Forum scheduled on community college to university transfers

An open forum on best practices for helping students transfer from state community colleges to a member institution of the University of North Carolina System will be hosted by Western Carolina University on Thursday, March 28.

The forum, with an accompanying presentation on articulation agreements, begins at 2 p.m. in the A.K. Hinds University Center’s Catamount Room.

Leaders of six community colleges joined with WCU officials in February to discuss ways two- and four-year institutions can work better together to assist community college graduates as they transfer to a four-year school to work on a bachelor’s degree. An open forum on Thursday, March 28, will provide an opportunity for WCU faculty and staff to address best practices for helping those students.

Articulation agreements are designed to smooth the road for students who want to earn associate degrees at the community colleges and then move on to work toward their bachelor’s degrees. The forum is part of the WCU Transfer Advisory Committee’s review of student transitions and successful enrollment planning, and leads to improvements as needed.

“Providing our transfer students with a seamless transfer process to Western Carolina University is one of our top priorities,” said Heather Hill, WCU’s senior assistant director of admission and forum organizer. “The transfer advisory review is something that I look forward to because it defines areas in which we can improve and those in which we are succeeding. The continuance of streamlining these processes results in a successful student who can adjust easily and feel at home quickly here.

“The forum will be a nice addition this year to inform faculty and staff who are interested because it will shed light on transfer-related updates as well as explain the function of the committee and information on Comprehensive Articulation Agreement Pathway Plans in an effort for the campus community to help our transfer students achieve their academic goals.”

The forum comes on the heels of a panel discussion involving leaders of six community colleges and WCU officials about ways that two- and four-year institutions can work better together for higher education opportunities. While the community college leaders agreed that WCU has been a good partner over the years through the adoption of numerous articulation agreements, dual enrollment efforts and 2+2 programs, they also said that more steps could be taken to remove barriers that prevent some students from transferring to a four-year institution.

“We rely heavily on our community college partners in helping bridge the gap by introducing us to their students who desire to complete their education at a four-year institution,” said Mike Langford, director of WCU’s Office of Undergraduate Admissions. “Continually assessing our process by which students apply, enroll and become students helps both us and our community college partners across North Carolina.”

For more information, contact Hill at 828-227-3170 or hchill@wcu.edu.