"Field Notes" is an occasional Connect column covering practical and philosophical issues facing admissions and registrar professionals. The columns are authored by various AACRAO members. If you have an idea for a column and would like to contribute, please send an email to the editor at email@example.com.
by Karen Reinoehl, Director of Transfer Admission at Trine University
The Indiana Transfer Council (ITC) began as a vision by a group of higher education professionals whose responsibilities primarily involved working with transfer and dual enrollment students. Their connection with one another developed from networking together at various transfer student events. They mutually understood the challenges associated with working with transfer and dual enrollment student populations and began to share ideas and knowledge. The similar experiences they shared led to a close-knit, supportive working relationship. Collectively the group realized that the types of questions and concerns facing transfer students was significantly different from the concerns of first-years students.
History & Purpose
The Indiana Transfer Council was established as a grassroots initiative geared toward providing resources and professional development opportunities for transfer professionals. The founding members of the ITC were concerned about the lack of resources and professional development opportunities available to high school counselors, college admission recruiters and academic advisors. The initial group was comprised of four transfer admissions counselors, the director of a community college transfer center and the Director of TransferIN with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education. Representation on the council included both public and independent colleges as well as, 2-year and 4-year institutions. The diversity of their experiences working in the trenches provided a unique perspective to the issues and concerns working with transfer students.
As the group talked about their vision for a transfer council and the audience that could be served, they realized that the complexity of transfer concerns included persons serving in a wide range of capacities, both at secondary and post-secondary levels. The individuals who could be helped by the existence of a transfer council potentially included high school and college educators, high school counselors, dual enrollment coordinators, academic advisors, admissions representatives, student success advocates, transfer coordinators and registrar staff.
Furthermore, the group recognized that key information about legislature and initiatives supported by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education was not reaching many individuals who worked directly with transfer and dual enrollment students. The lack of knowledge and understanding of statewide initiatives, the implications of dual enrollment, articulations, transfer pathways and transferability of college credit was concerning. This prompted the group to request a meeting with the Indiana Commission to share their concerns about how information was being communicated, their vision for a transfer council and how the two entities could work together. This led to a mutually supportive relationship between the Commission and the Transfer Council.
In addition to the partnership with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, the Indiana Transfer Council and the Indiana Association for College Admission Counseling (IACAC) collaborated to sponsor a Transfer Summit in 2016. The event focused on a wide range of transfer related issues and best practices for helping students through the transition process.
Several of the individuals who helped establish the Indiana Transfer Council have transitioned into new careers and responsibilities. The challenges of their new roles has made it difficult for some members to maintain the level of commitment necessary to propel the organization further. The founding members are extremely passionate about the organization and plan to continue their involvement, serving in the capacity of an advisory board.
Currently, the group is focused on navigating the organization through a restructure. They plan to bring individuals on board who possess key skill sets that will contribute toward moving the organization forward. In addition, the ITC encourages and welcomes individuals interested in committee service or membership to become involved. The Council is excited about new webinar activities and regular events to connect professionals interested in transfer trends and topics.
The formation of the Indiana Transfer Council is a legacy that can be built upon. The organization is a site where transfer professionals can find support, network, cultivate relationships, keep abreast of trends and learn of professional development opportunities. Continued partnership with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education and the Indiana Association of College Admission Counseling will most certainly provide a supportive relationship for continued growth and opportunity for the organization.
Check out AACRAO's Guide to Best Practices in Transfer, a working document providing a framework for institutions' transfer policy decisions.