Accreditation Evidence - 2021 Midterm Report

QFE 1 (Increasing Transfers)

QFE 1. From the Commission Visiting Team External Report:

The college has determined two areas of need that the institution will be working on with a targeted improvement plan.  The college determined there was a need to address a shortfall in student transfers to four-year institutions that was revealed through the institutional effectiveness data.  The pattern of decreasing transfers was observed started from 2015 and declining below the institution set standard in 2016-2017.  Faculty and staff have investigated potential reasons for the decline in transfer numbers and identified potential contributing factors such as the decline in enrollment at the institution overall. The dialogue about the declining transfer numbers produced a number of suggestions and actions the institution could implement to reverse the trend.  The college convened the Transfer Task Force to monitor the progress of the initiatives.

The initiatives that were implemented include curriculum alignment meetings, visits from Humboldt State University (HSU) faculty to College of the Redwoods classes, visits to Humboldt, and the development of materials to promote the Associate Degrees for Transfer.  The success of these initiatives will be monitored by the Transfer Task Force and further data analysis and research will be used to identify impactful actions to be implemented in the 2018-2019 school year.  An additional aspect of the improvement plan will be to strengthen the Transfer Center through additional resources so that effective actions can be sustained.  An update on the progress of the plan that was provided during the site visit indicated that HSU had decided to fund a position that would be responsible for monitoring and administering the actions taken to increase transfers to HSU.  The position work location would be at the College of the Redwoods main campus; this represents evidence of the collaborative work that began as a result of the institutional effectiveness process at the college.  The project is well aligned with the college mission and values by using assessment to promote student learning.

In 2017, the College created a transfer task force with the focus to come up with ways to increase collaboration and student transfer between the College and Humboldt State University (HSU), the College’s main “feeder” institution for transfer. The task force recommended a re-examination of the College’s transfer agreements with HSU as well as more direct transfer assistance for students at the College seeking transfer to HSU (QFE1.1). As a result, the College’s and HSU’s articulation officers worked together with faculty and deans to ensure articulation agreements were current and accurate (QFE1.2, QFE1.3, QFE1.4, QFE1.5). In addition, the College obtained a “Transfer Specialist” to facilitate student transfer to HSU. The Transfer Specialist is an employee of HSU, but maintains a regular presence at the College and is exclusively available to students at the College. The Transfer Specialist also facilitates events for students at the College so they can learn more about the opportunities available to them at HSU (QFE1.6, QFE1.7, QFE1.8, QFE1.9).

In 2018, the vice president of instruction, along with the College’s articulation officer, compiled a document that included all of the College’s courses by discipline/major along with the course equivalents at HSU. The vice president sent the document to all area deans who then worked with their faculty members to improve course-to-course articulation where there were gaps between the two instotutions (QFE1.31, QFE1.32, QFE1.33).

Counselors, advisors, and student support staff at the College meet monthly to keep current on important updates and issues and to receive trainings. Transfer is a standing agenda item at these meetings during which transfer-related topics and updates are presented and discussed by all the constituent groups present (QFE1.10, QFE1.14, QFE1.15). “Transfer Talks” are also offered as professional development events. They are facilitated by a College counselor and are available to all counselors and advisors so they can receive in-depth information about topics pertaining to their work with transfer students (QFE1.11, QFE1.12). Each year, a counselor alerts faculty and staff of all transfer-related dates, deadlines and events in order for them to share with students through Canvas pages and websites (QFE1.13, QFE1.37, QFE1.38).

In addition to the support of counselors and advisors, all students can navigate progress toward their associate degree for transfer through the use of “program evaluation”, the College’s degree audit system in WebAdvisor and browse different academic pathways, degrees, and transfer general education patterns on the College’s website and in the catalog (QFE1.16, QFE1.17, QFE1.18).

The College currently offers 19 associate degrees for transfer, which provide a structured transfer pathway to the California State University system, guaranteeing admission and completion of a bachelor degree in no more than 60 units for majors deemed similar between the College and CSU schools (QFE1.26, QFE1.27).

Students desiring transfer to universities outside of the California State University system or into majors that do not have a similar associate degree for transfer can transfer seamlessly by utilizing the College’s articulated agreements with those institutions and with the support and guidance of the counselors and advisors (QFE1.19, QFE1.20).

To ensure that students remain aware of transfer-related deadlines and events, student services areas email currently enrolled students annually with information about application deadlines, important dates and events related to transfer (QFE1.21, QFE1.22). In addition, the College’s annual calendar and counseling/advising page are updated and present transfer-related dates, deadlines and events on the College’s website (QFE1.23). “Transfer Day” is an annual event where representatives from different institutions come to the College to meet directly with students and representatives from universities and other transfer institutions also visit the College outside of this annual event to meet with students (QFE1.24, QFE1.25).

The goal of increasing transfers is tracked through the College’s annual plan process. Specifically, the Guided Pathways initiatives involving sequencing courses and identifying ways to reduce student average unit accumulation as well as tracking the effectiveness of the College’s Transfer Center appear as features in the annual plan (QFE1.30). Moreover, the QFE goal has permeated throughout the institution so that when the College creates new degrees and even certificates, transfer to HSU is always a consideration (QFE1.34, QFE1.35, QFE1.36).

Analysis and Evaluation:

The College has engaged in efforts to improve transfer numbers since it completed its self-evaluation process in 2018. The data show that these efforts have been successful. First, there has been an almost doubling of the number of associate degrees for transfer awarded after these efforts were under way. In 2017-2018 and 2018-2019, the College awarded 72 and 74 associate degrees for transfer (ADT) respectively. In 2019-2020, the College awarded 130 ADT degrees (QFE1.28).  Moreover, despite a slight drop in 2018-19, the College has steadily increased the number of students transferring to the CSU. 2019-2020, the last statistical year available, saw 234 College of the Redwoods’ students transfer to a CSU campus, its highest total in the six-year period covered by this data (QFE1.29). The College will continue with all of these efforts and has been holding a number of “summit” meetings with HSU faculty and administrators to improve the institutional relationships, especially as HSU transitions to become the third polytechnic university in California.

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