A recent American Council on Education (ACE) ‘dotEDU’ Podcast titled ‘(College) Credit Where Credit is Due’ features Anne M. Kress, president of Northern Virginia Community College, and Anne Holton, professor of public policy and education at George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government. The podcast was co-hosted by ACE leaders including Mushtaq Gunja, vice president and chief of staff; Sarah Spreitzer, director of government relations and Jonathan Fansmith, director of government relations. The podcast segment focused on the outcomes of an ACE taskforce co-chaired by Holton, which made six concrete recommendations that will enable higher education leaders to carry out more seamless and efficient transfer and award of credit at their institutions.
The report titled, ‘Reimagining Transfer for Student Success: The National Task Force on the Transfer and Award of Credit’ focused on reimagining policies on transferring of college credit. Holtonand Kress worked together on the task force. Kress further discussed the report, best practices for transfer of credit, student safety and helping students succeed.
“What is interesting is that every single state does transfer a bit differently hence the importance of a taskforce such as this,” Kress said. She further stressed how the NOVA - Mason partnership ADVANCE has produced so many great results.
Kress continued, “The majority of students at NOVA are Latinx, African American and Asian. So, we are a very diverse institution. Students looking for equity in access to education frequently will start at community colleges, but if they can’t move those credits further, than that’s a challenge. That’s one of the things that the taskforce really honed in on. This is an equity concern, and this is an affordability concern.”
This taskforce offers the national view on what institutions can learn from each other. Education Secretary Miguel A. Cardona called the question of credit transfer a "critically important issue" during a prior ACE meeting.
The recommendations to colleges presented by the report include:
- "Prioritize the award of transfer credit and credit for prior learning and the application to degree requirements, as an essential component of student success. Embed this priority throughout the culture of your institution.
- "Adjust your institution’s end-to-end policies and practices to improve the ability of students to receive credit for learning already acquired, including removing unnecessary obstacles that prevent students from accessing their transcripts to continue their education at another institution.
- "Leverage innovative technologies to facilitate the review of credit, to provide greater consistency across credit award determinations and to increase the efficiency and timeliness of the process.
- "Improve transparency by making clear upfront what credits will be awarded and how they will be applied to a student’s degree pathway.
- "Dedicate the resources necessary to ensure quality advising that provides students with early, knowledgeable and personalized information and guidance at key points throughout the course of their learning pathway. Implement a cross-institutional advising approach with key transfer partners to the maximum extent possible.
- "Partner with your most frequent sending or receiving transfer institutions to implement articulation agreements and structured pathways to increase the transfer and award of credit toward degree requirements."
To listen to the full podcast, click here:
Northern Virginia Community College is the largest institution of higher education in the Commonwealth of Virginia and one of America's largest community colleges. NOVA enrolls more than 75,000 students at its six campuses in Alexandria, Annandale, Loudoun, Manassas, Springfield and Woodbridge, and through NOVA Online. For more information about NOVA and its programs or services, call 703-323-3000 or visit the College's Web site, www.nvcc.edu.