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MSU Denver named to Transfer Honor Roll

The University joins a distinguished group of institutions recognized for developing transfer pathways.

By Lindsey Coulter

April 22, 2020

Transfer Student Honor Roll sealThe Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society has named Metropolitan State University of Denver to its 2020 Transfer Honor Roll in recognition of the dynamic pathways the University has created to support transfer students.

Institutions were selected based on their Transfer Friendliness Rating, which helps students find their best-fit colleges. The data helps students assess how an institution supports transfer students and determine whether the school could be a good fit. Colleges can also use the data in evaluating their admissions and recruitment practices to create new transfer-student support strategies.

The MSU Denver Office of Transfer Admissions works with nearly 9,000 transfer applicants each year and thousands of prospective students while striving toward best practices in application and transcript processing, orientation, retention, outreach, partnership development, marketing, communication and more.

“MSU Denver has been the top transfer destination for Colorado students for over 20 years and has received the national PTK honor all five years since its inception,” said Josh Gabrielson, associate director of Admissions/Transfer Services. “It is important to remember that we are doing good work with a smaller budget per student and less staff and faculty compared to similar institutions.”

The Early Bird spoke to Gabrielson and Tiffani Baldwin, Ph.D., coordinator of Transfer Student Success, to learn more about MSU Denver’s continued commitment to serving this critical population.

Why is tailoring services to transfer students so important?

Gabrielson: Each transfer student has unique questions and scenarios, since every one of their previous college experiences was different. Outside of what is on their transcripts, they have expectations around campus life and classroom involvement from their former colleges. Faculty and staff can help transfer students understand what it’s like to be part of their academic department and the Roadrunner’s Nest.

Baldwin: Each (transfer student also) has a different educational background, which needs to align as seamlessly as possible with their continued education at MSU Denver. As a result, they need very individualized support.

What specific or unique needs do transfer students present?

Gabrielson: Transfer students often need assistance in determining how their transfer credits apply to their degree. Since transfer students are not on campus and have not yet established contacts, navigating this process while trying to register can be tricky.

Baldwin: They also have to learn new systems, processes, policies and how to integrate into a new culture. Being a commuter school has added challenges. On a more individual level, each student enters MSU Denver with a variety of previous college credits that they need to align with their path at MSU Denver. They have a shortened time frame to graduation, so they need to establish connections with departments, faculty and resources much more quickly than native students, and they are highly committed to graduating. Though sometimes they lack confidence, especially if they didn’t have a great experience at their previous school(s).

What steps has MSU Denver taken to respond to these needs?

Gabrielson: The creation of the Transfer Process Task Force with Dean Liz Hinde, Ph.D., at the helm has drastically increased the awareness of the unique needs of transfer students and how to address them from an institutional level. Most faculty and staff have known that MSU Denver’s population is mostly transfer students, but creating practices and policies that align with this fact has greatly increased.

Baldwin: There is collaboration between Academic and Student Affairs, and we see leadership making (transfer support services) a priority. The Transfer Task Force has identified and addressed pain points, the General Studies Committee has reduced prescribed General Studies courses — which benefits transfer students, the Transfer Pathways Committee is working to streamline pathways, and the Transcript Evaluation Team is digitizing and creating easier credit processes. Finally, we created the Transfer Peer Mentor program, which utilizes peer support to engage transfer students, especially in their first year, by providing a sense of community, connection to resources and targeted programming and events.

How can employees be allies and champions for transfer students?

Gabrielson: Transfer students are a majority of our student body, so keeping this in mind when developing and carrying out practices and policies will continue to increase transfer-student matriculation, retention, graduation and employment. Also, share your ideas and feedback. That collective knowledge will help us adjust our work to better serve transfer students as an institution.

Baldwin: Recognize transfer students’ unique needs. Work to help them individually and advocate for them at the University level.

To learn more about transfer efforts or supporting transfer students, contact Baldwin or Gabrielson.

Topics: Award, Collaboration, Community, Diversity, Excellence, Inclusion, Student Affairs, Student Success, Transfer

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