Transfer pathways provide way to success

The current economic state has caused many aspects of traditional academia to become subject to change. In light of that fact, a new plan for collegiate success has been devised by the state of Tennessee in order to facilitate the ever-growing transfer student population.

In the past, the University of Tennessee offered what they called “articulation agreements.” These agreements were simply guidelines to which classes needed to be taken and completed successfully in order to move on to UT as a transfer student. Many of the agreements varied and at times, it was difficult to sort out which classes needed to be taken. In addition to this issue, the agreements would sometimes change from one semester to another.

The consequences of that change often resulted in students taking unnecessary courses which would later be removed from the original agreement that they had been given. In response to this obvious debacle, the state issued the new Transfer Pathways program.

“It provides transfer assistance in the state of Tennessee for the students working towards completion of associate degrees designed for transfer at our two-year community colleges, and who plan to transfer to a TBR, UT or participating TICUA institution to complete a bachelor’s degree,” Dr. Sam Overstreet, professor of English at MC, said. Overstreet was instrumental in researching and implementing the changes necessary for MC to take part in the program.

“Barbara Wells asked me to coordinate the effort to put together the Pathways here at Maryville College,” Overstreet said. “I communicated with the division chairs to tell them why it would be a good thing for us to do. Last September, I attended the meeting where the state was encouraging their institutions to put together pathways for as many majors as we could.” The benefits of a college implementing Transfer Pathways were obvious to Overstreet.

“It’s a way of helping transfer students plan their path of study to maximize efficiency,” Overstreet said. “They need to have the information as to what course work will transfer and how, it keeps their total education within four years and keeps it efficient. We accept a lot of courses for credit, but if they don’t fulfill our requirements for a major or the core curriculum, than that student will have 20 plus hours of elective credit and may be spinning their wheels. It’s a matter of making sure that regardless of what classes you take, you have not made it hard to meet the requirements.”

Wendy Petty, associate director of admissions at MC, agrees that Transfer Pathways are an exciting way to improve enrollment at MC. “I think it is a great recruiting tool,” Petty said. “ The fact [is] that students need to know that by following this, they can graduate in two years.

Students need to know what’s going to transfer and how. That is the number one question I get. It’s a fair question and the pathways provide the answer.” The program is new for the state of Tennessee, and it involves making a universal guide for students to transfer from any college in the state to a university of their choice. One or two differences may apply to each institution, so it’s important to have all the information needed.

“There are three ways to get involved in the Transfer Pathways,” Petty said. “The community colleges in the state will usually have information on their web sites. Maryville College has it on our website, or you could go through the states site.”.

The Transfer Pathways program has the potential to create and provide an easier transition for students that wish to continue their education and take their future to the next level. It also has the potential to help colleges such as MC improve their enrollment and retention rate by providing a way for transfer and non-traditional students to see a clear path to obtaining a degree.

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