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Seamless Transfer Pathways
Student-Centered Solutions to Improve Transfer Success
In Fall 2017, the Education Design Lab (Lab), with funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation (MSDF), launched Seamless Transfer Pathways. This two-year design challenge, funded with four years of evaluation, seeks solutions to address the staggeringly low transfer and completion rates among community college students.
This paper provides learnings from the ongoing design challenge, sharing the pilots of each of the four teams: Miami Dade College and Florida International University; Township High School District 211, Harper College, and Northern Illinois University; Collin College and University of North Texas; and Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University.
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Insights to Action
New Approaches to Seamless Transfer on Your Campus
June 5, 2-4pm EST
During Insights to Action, we’ll take a deep dive into the Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Challenge to share out learnings and new approaches to transfer pathway design and institutional change management that participants can apply to work on their own campuses.
Hosted by Kathleen deLaski, President and Founder, Education Design Lab
Miami Dade College and Florida International University
Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University
Harper College, Northern Illinois University, and Township High School District 211
Collin College and University of North Texas
Presented in collaboration with the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS)
an inside look at the design challenge
From Kick-Off to Pilot Launch
Eighty percent of students who enroll each year in a community college aspire to earn a bachelor’s degree. But only 1 in 4 students make the leap to a four-year institution within five years. See how the Seamless Transfer Pathways cohort aimed to address this by exploring the question: how might community colleges and four-year universities dramatically improve transfer and baccalaureate attainment rates by reframing the end-to-end experience from the student’s point of view?
Design Challenge Kick-off
Gallery Walk + Ideation
Forming a Pilot
Beginning in Fall 2017, the Education Design Lab, with funding from the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation led an intensive Design Challenge to re-design the student transfer experience. Research shows that 80 percent of students who enroll in one of our nation’s community colleges every year express an intent to complete a bachelor’s degree at a four-year institution. Yet, in the end, only 25 percent make the leap to a four-year school within five years, and only 17 percent complete a four-year degree within 6 years of transferring. The Lab spent the last year providing participating teams with access to subject matter experts, coaches and design specialists to help teams develop transformative, rather just incremental, solutions. Pilots will launch in 2019, with results tracked for the next six years.
- Miami Dade College & Florida International University
- Township High School District 211, William Rainey Harper College, & Northern Illinois University
- Collin College & University of North Texas
- Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) & George Mason University
This fall teams are continuing to test and iterate their pilots. It became apparent that each institutional pair needed more time to fine-tune the various features of their pilot and are spending this fall working with faculty, staff, and students to gather additional information necessary for full implementation. Check out the al the Seamless Transfer Pathways Pilots below:
- Team Florida
The pilot: TRANSFERmation- A comprehensive and enhanced guided pathway intended to improve baccalaureate completion for the more than 8,000 Miami Dade College students interested in a STEM degree.
- Team Illinois
The pilot: Business Degree in 3- A streamlined High School through College to work pathway that leverages Illinois Power of 15 programs for students interested in completing a bachelor’s degree in one of NIU’s five different Business pathways.
Business Degree in 3
- Team Texas
The pilot: Fast-Track Business degree- A supported degree path that streamlines business prerequisite courses for students with an AA/AS from Collin College.
Fast-Track Business Degree
- Team Virginia
The pilot: Meet VANCE- a technology-enabled tool to enable advisors and faculty to support better students in their new ADVANCE program. VANCE supports students on their time with accurate, timely, responsive, and personalized information.
In May 2018 the Seamless Transfer Pathways cohorts convened at the University of North Texas to share their final concepts and finalize their pilots. Teams participated in several design activities throughout the two days. These activities provided each team with feedback from their cohort peers, as well as, selected subject matter experts who were on hand to push the institutions to think bigger and better for their students. The convening ended with each team selecting the first version of their pilot and sharing out the pilot to all in attendance. After the convening teams returned to their campuses and spent the summer creating work plans for implementation, as well as continued testing on the various features with their students.
January/February 2018: Gallery Walk & Ideation Sessions
Over the past few months, we’ve spent time collecting and reviewing information from campus teams, including interviews with students, faculty, staff, field observations, and surveys. At the Gallery Walk & Ideation sessions, participants will have an opportunity to explore and experience this information; for our challenge, participants will be able to move around the gallery to review critical elements synthesized from the research. They will develop this research into insights and themes, which will then be used to refine design criteria and help brainstorm ideas for concept development.
October 2017 Kick-Off Convening
The Lab kicked off the 1st Convening for the Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Challenge in October at George Mason University. Administrators and staff from all nine institutions participated in an intense two-day, interactive design engagement focused on what the Lab calls the “Understand” phase. During this session, team members worked together to parse out important data and information gaps to get a better understanding of the challenges students on their campus face and consider solution opportunities from the student perspective.
Demanding Results on Transfer
- Inside Higher Ed
The Power of Student Voice: How Human-Centered Design Leads to Seamless Transfer Pathways
- National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS)