Tulsa Community College, along with regional partners Rogers State University, the University of Tulsa, Langston University, Northeastern State University and Oklahoma State University, have joined forces for the Tulsa Collaborative Transfer Project.
During this project, each institution will participate in the Foundations of Excellence Transfer program coordinated by the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education.
The Schusterman Family Foundation is sponsoring the project, and as the area’s largest provider of transfer students, TCC has assumed a leadership role. The project aims to increase the number of transfer students from TCC, reduce the loss of transfer credits, and increase the attainment of bachelor’s degrees for the Tulsa area so that the community will be able to meet future workforce demands.
“Increasing transfer rates and baccalaureate attainment is hugely important for Oklahoma,” says Emily Tichenor, TCC director of academic projects. “TCC students should have a clear and outlined path to complete a Bachelor’s degree within our community.”
For the 2017-18 academic year, 3,419 TCC students transferred to a four-year institution, with 54.8 percent of those attending one of the five Tulsa Collaborative Transfer partner institutions
“Our transfer rates aren’t as high as they could be,” says Jennifer Ivie, TCC director of institutional research and assessment. “Our students lose credits when they transfer, and they aren’t earning bachelor’s degrees at a high enough rate when they do transfer. We want to improve transfer outcomes for our students.”
The Gardner Institute’s Foundations of Excellence transfer model provides the framework for the project, seeking to improve the transfer experience by providing a structure for gathering evidence to analyze the transfer student experience at each institution. The project should increase knowledge of transfer students, increase perceived importance of transfer issues at each institution, and build a plan to improve the overall transfer experience.
“The Gardner Institute has done this work before with colleges and universities all over the country,” says Tichenor, “but it has always been a single college, or a state-system, never with a group of regional partner institutions. So Tulsa will be unique.”
The project is expected to last several years, and the work will require the involvement of committees at each institution. TCC’s committee is comprised of faculty, staff and administrators. Students are also being included in the brainstorming sessions to ensure their experiences are represented.
“We are hoping the process will focus on faculty who work in programs with transfer students, staff who work with transfer students, such as those in advising or financial aid, and students who are planning to transfer or have already transferred,” says Ivie.
The Higher Learning Commission assumes that each of their accredited institutions allows for ease of transfer of college credits. This assumed practice is particularly important because nation-wide community college students lose 43 percent of their credits when transferring to a four-year institution. Only 16 percent of Oklahoma community college students complete a bachelor’s degree.
The project officially kicks off this month, and organizers want you to participate. Two brainstorming sessions are coming up, the first on Sept. 28, and the second on Oct. 5. You can find details further down in The Week.