REPORT OF THE TRANSFER ARTICULATION TASK FORCE

SUMMARY


The Transfer Articulation Task Force, made up of both community college and university representatives, was established by the State Board of Directors for Community Colleges and the Arizona Board of Regents in response to a mandate of the 1996 Legislature. While building upon existing articulation programs, this task force has introduced significant structural changes designed to improve the range and effectiveness of the transfer system in Arizona. The report of the task force contains the following key proposals.

New Transfer Model

The task force proposes a new model for transfer that includes new transfer limits, new transfer degrees, new general education requirements, new common program requirements for equivalent majors, and the concept of transfer blocks, resulting in new pathways for transfer. The task force is mindful that some of its proposals will require changes in the policies of the community colleges and universities. Where this is the case, the policy changes should be made as soon as feasible.

New Transfer Limits. The task force proposes that the universities adopt one-half of the degree requirements plus one course as the limit of the number of credits that can be accepted by transfer from a community college for application to a baccalaureate degree.

New Transfer Degrees. The task force proposes that community colleges develop three basic transfer degrees: the Associate in Arts (AA), the Associate in Business (ABus), and the Associate in Science (AS). The AA degree would prepare students to transfer into a broad array of liberal arts majors, the ABus degree would prepare students to transfer into business and business-related majors, and the AS degree would prepare students to transfer into majors with more stringent mathematics and mathematics-based science requirements.

New General Education Curriculum. The task force proposes reducing the present 41-credit Transfer General Education Core Curriculum (TGECC) to 35 credits for the Associate of Arts and to 24 credits (with mathematics and science requirements shifted from general education to program requirements) for the Associate of Science. The task force also proposes that the universities will accept as a block the two Arizona General Education Curricula (AGEC), and will apply them to the graduation requirements of the relevant majors. Students will no longer have to be concerned about courses included in the AGEC also having to satisfy other program requirements.

New Common Major Requirements for Equivalent Majors. Some, but by no means all, university majors require that students begin to specialize in the lower division. In these cases, the task force proposes that at least 6 credits of requirements common to similar majors at the several universities be identified. For students who complete the common major requirements, these credits will transfer as a block and apply to the graduation requirements for that major, so that students can select a major without initially having to decide upon a university.

Transfer Blocks for General Education, Major Requirements, and Associate Degrees. The task force proposes that the AGEC, the common major requirements, and the new associate degrees transfer as blocks. Completed blocks are treated as a whole; the components are no longer examined separately to determine transferability or applicability. All credits for which students receive a grade of "C" or better are accepted and applied toward the university degree, whether the credit was awarded for course completion, assessment of prior learning, or via some other nontraditional learning mode. The task force also proposes that APASC be charged to determine the conditions under which community college courses will be accepted as electives within the structure of the new transfer degrees.

New Pathways for Transfer. The task force proposes that university baccalaureate majors be placed into one of six categories based on the manner in which they articulate with community college programs. Students who are accepted into an articulated university major will transfer with "Junior status," and all credits taken in fulfillment of the requirements for the transfer degree will apply to the graduation requirements of that major. For university programs to which admission is competitive, applications from transfer students will be evaluated on the same basis as those from native students.

The first set of categories includes majors which articulate with the Associate in Arts - General Requirements (AA-GR), the Associate in Business (ABus), and the Associate in Science - General Requirements (AS-GR). Students can complete the AA, ABus, or AS degrees, respectively, without having to take specialized courses or to decide upon a major or university, and then they may transfer into majors in these categories.

The next set of categories includes majors which articulate with the Associate in Arts - Special Requirements (AA-SR) and the Associate in Science - Special Requirements (AS - SR). In this instance, students will need to make a decision at the end of the freshman year (30 credits) and will need to take some specialized courses as part of their AA or AS degree programs. Where more than one university offers the same or similar majors, the goal is to maximize the commonality of specialized requirements across the universities. Majors in these categories will be periodically reviewed to determine if specialized courses are necessary at the lower-division level.

The final category is the Transfer Guide - Exceptional Requirements (TG-XR). This category includes majors that do not qualify for one of the above categories. Each major in this category will be reviewed at least once every four years to assess the feasibility of qualifying it for another category.

New Transfer Support System

The task force proposes a new support system for the transfer model. This transfer support system includes a new management system, a new advising system, and two new computer-based information systems--a course applicability system and a transfer data warehouse. Staff hired to implement and maintain these systems will work as a team to provide transfer support services. The State Board of Directors and the Arizona Board of Regents will analyze the resources needed to implementing these new support systems.

New Management System. The task force proposes that the current organizational structure for managing transfer articulation in Arizona be reviewed and streamlined by the Academic Program Articulation Steering Committee (APASC), that a full-time Articulation Facilitator be hired to coordinate the management of transfer articulation, that the responsibilities of committees and articulation task forces (ATFs) be broadened to include program articulation, and that special articulation task forces be included in the ATF process and publications. Also, criteria should be developed to differentiate between lower- and upper-division courses, the effectiveness of ATFs should be enhanced through the process by which faculty representatives are selected and trained, and the accountability of task forces and committees for the success of the articulation process should be strengthened.

New Advising System. The task force proposes that advising for potential transfer students be improved through a partnership between the community colleges and the universities. This new advising system will provide for enhanced advocacy for students, access of students to proactive advising, support for student decision-making, formal advising networks, staff development and support, and evaluation for continuous improvement.

Course Applicability System. The task force proposes that Arizona's community colleges and universities continue to support and implement the computer-based information system currently under development by the State Board of Directors for Community Colleges and the Arizona Board of Regents, in partnership with the Ohio Board of Regents and Ohio's Miami University Degree Audit Reporting System. When implemented, the Course Applicability System (CAS) will automate key aspects of the current paper, labor and time-intensive articulation system and allow students and advisors to obtain consistent and accurate course transfer information on-line, using the World Wide Web.

Transfer Data Warehouse. The task force proposes that a relational database, in the form of a "data warehouse," containing standardized information on the students who transfer between Arizona's institutions of higher education be developed and made available through the World Wide Web to designated analysts at each community college and university.

Articulation Support Services. The task force proposes that the staff positions required to support the new management and information systems work closely together as an articulation support services team to ensure that these three support systems are coordinated and take advantage of synergies and cost savings.

Conclusion

The proposals described here build upon the strengths of the existing transfer process, while introducing a number of significant structural changes. With the addition of major student and technical support systems, including a formal oversight and accountability structure, this new transfer model provides flexible yet efficient pathways to high quality post-secondary education for students who transfer between Arizona's public community colleges and universities. Successful implementation of this new model will enable Arizona to continue in its role as a national leader in providing statewide access for transfer students.

While these proposals address all of the current issues discussed by the task force, several additional issues were identified as likely to emerge in the next few years. These emerging issues include competency-based assessment and articulation with technology-delivered programs and courses. The task force's final proposal is that APASC develop goals to address these emerging issues, once the current set of goals and proposals have been implemented.


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