The near-capacity room was excited to hear Peg Wier, Associate Registrar at Purdue University, speak about Transfer Equivalencies at AACRAO’s 2019 Technology & Transfer Conference in July.
“She knows her stuff,” one attendee said conversationally, before the session began.
And indeed she did, discussing the tools that Purdue uses in an effort to ease the transfer process for both staff and students. Wier walked the room through the online process from the student’s perspective to see what they experience when seeing what qualifies for transfer credit.
Autonomy for students
Purdue University had a small transfer process when Wier came onboard as a transfer coordinator. There was the one community college in Indiana that the bulk of their transfer students came from, and that was it. But things are much different in 2019, with Purdue now having international students onboarding. So how does the office deal with the much larger influx without losing students in the mix?
The solution, Wier says, is to make the process as autonomous as possible and give the students the tools to be self sufficient. This eases the pains from both the student and staff perspectives. Purdue’s transfer database accomplishes this by working in both directions--for students transferring in and out of the school.
Their transfer credit course equivalency guide (a university-created tool) shows how a Purdue course translates to other institutions and vice versa, allowing the students to map out their courses on their own. Purdue also offers the Ellucian product Transfer Equivalency Self-Service. In this tool, they take a questionnaire, which asks basic information like their major, enrollment date, and so on, leading the student to eventually see how their courses will be used in their degree plan in a DegreeWorks (also an Ellucian product) report.
Of course, there are always kinks in the process that the staff are aware of--an example is when students come in with more than the requisite credit hours for a course (an example being the English Department at Purdue), which doesn’t equate. These problems are all part of the process, Wier says. As you work on the solution, just make sure that you are being as transparent as possible to the students. If the students run up against any roadblocks, they can always talk to a staff member in person or over the phone.