A Plan for Course and Credit Transfer
Between Oregon Community Colleges and Oregon
University System Institutions



Executive Summary

Introduction and Purpose

Definitions and Assumptions Utilized in the Development of this Plan

The Plan: Communication and Collaboration Among Oregon's Community Colleges and Public Universities Provides Effective Course and Credit Transfer

How University System/Community College (Intersector) Communication Enhances Course and Credit Transfer
How University System/Community College (Intersector) Collaboration Enhances Course and Credit Transfer

State Board of Higher Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

State Board of Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

Directions & Future Plans

Appendix

A Brief History of Course and Credit Transfer Accomplishments
Transfer Student Data

Attachments

HB 2387 (1997)
Joint Boards Articulation Agreement (1998)
Articulation Hotline List
OUS Solution Team Report (October 1997)
OUS Transfer and Articulation: A Status Report with Recommendations for Board Policy and Strategic Action February 1998)
OUS Internal Management Directives (October 1998)


Executive Summary

Presentation of a "plan for course and credit transfer" was called for in the 1997 Legislative Assembly's HB 2387 (ORS 341.425). This plan was prepared by staff of the Oregon University System Chancellor's Office and the Office of Community College Services, under the auspices of the Joint Boards Articulation Commission, and approved by the Joint Boards of Education.

The underlying principles used in the preparation of this plan were:

The full plan for course and credit transfer outlines the current and proposed policies, practices and procedures for providing effective course and credit transfer in the State of Oregon. A summary of intersector communication and collaboration activities is provided, followed by a synopsis of the Board of Higher Education and the Board of Education efforts to advance this plan. Finally, directions and future plans are discussed.

University System/Community College (Intersector) Communication

Examples of intersector communication now in place to support transfer of courses between community colleges and OUS institutions include the following:

University System/Community College (Intersector) Collaboration

Examples of intersector collaboration now in place to support transfer of courses between community colleges and OUS institutions include the following:

State Board of Higher Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

Examples of Oregon University System/State Board of Higher Education efforts now in place to support transfer of courses between community colleges and OUS institutions include the following:

State Board of Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

Examples of Office of Community College Services/Board of Education efforts now in place to support transfer of courses between community colleges and OUS institutions include the following:

Directions and Future Plans

Areas of intersector activity to be continued and/or developed to support transfer of courses between community colleges and OUS institutions include the following:

Introduction and Purpose

ORS 341.425 was amended in 1997, in part, to read:

The State Board of Education and the State Board of Higher Education shall jointly submit a plan for the transfer of credits between community colleges and state institutions of higher education to the Legislative Assembly for approval prior to February 1, 1999.*

*Note that this statute calls for approval of this plan by the Legislative Assembly - or an alternative course of action is specified (indicating that the board of a community college district shall submit courses for transfer approval to the Board of Higher Education). A copy of the bill (HB 2387) is included in the Attachments section.

The purpose of this document is to present the plan for course and credit transfer for approval by the 1999 Oregon Legislative Assembly. This plan was prepared by staff of the Oregon University System Chancellor's Office and the Office of Community College Services, under the auspices of the Joint Boards Articulation Commission - a body created by the Joint Boards of Education to address intersector transfer and articulation issues (a full description of this group appears later in this report). The Joint Boards of Education (the combined membership of the Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education) accepted a preliminary version of this plan for submission to the Legislative Assembly at its November 20, 1998, meeting. This final draft was approved by the Joint Board Working Group, acting for the Joint Boards, at its January 13, 1999 meeting. This plan was developed by widely consulting representatives of the community college and university system sectors and has received widespread support.

Definitions and Assumptions Utilized in the Development of This Plan

The term "transfer" (as in "transfer student") is defined as the process which includes the evaluation and acceptance of credits by, as well as the admission of students to, a receiving campus.*   In this process, courses (and the credit previously received for those courses) are examined and accepted (or not accepted) for credit at the receiving institution. "Articulation" is the process whereby two or more institutions align courses and programs to ensure the smooth flow of students between campuses.

*Oregon University System (OUS) "transfer students" must have completed a minimum of 24-36 credits of acceptable college-level work. The hours required vary among the OUS campuses. Students with fewer hours of college credit are admitted as "first-time freshmen" and their admission is on the basis of their high school-level academic performance (though their college credits earned are eligible to transfer).

Although significant transfer activity takes place between community colleges, the public four-year institutions, and the public and private sectors, in this document the focus will be on transfer activity between the community colleges in the State of Oregon and the baccalaureate-granting, four-year public (Oregon University System) institutions.

Given the variety and number of postsecondary institutions, and of courses offered at those institutions, determining the acceptability of courses and credit earned at another institution can be a daunting task. The complexity of the process is made more manageable, however, when the level of communication between institutions is enhanced. An underlying assumption of this plan for course and credit transfer is that the more effective the communication mechanisms between the Oregon community college and university sectors, and between the institutional representatives and students, the more "student-centered," user-friendly, and predictable the transfer process will be.

In Oregon, communication mechanisms between the state's 17 community colleges and the 7 public baccalaureate-granting institutions work well and this condition is documented in this plan. Hence, another underlying assumption of this plan is that course and credit transfer among the public institutions in the state of Oregon is a successfully-completed process in the overwhelming majority of cases.* All the available data suggest that this is the case, as well as the very small number of complaints to campus administrative offices about such matters. Additionally, as this report will show, an effective infrastructure is currently in place in the State of Oregon to monitor as well as address course and credit issues when they arise. The Board of Higher Education and the Board of Education are committed to making continuing improvements in the course and credit transfer process.

*The ease with which course and credit transfer takes place is commonly misunderstood. For example, English and writing courses in the lower-division undergraduate curriculum are highly standardized-and widely recognized as such. A vast array of such courses transfer without question between the community colleges and the baccalaureate-granting institutions. Data regarding "transfer efficiency" are limited, though two available studies (one in the Portland metro area, and one from the University of Oregon), suggest that somewhere in the range of 75 to 91 percent of all credits submitted for transfer are accepted by receiving institutions. See p. 3 for a list of categories into which non-accepted credits typically fall.

Times have changed with respect to how many colleges students pursue their postsecondary education in the 1990s. The "traditional model" of college attendance is outmoded. No longer do recent high school graduates attending a four-year residential college or university represent the typical student. Nor does a "linear model" of the transfer student fit: two years of attendance at one community college followed by two years at a four-year institution is not the norm.* While it is true that many Oregon high school students pursue a postsecondary experience directly out of high school, they are joined by many other individuals (often termed "non-traditional" students because of their age and life situation) interested in a variety of personal-development and career-enhancement experiences. And many students, both traditional and non-traditional, choose to construct courses of study by picking and choosing among the academic offerings of several postsecondary providers, according to a variety of factors which meet personal needs (time, location, availability, instructor, cost, etc.). The advent and ease of distance education offerings, of course, make this scenario all the more likely for the future.

*Indeed, a recent study (transcript analysis) of transfer student patterns and outcomes in the Portland metropolitan area demonstrated that "students moved among the community colleges and the university [Portland State] as if they were part of a single complex educational system" (Kinnick, 1997, p. 8). The (504) students in the sample exhibited 74 different patterns of movement among the metro area community colleges and the university!

Therefore, for today's students ultimately interested in earning a baccalaureate degree, the transfer of credits from one institution to another is a necessity - a situation which creates challenges for institutions. As this plan will demonstrate, postsecondary education providers in Oregon are meeting this challenge.

And, it must be recognized that course and credit transfer can be a challenge - in some instances. Students as well as institutions bear responsibility for making the course and credit transfer process work. That means all parties must pay close attention to the conditions facilitative of that process. Students need to be aware, for example, that:

Students who are most successful in the course and credit transfer process are typically those who are the most well informed and advised about their postsecondary options. Oregon University System institutions and the Oregon community colleges are committed to making the information available to students to assist them in making the best possible decisions.

The Plan: Communication and Collaboration Among Oregon's
Community Colleges and Public Universities
Provides Effective Course and Credit Transfer

The plan for course and credit transfer, called for in ORS 341.425 and described in this section, is based on high levels of intersector communication and collaboration, and builds on the "Joint Vision" expressed by the Joint Boards of Education in developing plans for expanded access to postsecondary education through increased use of technology and regional partnerships. The "vision," developed by the Joint Boards Working Group and subsequently endorsed by the Joint Boards is:

The 21st Century will be a rapidly changing social, economic, and global information-based competitive environment. For the State of Oregon and its citizens to thrive in this environment, we need an education system that is not a collection of separate parts, but a continuum of opportunities stretching from early childhood through postsecondary training and lifelong learning. Community colleges and universities, vital in an information-based environment, will increasingly work together to expedite access to postsecondary education, through joint planning and collaborative programming. Two significant realities impact this vision: 1) postsecondary education is difficult for many Oregonians to access, both financially and geographically; 2) rapid applications of emerging technologies, especially telecommunications, are changing the education marketplace (the way campuses provide access, enrich programs on and off campus, and participate in partnerships). The Joint Boards of Education plan action to expand access to postsecondary education through increased use of technology and regional partnerships...

The public two-year and four-year postsecondary institutions in Oregon are committed to effective course and credit transfer between and among their campuses. Academic and student services administrators of both sectors work together with the interests of students as their primary concern. Effective course and credit transfer is based on high levels of trust and communication, and a collaborative, student-centered approach toward postsecondary education. Examples of intersector communication and collaboration efforts are bountiful and create an environment for effective course and credit transfer. The mechanisms in place which benefit students, faculty, advisors, counselors, and administrators in the transfer process are described in the next sections of this plan.

How University System/Community College (Intersector) Communication Enhances Course and Credit Transfer

Course-equivalency tables on web. "Equivalency" of college and university courses is the primary basis for course and credit transfer decisions. When students, faculty, advisors, and counselors know what courses transfer and how they transfer, the process for transfer of credits goes smoothly. Although a variety of campus-to-campus articulation agreements address specifics of how credit transfer proceeds for students enrolled in particular programs (e.g., engineering, nursing, etc.), most of the course and credit transfer activity between institutions is not handled in that manner, but rather through a course-by-course equivalency determination.

Some of the Oregon University System campuses have constructed extensive searchable databases that enable anyone with Internet access to determine the relationship between courses offered by the other postsecondary institutions (including the Oregon community colleges) and their university. The three large OUS universities [Oregon State University (OSU), Portland State University (PSU), and University of Oregon (UO)] have well-developed course-equivalency databases available on the World Wide Web,* and the Oregon Institute of Technology (OIT) has its articulation agreements with other campuses on the Web** making it possible to determine how courses in a range of degree programs align. The three regional universities [Eastern Oregon University (EOU), Southern Oregon University (SOU) and Western Oregon University (WOU)] do not presently possess the resource capability to implement a web-based course-equivalency system on their campuses, although the transfer and articulation policy adopted by the Board of Higher Education in February, 1998, encourages them to work along those lines.

* OSU: http://osu.orst.edu/admissions/; PSU: http://www.ess.pdx.edu/adm/; UO: http://darkwing.uoregon.edu/~admit/index.htm
** http://www.oit.edu/admiss/

The OUS 1999-2001 Biennial Budget Request, in the "Legislative Program Policy Options" section, included funds proposed for developing a systemwide course-equivalency system - to include lower-division courses and selected upper-division courses from all OUS institutions and Oregon community colleges and to be generally available on the Web. Such a system is envisioned to enable anyone to determine the relationship of any lower-division undergraduate course at any Oregon postsecondary institution to its counterpart on another campus (though the focus, in the first stages of development, will be on Oregon community college to OUS institution transfer activity). While the development and maintenance of a centralized course-equivalency information system depends on securing additional resources to do so, the Oregon University System is determined to work toward the development of this type of system to aid students (and campus staff who work with them) engaged in the transfer process.

Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC) home page. The Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC) is an intersector group charged by the Joint Boards of Education to: (1) advise the Joint Boards on major intersector policy issues regarding improvement of student access and transfer, curricular development and articulation, outcomes assessment, and student data integration; (2) monitor the implementation and revision of the Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree policy and common course numbering for lower division courses, and (3) serve as a forum for problem solving and referral. The JBAC has interpreted its charge to include facilitating communication between the educational sectors regarding any issue pertaining to articulation and transfer. Hence, in the spring of 1997, the JBAC established its own presence on the World Wide Web* , designated as "The Articulation and Transfer Home Page for Transfer Students and Transfer-Student Issues." The site is described as "specifically for transfer students and prospective transfer students - as well as advisors, counselors, faculty members, administrators, and policymakers interested in transfer students and their issues." Included at this site are separate sections for: (1) Transfer Students and Prospective Transfer Students; (2) Advisors, Counselors, and Faculty Members; and (3) JBAC Members, Policymakers, and Administrators. For students, links are included to all OUS institutions and Oregon community colleges, information about the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer degree, who to contact about transfer problems, and a comprehensive list of campus resource individuals (see below). Other important resources are provided for faculty, advisors, and administrators who work with transfer students and the issues that arise during the transfer process.

* http://www.ous.edu/aca/jbac.html

Articulation Hotline. One of the most valuable sections of the JBAC web site (above) is the "articulation hotline" section*...which provides name and phone number information for campus-level individuals who can answer questions about articulation and transfer. There are two areas to the hotline list, one for the Public and Private Colleges and Universities (the "four-year schools") and another section for the Community Colleges (the "two-year schools"). (This list had been distributed as hard copy during the last few years - and has been available electronically on the web since the spring of 1997.)

* http:/www.ous.edu/aca/articdoc.html (see Attachments section)

Intersector web page ("ONE") and progress toward an Oregon "virtual university." The "Oregon Network for Education" effort, initiated in 1995-96, and endorsed and directed by the Joint Boards of Education, led to an intersector presence on the World Wide Web*. In effect, ONE is a one-stop educational "mall", designed to inform students, prospective students, parents, school counselors, employers, and others about educational programs and services available in the state. The project is a collaboration of 42 postsecondary institutions, plus K-12 partners, that provides information about postsecondary courses/services in distance education and is a resource for cooperative planning and policy development. The seven "doors" to this educational "mall" lead to: (1) Public & Private 4-year Colleges/Universities. (2) Public & Private 2-year Colleges, (3) Public & Private K-12 Schools, (4) Learning Supports, (5) Online Libraries, (6) Employee Development Opportunities, (7) General Oregon Information.

* http:/www.ous.edu/one/

From the outset, ONE has been envisioned to ultimately include an 8th "door" to an Oregon "Virtual University," enabling time- and place-bound students in Oregon to electronically access courses and degree programs available from the range of our postsecondary education providers. A recent (September, 1998) multi-year federal grant from the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) has given planners the resources to work on realizing this vision. This grant will enable ONE to develop:

a Web-searchable "common college catalog" of distance education courses, degree programs, and services available from Oregon's postsecondary providers;

a "common course marketplace" to enable campuses to share some courses for residency credit;

a financial formula for assigning costs and revenue among campuses; and

a designation of "host" institutions to serve students seeking college degrees via distance education.

The presence of this new "virtual university" on the Web should allow even more flexibility and ease of movement for students seeking to construct degree programs from a variety of Oregon's postsecondary education institutions. With postsecondary providers working together in a shared environment, ease of course and credit transfer will be enhanced.

Counselor/advisor conference. A recently added feature to intersector communication (since 1996) is the annual Oregon University System-sponsored statewide conference for community college counselors and advisors (as well as others on the two-year campuses with responsibilities in the transfer and articulation areas).* Also participating in the conference are numerous representatives of OUS admissions offices as well as academic and student affairs administrators from both the two-year and four-year sectors. This regularly scheduled fall event (November in 1997 and 1998), brings together representatives from both sectors and provides them a forum for formal information sharing sessions as well as informal networking opportunities. The focus of the event is transfer students and resolving the issues arising from the transfer process.

* Although the theme varies from year to year, the event is billed annually as the "Educating Oregon Together" conference.

Joint meetings of the senior academic officers of the community colleges and OUS institutions. The "Academic Council" (AC) is the group of senior academic administrators from the Oregon University System and the "Chief Academic Officers" (CAO) is the corresponding group from the community colleges. Once or twice a year (usually spring and fall), these groups engage in a joint meeting to identify, discuss, and take actions regarding policy and program issues that arise between and among sectors.

How University System/Community College (Intersector) Collaboration Enhances Course and Credit Transfer

The Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree (AA/OT). In 1987, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed HB 2913 which called for the Department of Higher Education (through the Chancellor's Office) and the Department of Education (through the Commissioner, Office of Community College Services) to "develop a set of general requirements for transfer students seeking admission to the State System of Higher Education (now called the Oregon University System) institutions that can provide a high quality curriculum." An intersector working committee subsequently developed the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer degree. Each of the Oregon community colleges now offers a version of this degree, designed specifically for students who intend to transfer to an OUS institution. The degree structure calls for a minimum of 90 quarter hours to be earned, at least 58 of which meet broad general education and distribution requirements agreed upon by the working group. The remaining 32 credits are electives or courses in a student's major. General education requirements of the degree specify credits and courses in writing, mathematics and oral communication/rhetoric. The distribution requirements specify credits to be earned in Arts and Letters, Social Sciences, and Science/Math/Computer Science.

Students transferring to an OUS institution with the AA/OT degree have satisfied that institution's undergraduate general education requirements and have junior standing for registration purposes. In 1996-97, Oregon community colleges awarded 2,031 AA/OT degrees, up from the previous two years (1,867 in 1994-95; 1,781 in 1995-96). Annually, about 3,000 newly admitted undergraduate students transfer to an OUS institution from Oregon community colleges. Of that number, about 500 have earned the AA/OT degree. Oversight of the transfer degree implementation is provided by the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (see below).

The structure of the AA/OT underwent a minor revision in 1994, as the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC, see below) monitored the degree's initial implementation. Then, in 1998, another modification was made to the degree: after extensive review of the community colleges' structure of the degree, and in order to align with OUS institutions' practices with respect to acceptance of professional-technical credits, the JBAC recommended, and the Joint Boards approved, that the AA/OT accommodate up to 12 professional-technical credits (as identified as appropriate for transfer, from its own offerings, by the community college conferring the degree).

Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC). As described above, the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC, started in 1992 as a successor to the "HB 2913 Committee" and the "State System/Community College Coordinating Committee" - earlier efforts at intersector collaboration) is an intersector group (with representatives from the Oregon community colleges, Oregon University System, independent colleges, Oregon Department of Education, and K-12), charged with advising the Joint Boards of Education on major intersector policy issues with respect to transfer and articulation. Regular meetings of this group are scheduled every month during the academic year. The Commission includes a community college president and OUS institution president, with the JBAC chair rotating between these two campus chief executives. Staff support for the group is supplied by the OUS Chancellor's Office and the Office of Community College Services.

One of the major charges of the JBAC is to monitor the implementation of the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree (described above). This degree is offered by the 17 community colleges and accepted by the 7 OUS institutions. One revision to the degree structure was made in 1994. And during the 1997-98 academic year, another re-examination of the degree was undertaken. During the most recent process, the JBAC recommended to the Joint Boards that minor clarifications be made to the degree with respect to the inclusion of professional-technical courses and credits as well as the role of WR 115 (a writing course) in the curriculum.

Joint Boards Articulation Agreement. A long-standing symbol of intersector collaboration is the articulation agreement originally entered into by the Board of Education and Board of Higher Education in 1978. This agreement spells out specific assumptions, principles and responsibilities to guide the schools, colleges, and universities in their efforts to serve transferring students and coordinate off-campus and distance education in Oregon. This agreement has undergone two revisions, one in 1993 and the most recent in 1998. A copy of the latest version of the Joint Boards Articulation Agreement is included in the Attachments section.

Regional partnerships and activities. New regional partnerships between the community colleges and OUS institutions work toward the best interests of students engaged in postsecondary pursuits. In this section, some of the alliances forged in the Portland metropolitan area, in Eastern Oregon, Southern and Southwestern Oregon, and in Central Oregon, are described.

Dual-enrollment and Co-admissions agreements. Implemented during the 1997-98 academic year, two examples of dual-enrollment/co-admission arrangements are: (1) the PSU/Clackamas Community College partnership described in the previous section, and (2) the Oregon State University/Linn-Benton Community College "Dual Admission/Enrollment Program." In both of these programs, the OUS institution and the nearby community college work closely together to provide an integrated, seamless, student-centered approach to postsecondary education. For example, features of the OSU/LBCC program include: (1) one application process for both institutions, (2) advising available at either campus, (3) increased flexibility in scheduling with access to more classes, (4) opportunity to access services and participate in college life on both campuses, (5) an integrated system of financial aid administration for eligible students, (6) access to library and computer resources on both campuses, (7) skill-building through preparatory courses at LBCC and lower division courses at either LBCC or OSU, and (8) easier transition from community college to university by virtue of program participation.

Degree-acceleration programs; early options for high school students. Oregon University System institutions and community colleges work closely with secondary schools to provide opportunities for students desirous of getting a head start on their college work. High school students are able to participate in courses and programs on both high school and college campuses to concurrently earn high school and college credit. The college credit thus earned may be transferred and applied to degree programs at the college of their choice. Among the early options available are:

Other articulation agreements. OUS institutions and Oregon community colleges have established a wide range of written agreements (primarily college-to-college) covering the transfer of courses from two-year to four-year programs. Agreements of this type explain the relationship of the community college courses to those on the OUS campus (what the student is given credit for on the four-year campus, as in the course-equivalency information discussed earlier), the number and type of upper-division credits still needing to be completed for a baccalaureate degree by the transfer student, limits to program enrollment, and information about which version of the college catalog is to be followed to complete the degree program. In all cases, the purpose of the agreement is to facilitate ease of transfer from one campus to another.

Advising & registration procedures. Joint intersector cooperation with respect to advising and registration practices have been addressed in sections above. The efforts of Southern Oregon University with Rogue Community College; Portland State University with Clackamas Community College; Eastern Oregon University with Treasure Valley Community College and Blue Mountain Community College; and Oregon State University with Linn-Benton Community College are particularly innovative in this area. These campuses have paid close attention to the needs of students as they traverse the postsecondary education sectors and set up processes that allow students to more readily experience the transition as "seamlessly" as possible. Advisors of both the two-year and four-year campuses are knowledgeable about each other's programs in order to more effectively inform students of their options. Further, registration procedures have been put into place for students co-enrolled that eliminate or minimize the number of stops, and the time involved, in completing the registration process.

Financial aid consortial arrangements. Consortial agreements (commonly part of the regional partnerships/activities described above) have been developed between OUS and community college campuses to allow co-enrolled students to use credits at more than one institution to determine financial-aid eligibility. Such arrangements are necessary because the "home" institution is responsible for determining the courses taken at the "host" institution which count toward degree requirements. And the costs at the "host" institution must be accounted for in the student's budget. It is important for the two institutions to share student grade and registration information with one another. Many of the most problematic areas in the development of partnership agreements and providing seamless services to students arise in the area of financial aid delivery. The institutions of both postsecondary sectors continue to work diligently to find ways within the federal regulations to most effectively address issues of course and credit transfer.

Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer Degree Available Through Distance Education Technologies. Three Oregon community colleges have all courses for the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer degree available through distance technologies and many others, although short of a full degree, have a significant number of courses available through some type of distance technology. With the addition of on-line courses the degree is now available anywhere in the state. All courses taken for this degree will transfer between Oregon public postsecondary institutions.

Alignment of CIM/CAM/PASS/PREP. Alignment of standards has been a key design criteria for the Certificate of Initial Mastery (CIM) and Certificate of Advanced Mastery (CAM). The OUS Proficiency-based Admission Standards System (PASS), and the community college PRoficiencies for Entry into Programs (PREP) standards are under final development.

State Board of Higher Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

The community colleges and the University System have both contributed to enhancing relationships, communication, policy initiatives, and ease of course and credit transfer for students. Among the specific efforts of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education are the following:

OUS strategic planning initiative and the Solution Team on Access, Transfer, and Community Colleges. The Oregon University System initiated, in 1995, a major strategic-planning process - an initiative that culminated in its third, and final, phase with the establishment of 17 "solution teams." One of these groups was dedicated to "access, transfer, and community colleges," with its charge to "develop a barrier-free admission and transfer process to enable students to achieve their academic goals [and to] partner with the community colleges to provide baccalaureate capacity and access."

The Solution Team was comprised of OUS, community college, independent college, and private sector representatives (having overlapping membership with the Joint Boards Articulation Commission) and utilized an iterative process to identify problematic areas, prioritize the issues and develop thematic areas for policy recommendations. The final report of the Solution Team was presented to the Board of Higher Education in October, 1997, and offered recommendations in five major categories:

The work of this group fed directly into the work plan of the Joint Boards Articulation Commission for 1997-98 and provided the foundation for the topics considered by the Action Teams the JBAC subsequently established. The Solution Team recommendations also led to the Board policy on transfer and articulation adopted in February, 1998 (see below).

Many of these recommendations have moved into the implementation phase since the work of the Solution Team. For example:

A copy of the full report of the OUS Solution Team on Access, Transfer, and Community Colleges is included in the Attachments section.

OUS policy on transfer and articulation. Following the Board of Higher Education's strategic planning process and the report of the Solution Team on Access, Transfer and Community Colleges issued in October, 1997, the Chancellor's Office/Office of Academic Affairs developed a policy proposal: "Transfer and Articulation: A Status Report with Recommendations for Board Policy and Strategic Action" (February, 1998; copy included in the Attachments section).This report detailed progress in the area of transfer and articulation and identified thirteen specific strategic actions to address course and credit transfer concerns. (The Board has subsequently incorporated some of these strategic actions into the revised Internal Management Directives, see below.) Specifically, the actions specified by the February, 1998 Board policy included:

The elements of this policy document speak to many long range objectives of easing some concerns in the area of course and credit transfer - and have provided the basis for dialog between the senior academic and student affairs administrators of the University System campuses and the community colleges. This policy also led directly to the establishment of the new internal management directives adopted by the Board of Higher Education (see below) as well as seeking funds for the development of a statewide course-equivalency information system.

New Internal Management Directives (IMDs). At the July 1998 meeting of the Board of Higher Education, a recommendation from the Governance and Structure Committee was approved that led to amendments of the University System's Internal Management Directives (IMDs). At their October 1998 meeting, the Board approved new IMDs, one section (2.035) of which addressed "Undergraduate Transfer and Articulation". These IMDs built on the work of the Solution Team on Access, Transfer, and Community Colleges (October 1997) as well as the Board policy on transfer and articulation (February 1998). The new IMDs are included in the Attachments section.

Appointment of Director of Community College Articulation. In January of 1997, the Chancellor's Office, recognizing the importance of improving and maintaining enhanced relationships with Oregon's community colleges, established the position of Director of Community College Articulation. The goal of this position has been to develop and implement strategies for improved articulation between the University System and the community colleges. The duties of the Director include the establishment an outreach program for the Office of Academic Affairs that engages University System staff with persons/programs/problems in community colleges related to improved student transfer.

State Board of Education Efforts to Advance This Plan

Articulation Information Included As a Required Element in Program Approval. The State Board of Education has required information about articulation of courses as part to their approval of new programs for several years.

Staff Assigned to Manage Articulation. The Instructional Unit Team Leader/Instruction Specialist for the Office of Community College Services has been charged with course approval, support to the Joint Boards Articulation Commission and its predecessor groups for at least two decades. Office of Professional Technical Education staff help to promote the articulation of approved programs between community colleges and other postsecondary institutions as well as with K-12.

The Oregon Community College Uniform Reporting System (OCCURS). Management information systems such as OCCURS have been greatly enhanced through the collaboration of the OCCS and OUS staff. This project has assisted the colleges in determining transfer patterns and tracking student success.

Directions & Future Plans

The Oregon University System institutions and the network of community colleges in the State continually work together to make improvements in the process for course and credit transfer. Additionally, campuses of both public sectors communicate with member institutions of the Oregon Independent Colleges Association to facilitate course and credit transfer between public and private institutions in the State. Efforts are currently underway to broaden the discussion between the public and private postsecondary sectors to more effectively serve transfer students.

The mechanisms put into place to facilitate the transfer process for students are considerable, as have been discussed above. To summarize, the communication and collaboration efforts now in existence are:

This list illustrates that an effective, responsive system is in place to handle course and credit transfer. No system is perfect, however, and the problems faced by transfer students today are not necessarily the ones to be faced by tomorrow's students. A look toward the future provides for optimism, though, since the infrastructure in existence in Oregon to solve issues related to articulation and transfer is strong. The processes in place, and the offices charged with addressing such issues, continue to deal with the evolutionary changes that occur. Some of the directions that are anticipated, and plans that the Board of Education and the Board of Higher Education suggest, are explained in this section.

Implications of a Proficiency-based K-16 Educational System. The future of higher education in Oregon (following the lead of K-12 school transformation efforts and the evolution of proficiency-based systems) is heading toward a more universal "proficiency model" for all the educational sectors. The Proficiency-based Admissions Standard System (PASS) being implemented by the Oregon University System ties directly to the K-12 school transformation movement, and, over the next several years, will lead to admission requirements for the public baccalaureate-granting institutions that are based on demonstrated proficiencies rather than "seat time" or "Carnegie Units." That is, as Oregon high school students will soon be demonstrating their proficiency in subject matter areas to earn the Certificate of Initial Master (CIM) and the Certificate of Advanced Mastery (CAM), so too will they demonstrate similar proficiencies for entry to college. Many changes are in store for students in all the sectors as these proficiencies become a required part the educational landscape. Three areas requiring attention in order to facilitate this large-scale shift are

Communications and Access to Student Information. Ready access to information about individual students is fundamental for efficient and effective course and credit transfer. There are two basic forms of student information: directory information and educational records. Within federal and state mandated parameters, institutions may permit access to directory information (student name, address, telephone numbers, date and place of birth, major field of study, participation in recognized activities, dates of attendance, degrees and awards received, and the most recent previous educational institution attended) subject to specific student requests for suppression of access and restrictions set by institutional policy. Access to educational records (grades, test scores, etc.) by persons or agencies external to an institution is restricted by Federal and State law. Requests for educational records are subject to release by the individual student for specific instances.

The Oregon University System and Oregon Community Colleges will need to work to establish common guidelines for the definition and release of student directory information to accommodate ready access to other educational institutions which have on-going legitimate needs for such information. An example of the appropriate use of directory information would be the identification of community college students in academic programs for universities to contact about transfer opportunities.

In addition, the Oregon Community Colleges and the Oregon University System should seek means permitting institution-to-institution exchange of students' educational records. Such exchanges of student educational records will better enable Oregon community colleges and universities to track transfer students' progress.

Automated course-equivalency and electronic degree-audit system. The proposal to develop a systemwide course-equivalency information system was described earlier in this document (see p. 4). A natural extension to that course-equivalency project would be the eventual development of an automated electronic degree audit system. Such a system would enable transfer students to determine (with much greater precision than is available now) the courses (or competencies) they would still need to complete for a baccalaureate degree. An degree audit system [such as Miami University's Degree Audit Reporting System (DARS)] compares a student's academic work - at any point in the student's career - with the requirements of an institution's academic program or programs, and prepares a comprehensive report detailing the student's progress toward meeting those requirements. Questions that students would be able to answer through using such a system include: What (courses) do I have to take to graduate?" and its corollaries, "Have I met my graduation requirements?" and "What would I still have to take if I switched my major?" The development of such a system would have obvious benefits for all students, including those with transfer plans.

Ongoing Data-Collection and Research Efforts. Pervasive themes throughout this report have been "communication" and "information flow." The more information available to students, advisors, counselors, faculty and administrators with respect to the course and credit transfer process, the better the student experience will be. Additionally, the more information that institutions have about student movement, flow, course-taking patterns, and degree-program preferences, the better informed their response can be to students who are seeking their educational goals. Intersector (Oregon University System and Office of Community College Services), collaborative research efforts have been enhanced in the past few years and such activities should be continued and expanded.

Commitment to Regional Partnerships, Co-enrollment/Dual-admission Programs, and other Collaborative Efforts. Oregon's community colleges and university system institutions have made great progress in recent years in working together collaboratively especially in terms of bilateral and trilateral agreements; examples have been documented in this report. The collaborative efforts of the campuses in the postsecondary sectors have made course and credit transfer much easier and a more straightforward, predictable process for students. The campuses of the Oregon University System and the community college system continue to be committed to working together in these ways. One possible avenue that may be available for further exploration is the development of an understanding between the University System and the community colleges that would accommodate a more universal approach to dual admissions and co-enrollment practices.


Appendix

A Brief History of Course and Credit Transfer Accomplishments

This report has documented activity by Oregon University System (OUS) institutions and community college campuses and illustrates a long history of postsecondary-sector collaboration. It has been an operating premise of this report that such activity benefits students by easing their course and credit transfer concerns. Progress on these issues have been particularly significant since 1987, when, using HB 2913 as the impetus, a state-wide Associate of Arts degree was agreed upon by the university and community college campuses (see discussion on page 7). Every community college in the State now offers this Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree which, upon transfer to an OUS, guarantees students with this degree that they have completed the receiving campus' lower-division general education requirements and that they have junior status for registration purposes. The body that monitors the implementation of the transfer degree and other issues related to course and credit transfer and program articulation, is the Joint Boards Articulation Commission (JBAC, see discussion on page 8). Since 1987, the JBAC (and/or its predecessor groups) has noted a list of accomplishments benefitting transfer students in the state of Oregon. This list includes:

Transfer Student Data

This section briefly summarizes some information available about the scope and nature of student movement, enrollment, and transfer activity in the State of Oregon - and is provided in this Appendix section to illuminate the context in which this plan for course and credit transfer has been developed. These data have been compiled through the Oregon University System (OUS) Institutional Research Services office and the intersector data exchange program of OUS and the Office of Community College Services.

For the class of 1997, of every 100 high school students graduating in the State of Oregon, 67 were enrolled in some form of postsecondary education by winter term of the following year. Of these 67, 25 were at an Oregon 4-year college and 28 were at an Oregon community college. 18 of the 28 enrolled at a community college had plans to transfer to an OUS institution at a later time.

In 1996-97 (the most-recent year for which data have been compiled), 42 percent of all new college transfer students came from Oregon community colleges and 31 percent came from out-of-state colleges (see Table 1).

Table 1
New Admitted OUS Undergraduate Transfers
by Educational Source: 1996-97

Other OUS Institutions    787    11%
Oregon Community Colleges 3,049    42%
Other Oregon Colleges    247      3%
Out-of-State Colleges 2,258    31%
Unknown    935    13%
     Total 7,276  100%
Source: OUS Institutional Research Services

In 1996-97, of the 2,258 students transferring into OUS institutions from out of state, 1,086 (48 percent) were admitted as residents. All together, these out-of-state students represented 742 different institutions.

Annually, about 3,000 newly admitted undergraduate students transfer to an OUS institution from Oregon community colleges. Of that number, about 500 (17 percent) have earned the Associate of Arts/Oregon Transfer (AA/OT) degree.

Portland Community College, Lane Community College, Mt. Hood Community College, and Chemeketa Community College account for two-thirds (67 percent) of the community college transfer students to OUS institutions (see Table 2).

Oregon State University, Portland State University, and the University of Oregon receive 83 percent of the community college transfer students each year (see Table 2).

Of the total OUS undergraduate enrollment in 1996, about 17 percent (7,800 students) were Oregon community college transfers. At the time of their admission, about one-fourth had earned an AA/OT degree.

In 1996-97, Oregon community colleges awarded 2,031 AA/OT degrees, continuing a modest upward trend (1,867 in 1994-95; 1,997 in 1995-96). (See Table 3.)

Table 2
New Admitted Undergraduate Transfers from Oregon Community Colleges
by Oregon Community College, to OUS Institution
Base and Extended Enrollment,* Academic Year 1996-97

Community College



EOU

OIT

OSU

PSU



SOU

UO

WOU

Total

Blue Mountain    23       1     20      13       3       3     12      75
Central Oregon      5       4     65      18     20     24       7    143
Chemeketa      1       9   133      59     16     41     63    322
Clackamas      0       8     58    113     14     35     13    241
Clatsop      0       2       7        4       2       6       2      23
Lane      0       7   103      32     18   377       5    542
Linn-Benton      0       8   175      23       8     17     14    245
Mount Hood      2       8     56    184     10     40     18    318
Portland      0     37   101    634     23     73     26    894
Rogue      0     13     12        1     68       7       3    104
Southwestern Oregon      0       3     26        3     13     18       2      65
Treasure Valley    10       0       8        1       3       2       5      29
Umpqua      0     11     34      10     11     20       9      95
   Total    41   111   798 1,095   209   663   179 3,096
*Excludes non-admitted students and postbaccalaureate non-grads
Source: OUS Institutional Research Services, 1996-97 ERAN-05 report

Table 3
AA/OT Degrees Awarded by Oregon Community Colleges

Community College

1994-95

1995-96

1996-97

Blue Mountain        95      100        69
Central Oregon      151      119      122
Columbia Gorge        15        14        23
Chemeketa      296      277      304
Clackamas      139      197      181
Clatsop        31        26        19
Lane      201      225      218
Linn-Benton      103        92      117
Mt. Hood      232      163      218
Oregon Coast          9          5        28
Portland      274      461      355
Rogue        52        65        85
Southwestern Oregon        62        48        69
Tillamook Bay          8          2          5
Treasure Valley      120      113      139
Umpqua        79        90        79
     Total   1,867   1,997   2,031
Source: OUS Institutional Research Services

Of the 14,785 students who attended an Oregon community college in either 1994-95 or 1995-96 AND attended an Oregon University System institution in 1996-97:

All the available evidence supports the conclusion that the transfer process for most students in the State of Oregon is a successful one. For example, the average community college transfer student, coming to OUS with an Associate's degree:

The average student transferring with no community college degree:

Thus, with a high level of confidence it has been established that:


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Joint Boards Articulation Commission Page by Jim Arnold

Send mail to Jim Arnold, Director of Community College Articulation, Oregon University System

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Revised: February 11, 1999
URL: http://www.ous.edu/aca/transferplan.htm