Education

Transition requires a village (or an entire state)

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When Patricia Parker was not renovating the 1860s farmhouse or making homemade jams and salsa for employees, he was working with more than 1,500 people from Virginia’s two- and four-year colleges and K-12 departments. Higher education professionals and from here Virginia Higher Education Commission with Virginia Community College System. Her goal: to improve the transfer path-especially for students.

It takes natural power to manage, guide and convene many stakeholders involved in the transfer-and Parker, the project director Transfer to Virginia, Is the strong one.In short, the transfer to Virginia is a statewide cooperation State Council Higher Education, This Virginia Community College System, This Aspen College College Excellence Program, HCM Strategist, with go to bedAnd is Handling transfer initiative. Virginia Transfer aims to reform and improve the transfer experience in the state in order to achieve measurable progress in student success and equity.

In just over two years, the leaders of Transfer Virginia have taken key steps to adjust the course learning outcomes between institutions and degree programs, develop a common two-year course and a statewide map… The statewide transfer portal for students and consultants. Summer… and more!

bad news? This requires a lot of work. good news? Others can copy this work. Really! The Aspen College College Excellence Program requires Parker to briefly share the most important actions to transfer to Virginia so that other states can try.

Aspen Institute: First of all, I want to compliment your team. Hundreds of people work together to provide better services to more than 14,000 community college students in Virginia, who will continue their education at one of the more than 40 universities in your state. Wow! How did you make such a huge change in Virginia’s transfer method?

Patricia Parker: “Our high stakeholder participation and collaboration-we spend time and energy to develop this Organically. Period. We have the advantage of state legislation specifically for transfers. We used a collaborative and inclusive process to turn legislation into an ideal practice, and then into a policy, centered on transfer students. Educators and those who work with transfer students every day are part of development from the beginning. By bringing together people who have never had the opportunity to cooperate with each other on an issue, we have discovered a new perspective on the transfer of our state. “

Aspen: What practical advice do you have for educators, policy makers, and students who want to have this impact on transfers?

Patricia Parker: “First, you need a strong shifting vision supported by clear goals-keep looking back to make sure that every step you take is in line with this vision. Whenever we encounter resistance, we will stick to this vision. We did get it Fight back! Cooperation does not mean that there is no conflict.

Second, you need a dynamic but simple communication structure: everyone needs to know where you are in the process, what you are doing, and when. So it is very simple-maybe it is not simple, but in a sense, it is: we rely on Google Doc folder, not the website. We are at this stage of work, everything has changed so quickly, we simply messed up the Google folder. Google Folders provides a safe workplace for people engaged in different jobs. Then we have folders for public information. We have tracking tables for more than 120 courses under development; for example, deans can pull up the table and immediately see where their team is in the process.

Third, we hold regular update and action meetings for all Transfer Virginia partners, universities and community college partners.We let everyone focus on the same subject in the same room Routine, Go forward, promote the shift from sidebar topics to frontier and central dialogue. We check with the dean and vice president every month. We need senior leaders, not just down-to-earth people, to participate and make transfer a priority. Once or twice a year, I will talk to the president of the university, the Higher Education Commission of the State Council and the State Community College Committee to provide the latest information on planning and impact. I also talk to the transfer points of each agency weekly or monthly. Our Virginia Transfer Steering Committee meets twice a month, so these people are the first choice for transfers.

Aspen: Are there any good things for transfer advocates who want to start working on this scale?

Patricia Parker: “Don’t wait! I have been involved in transfer work as a teacher and lecturer for many years, but I am not a transfer expert. I am still learning, but we get together and integrate the vision of transfer and learn along the way. We all need to keep working: transfer students All of us are needed.”

Heather Adams is the senior project manager of the College Excellence Program and leads the development of the transfer plan.

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