Joint Boards Articulation Commission
Purpose and Introduction
This report outlines the activities of the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC) for the period September 1998 to June 1999. This first section briefly presents background information regarding the JBAC and then the following section describes specific JBAC issues, discussions, projects and activities.
The JBAC, created by the State Board of Education and State Board of Higher Education in July 1992, recently completed its seventh year of operation. The Commission is comprised of representatives from the community college, university system, K-12, and independent college sectors and was established to "encourage active cooperation and collaboration among sectors and within systems in order to achieve the most effective and efficient articulation possible." Commission members are appointed by each education sector's chief executive officer (Oregon University System Chancellor, Commissioner of Community Colleges, Superintendent of Public Instruction, and Executive Director of the Oregon Independent Colleges Association).
Specifically, the JBAC is charged with and focuses its activities toward:
The JBAC meets on a monthly basis throughout the academic year to address the issues arising from its charge. In order to maximize the number of topics and issues to be addressed, a variety of concerns are also considered by the JBAC's standing and ad hoc committees. During the 1998-99 academic year, the Student Transfer Committee worked to advise the JBAC on a variety of relevant topics. Additionally, issues and recommendations arising from the JBAC's series of "action teams" formed during the 1997-98 academic year, were recurring agenda items for 1998-99.
JBAC Issues, Projects and Activities
During this past year, the JBAC initiated, discussed, completed, and/or made significant progress on the following issues and projects:
Course and Credit Transfer Plan
Presentation of a "plan for course and credit transfer" was called for in the 1997 Oregon Legislative Assembly's HB 2387 (ORS 341.425). This document, to be prepared and submitted jointly by the State Board of Education and the State Board of Higher Education, was to describe "a plan for the transfer of credits between community colleges and state institutions of higher education." In response to this Act, a report was prepared by staff of the Oregon University System Chancellor's Office and the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development (CCWD), under the auspices of the Joint Boards Articulation Commission and the Joint Boards of Education. The report included the following sections:
The plan was presented, in preliminary form, to the November 20, 1998, meeting of the Joint Boards by JBAC Chair (and Oregon Institute of Technology President) Martha Anne Dow. The final draft was approved by the Joint Boards Working Group on January 13, 1999. A copy of the report's Executive Summary was subsequently circulated to all members of the 70th Legislative Assembly. On January 27, 1999, the report was formally presented to the House Education Committee and on February 22, 1999, it was presented to the Senate Education Committee. Both committees were enthusiastic in their response and the responsibilities of the Joint Boards under this law were fully discharged.
Discussions of Student Services Action Team Recommendations
After the passage of HB 2387 in 1997, and the charge by the Joint Boards of Education to the JBAC to prepare the course and credit transfer plan (above), the JBAC appointed five intersector "action teams" to examine a variety of issues in the areas of transfer and articulation. The action teams' areas of concentration (as described in last year's annual report) were (1) student services, (2) credit for prior learning (see discussion in next section), (3) Joint Board's Articulation Agreement, (4) data tracking, and (5) professional-technical credit transfer.
Specifically, the Student Services Action Team was charged with identifying "student support service systems that enable students to navigate effortlessly between and among education sectors (primarily the community colleges and the public baccalaureate-granting institutions)." In response to the Action Team's final report and recommendations, the JBAC continued to hold discussions on the topics of (1) sharing student information, (2) a common academic calendar, (3) different residency requirements for each system, (4) the variety of definitions of "satisfactory student progress" and "good standing", and (5) standard tuition rates for common lower-division courses.
Progress was made on the issue of student information sharing. In cooperation with the Oregon State Scholarship Commission, an ad hoc group defined as the "Oregon Co-Enrollment Advisory Committee" (OCEAC) was established. The goal of OCEAC is establish a pilot program that will identify students enrolled at more than one Oregon institution of postsecondary education. A database of co-enrolled student information developed by OCEAC will be presented back to the participating schools in the form of a report for each institution. Major issues in the areas of technology and legal considerations continue to be discussed by the group, with monitoring by the JBAC.
Discussions were also held on the issue of the definition of "good standing" and how it applies to OUS admission of community college transfer students. Both the OUS Academic Council and the community college Council of Instructional Administrators were involved in the examination of these issues.
The complexity of the policy issues identified by the Student Services Action Team have been widely acknowledged and discussion of these topics by the JBAC will continue into the coming year.
Credit for Prior Learning Action Team Report and Recommendations
As indicated above, one of the "action teams" - formed during 1997-98, and the information-gathering phase for the preparation of the course and credit transfer plan - was on the topic of "credit for prior learning" (the practice of awarding course credit for proficiencies gained outside the classroom and documented through a formal assessment process). This group was specifically charged with "identifying what will be needed to make credit for prior learning transferable to all Oregon institutions." The group examined, for example, the proficiency-based learning options of
Individual private colleges and universities in Oregon, Oregon University System institutions, as well as community colleges in Oregon, currently offer and accept credit for prior learning. The situation of most interest to the Action Team was that some institutions refuse to accept credit for transfer when the credit has been awarded as a result of proficiency-based assessment through another institution. The practice at most institutions is to only grant credit for prior learning that has been validated by that institution.
The preliminary recommendations by the Credit for Prior Learning Action Team to the JBAC include that:
The final version of this Action Team's report is scheduled for completion during fall 1999. Discussions of these matters continue at the level of the JBAC, the OUS Academic Council, and the community college Council of Instructional Administrators.
Oregon Early Options Report and Recommendations
As part of the its charge to monitor and advise the Joint Boards on matters regarding curricular development and articulation, the JBAC considered issues rising from the Oregon Early Options Study (a report to the Joint Boards, presented on November 20, 1998). This study had its origins in SB 919 of the 1997 legislative session. A large part of the report is a survey of Oregon high school administrators and their views of options available to high school students who wish to pursue some postsecondary credits before they graduate. Additionally, the report outlined some of the activity in this area in other states.
Nationally, Oregon is one of the lowest-ranking states in terms of students taking Advanced Placement (AP) exams. There are many students enrolled in AP courses, but low numbers taking the tests. In this state, college high programs are important in terms of "early options." According to the survey results, demand is growing, on the part of students and parents, for more options. With proper incentives and good student advising, it may be possible for Oregon to increase the number of students participating in early options programs.
Among the recommendations presented in the report are (a) equity issues, and (b) the expansion of telecommunicated courses as factors to be considered in developing a statewide early options program. Other issues mentioned were the shift from using high school teachers to teach courses on the high school campus to students attending courses on the college campus; the need for more unified transcripting of courses; and data gaps (such as the inability to determine the numbers of high school students currently enrolled in college courses on college campuses).
The JBAC will continue to monitor and address issues arising from the information presented in this study.
JBAC Web Page and the Articulation Hotline List
One of the continuing goals of the JBAC is to improve communication between community college transfer advisors/counselors and OUS admissions staff. Hence, the JBAC continues to sponsor its own web page (http://www.ous.edu/aca/jbac.html) devoted to transfer students and their issues. Important features of the site include: (1) three main sections, depending on one's relationship to and interest in transfer issues (student; counselor or advisor; administrator or policymaker); (2) the most up-to-date version of the Articulation Hotline List (see below); (3) information for transfer students who are encountering problems (names of OUS and CCWD staff who may be contacted); (4) links to the OUS institutions' home page sections and their course equivalency tables; (5) links to all the Oregon community college home pages; (6) information about the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree; and (7) important JBAC documents such as the current version of the work-plan, membership list, and meeting minutes.
The "Articulation Hotline List" (http://www.ous.edu/aca/articdoc.html), an essential feature of the website , is refined and updated each fall. This document provides a list of names, addresses, and phone numbers of individuals at OUS institutions, community colleges, and independent institutions who have responsibility for handling both policy questions and day-to-day issues related to transfer and articulation.
Implementing Changes to the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) Degree
In November 1998, the JBAC recommended, and the Joint Boards approved, a revision to the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) Degree. This change allows community colleges to incorporate up to 12 credits of professional-technical coursework in the degree. Further, the JBAC itself undertook the initiative to clarify the role of WR 115 (a lower-division writing course) in the AA/OT degree. Taken together, these actions led to the following language being added to the general description of the degree (in the section referring to "electives"; see Appendix for full text of AA/OT requirements):
With respect to the inclusion of WR 115 as an approved elective, a process was developed, in concert with the Oregon Writing and English Advisory Committee (OWEAC), to distinguish between those WR 115 courses presently offered which are taught at the college level and those which are more remedial/developmental in nature. Only those courses assessed as "college-level" are eligible for inclusion in the AA/OT and for transfer to another institution. These courses were so identified and are on the "approved" list from the Department of Community Colleges and Workforce Development. Those not on the approved list, and assessed as remedial/developmental, are not allowed for inclusion in the AA/OT - and the JBAC requested that each campus submit a plan for (1) renumbering the course to a number below 100 (designating it as non-transfer in nature), or, alternatively, to (2) submit a plan that would revise the course sufficiently to make it college level.
All OUS institutions and community colleges undertook a review of their WR 115 offering and made the results known to the JBAC. Monitoring of the success of this effort continues through the OUS Office of Academic Affairs and the CCWD.
Work of the Student Transfer Committee (STC)
The Student Transfer Committee (STC) is an action-oriented standing committee of the JBAC, comprised of both JBAC members and other representatives from the community college, OUS, and independent college sectors. A JBAC member serves as STC chair.
Among the issues addressed by the STC during the past year were:
Development and Recommendation of Organic Chemistry Transfer Policy (and subsequent adoption by the Oregon University System)
A perennial problem area in the course and credit transfer has been (non-majors) organic chemistry. Oregon community colleges offer the course sequence at the lower-division level and OUS institutions offer it at the upper division. For some students who ultimately need their lower-division transfer credits to apply at the upper-division level at the receiving OUS institution, this disjunct has been a problem. And although the Common Course Numbering Agreement, developed by the community colleges and public baccalaureate-granting institutions in the early 1990s, purported to address this issue, problems have continued to persist for years. With the encouragement of the OUS Office of Academic Affairs, the JBAC assigned the STC to re-examine this area and to make a recommendation (if possible) for a transfer policy regarding organic chemistry courses. The STC, at its spring 1999 meeting, in examining data regarding organic chemistry course numbering and current transfer practices, subsequently developed suggested language for such a transfer policy - which was then reviewed with the JBAC, the Council of Instructional Administrators (CIA), and the OUS Academic Council. The Academic Council then adopted a slightly revised version of the policy statement stemming from the STC, JBAC and CIA discussions. This policy has been widely communicated among OUS and community college administrators (in the academic affairs and student affairs/services areas) and is publicized through the JBAC web site. This recently-adopted policy is available at http://www.ous.edu/aca/organic.htm http://www.ous.edu/aca/organic.htm.(see Appendix).
Associate of Science Transfer Degree
The proposal to develop an Associate of Science/Oregon Transfer (AS/OT) Degree surfaces during intersector conversations on a regular basis. Some believe that a natural extension of the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree would be the development of a parallel Associate of Science (AS) transfer degree. Factors in favor of establishing such a degree might include: (1) Students choice. There are a certain number of students, in science-related fields, who would prefer to have an associate's degree with "science" in the title of the degree; and (2) Student advising. There would be some value, from an advising standpoint, to get interested students on a "science track."
After considerable discussion of the matter, however, the STC recommended that the JBAC not continue to pursue an AS/OT degree at this time. Observations on this matter included:
The Student Transfer Committee concluded its work in this area by stating that any individual or group wishing to put forth a rationale, and specific outline, for an AS transfer degree may communicate directly with the Joint Boards Articulation Commission.
Convening Faculty Groups
As part of the JBAC workplan objective of fostering more effective intersector faculty collaboration, the suggestion emerged to promote meetings of various groups of OUS and community college faculty, in like disciplines, for the purpose of addressing issues related to course and program articulation. A discussion of proficiencies and proficiency systems is much needed, for example. Additionally, such gatherings could be tied into educating faculty further about the OUS Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS) and its implications. Discussions of common course outcomes, common sequence outcomes, and common general education outcomes would be natural topics as well. The STC uniformly supported this objective and agreed that a strong recommendation be made in favor of discipline-based faculty meetings to the JBAC, the Council of Instructional Administrators and the Academic Council.
JBAC Workplan for 1999-2000
The JBAC approaches its work by identifying issues arising from its charge and incorporating those issues into the workplan for the group. The workplan is a dynamic document with items continually being added and priorities assigned/reassigned. The JBAC workplan for the 1999-2000 academic year (see Appendix) is always available at: http://www.ous.edu/aca/99-00workplan.html
The range of issues within the charge of the JBAC remains large. In the past year, a plan for course and credit transfer has been produced for the Legislative Assembly; the student services action team and credit for prior learning action team recommendations have been studied; the early options report has been discussed; the JBAC website has been maintained as a valuable communication vehicle for transfer and articulation issues; the changes to the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree have been implemented; and a policy for transfer of organic chemistry credits has been developed and implemented. The agenda of the JBAC will developed for academic year 1999-2000 according to the workplan for the year.
1998-1999 Commission Members
Martha Anne Dow, Chair, Oregon Institute of Technology
Janine Allen, Portland State University
Roy Arnold, Oregon State University
Jim Buch, University of Oregon
Jon Carnahan, Linn-Benton Community College
Liz Goulard, Clackamas Community College
Pat Loughary, Blue Mountain Community College
Judy Patterson, Oregon Department of Education
Dave Phillips, Clatsop Community College
Mark Wahlers, Concordia College
Staff to the Commission
Jim Arnold, Oregon University System
Elaine Yandle-Roth, Community Colleges and Workforce Development
Revised: January 6, 2000