Interpersonal relationships are key to transfer success

May 30, 2017
  • AACRAO Connect
  • Technology and Transfer
  • Transfer and Articulation
Two males in business attire converse over a coffee.

Michigan’s transfer system is decentralized, which means in-state transfer agreements rely on well-developed transfer agreements.


Central to those agreements are person-to-person relationships, says Donna Petras of Macomb Community College. Petras is Principal Investigator, Transfer Student Success, at Macomb. There’s no common, state-mandated data system, so it's important for collaborators to learn how to "play nice in the sandbox."


“There’s all kinds of data about student success indicators--what students need to do or not do,” Petras said. “But there’s a lack of data about how two- and four-year institutions can collaborate and what impact that can make on student success.”


Collaboration requires trust

There’s a truism about fundraising that goes something like this: “People give to people, not to organizations.”


“That concept applies to how to support transfer students as well,” Petras said. “The transfer agreements are important, but it’s also about the relationships. Collaboration requires trust and a sense of being able to work together.”


In a “thick” transfer market such as Macomb, where there are multiple potential transfer partners, transfer pathway strategies can be complicated to implement. So Macomb established the University Partners Advisory Council (U-PAC) to strengthen its relationship with 14 key transfer institutions.


“The group is higher-level administrators who can make decisions and impact policy,” Petras said. U-PAC also directly engages faculty, who can “make or break course articulation.”


Macomb conducted a study to assess the outcomes of students who transfered from Macomb to one of the 14 U-PAC institutions between fall 2007 and spring 2009. This study divided transfer students into three groups: direct transfers, reverse transfers, and swirlers, and then analyzed their characteristics, enrollment patterns, and outcomes.


Raise your transfer game

Petras will discuss the results of that study and the potential for collaborative relationships in any market--rural, suburban, or urban--in her session at the upcoming AACRAO Technology and Transfer Conference, July 9-11 in New Orleans. Register now for the early bird rate.






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