Academic and Social Integration of Transfer Students Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (ISTS) January 24, 2007 Thomas Brown


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