Northern Virginia Community College and George Mason University were recently chosen as a finalist team for the Education Design Lab Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Challenge. The pair was chosen from 50 applications representing 100 institutions from 25 different states. NOVA Executive Vice President Mel Schiavelli and GMU Vice President for Academic Innovation and New Ventures Michelle Marks submitted an application and interviewed to participate in the challenge.
“Your application and interview demonstrated that you are ready, willing, and able to re-think the transfer experience in higher education and transform the relationship between two-year and four-year institutions,” wrote Education Design Lab’s Project Manager Binh Thuy Do in the acceptance email. “This work will not only impact your own institutions, but also set a precedent for other schools wanting to re-think their own transfer experiences and working relationships. They will look to you as you spend the next year designing and building a truly seamless transfer pathway.”
The Michael & Susan Dell Foundation funded the Education Design Lab to lead an intensive one-year design challenge beginning in fall 2017. NOVA and GMU will join three other pairs of two- and four-year institutions for the Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Challenge.
Throughout the challenge, participants will:
1. Learn the core fundamentals of design-driven innovation and understand how it can bring diverse stakeholders together to co-create on behalf of student success.
2. Meet other administrators and experts from around the country focused on transfer pathways in a hands-on, structured creative process to explore how emerging best practices can meet the needs of their students.
3. Design and iterate prototypes toward one or more pilot plans. Training on rapid prototyping and lean-startup methods will help partners arrive at an implementation and launch and evaluation plan, with funded support from a third-party evaluator.
According to research from the Community College Research Center at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College, the Aspen Institute and the National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, approximately 80 percent of incoming community college students begin with the goal of eventually earning a four-year degree. However, only 14 percent do so within six years, and about 38 percent earn either an associate or bachelor’s degree.
The study also shows that many students who transfer from a two-year institution often have complications transferring their credits to some four-year institutions. The Education Design Lab’s goal with the Seamless Transfer Pathways Design Challenge is to alleviate these complications for students who are interested in transferring from a community college to a four-year institution.
The Education Lab announced the four pairs of two- and four-year institutions that will develop customized sets of tested interventions that can dramatically move the needle on bachelor’s completion for community college students.
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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.