March - Transfer Task Force Report, Campus Vaccination Plan Update, and COVID-Era College Plans

Dr. Wendy Kilgore |
March 26, 2021
  • Research
  • career paths
  • covid-19
  • Credential Evaluation
  • Credentials
  • Transfer
  • Transfer Credit
  • Transfer Credit Evaluation
  • transfer students

We have a lot going in AACRAO Research. I hope you find the updates below helpful. If you have any 60-Second Survey ideas for May, please send them to me (

AACRAO Research Update

AACRAO participated in the ACE Taskforce on Transfer over the last year; our research and topic briefs contributed to the final report. The comprehensive report is available through the AACRAO website

As noted last month in broader terms, we are working on a research project like the ACE project above. This project involves five public institutions in the Dallas, Texas metroplex. Our goal is to help these institutions understand their transfer processes, what works well, and opportunities for improvement. We will examine transcript data, how credits are applied to a degree at the new institution, policy, and practice, and how students experience transfer. The research will also help us advance the model developed through the exploratory research with ACE.

Our Transfer Student Success workgroup is starting to identify a list of transfer-related policies and practices that indicate an institution is effectively focused on transfer student success. The results of this workgroup will be used to shape discussion at this summer’s transfer convening. Additional information on this meeting will be announced later this spring. 

The March 60-Second Survey report serves as an update of the January report. We repeated questions about COVID-19 vaccination plans. When the data from January is compared to data from March, more institutions appear to have discussed plans for vaccinating students/employees, and more have decided to make it voluntary for both populations. 

  • The percentage of institutions who have decided to make vaccination mandatory remains virtually unchanged from January.

  • The percentage considering making the vaccination mandatory for students and/or employees remains virtually unchanged from January.

  • Public institutions are less likely to be considering making vaccination mandatory. More public institutions have decided to make vaccination voluntary for both students and employees than private institutions.

As noted in the report, the Harvard Law Review Blog just released an opinion piece entitled “Can Colleges and Universities Require Student COVID-19 Vaccination?” Two legal experts outline the various COVID-19 vaccine legal considerations for colleges and universities in the article. 

The “Meeting the Moment: Transforming the Digital Credentials Space” report is available now. 

AACRAO has defined a set of core competencies (CCs) and professional proficiencies (PPs) around which our members can craft professional development plans, establish training and onboarding programs, complete self-assessments, draft position descriptions, and evaluate office functions. The core competencies consist of the knowledge, skills, and dispositions necessary for all AACRAO professionals irrespective of their role at their institutions. We are finding that the data from the recent training needs survey related to the competencies and proficiencies is quite rich. The report is currently in draft mode and will be released at the end of April to coincide with a webinar on the same topic. The research questions for this project are:

  1. What professional development and job specific training do front-line staff, managers, and senior leadership in higher education need or want to advance their career or enable them to do their current job more effectively?
  2. What do managers think that front-line staff need or want in terms of professional development and job specific training?  How well does this align with the data from front-line staff?
  3. What do senior leadership think that front-line staff and managers need or want in terms of professional development and job specific training? How well does this align with the data from front-line staff and managers?

We hope the results of this project will help AACRAO plan for professional development and training (PD&T) opportunities of interest to our members and appropriate to position level.  Included below is the aggregate view of preferred PD&T delivery methods.


Current Higher Education Research and Related Topics

WICHE Benchmark Report: Key Annual Higher Education Metrics for the WICHE Region and States

WICHE has released one of its annual reports. This benchmark report focuses on access, attainment, and finance & affordability and tracks changes over time. You can download the dataset for your own research. 

Student Perceptions of Data Use within Higher Education

New America recently published the summary of data gathered through five semi-structured student focus groups consisting of 18 students. These discussions led to a set of recommendations for institutions on data use and access, data tools, training, and outreach.

Student Satisfaction with COVID-Era College

Inside Higher Ed and College Pulse completed a Student Voice Survey of 2,000 undergraduate students at 120 institutions. The results presented in this article are detailed and interesting. Among the findings is the data point that 9 percent of respondents do not want to return to in-person classes. The figure below from the summary article highlights how students want to engage in learning after college learning options return to a pre-COVID-19 normal.