By Heather Zimar, AACRAO Managing Editor for C&U and SEM Quarterly
Wendolyn Davis, director of the Transfer Center at the University of Tennessee, shared in a session at the 107th AACRAO Annual Meeting how higher education practitioners can utilize transfer students to increase diversity on campuses. She said one of the first steps is to broaden the idea of what diversity means when it comes to transfer students. Transfers, she said, have financial considerations, are swirlers, have lost credit, are older learners, are first-generation, have stopped out, are raising families, are in recovery, are veterans, are part of the LGBTQ community, have a disability, have criminal convictions, and have a range of belief systems. Students transfer not only due academic reasons but often because of life circumstances, she noted.
Davis emphasized that storytelling is an effective way to begin conversations about these diverse students. She recommended that practitioners across campuses ask themselves what they are doing, in their areas, to increase transfer diversity on our campuses. “We are all in different places and in different roles,” she said. “Within your area, what are some of the things you can do?”
Three questions to ask to drive these conversations:
- How representative are our campuses?
- Do we have the data to know? (A lot of us have anecdotal info, which has great value, David noted)
- How can we create change from our lanes? (Are you reaching out to find faculty who can be allies and who we can tell the stories, David asked. And can you drive those conversations?
Interested in Transfer or have an idea for a session? Join the conversation on July 12-14 at the Technology & Transfer Summit.