Panel Discussion - Student Suggestions for Transfer Institutions

Background Information: On October 19th, at the Sheraton Inner Harbor, CCBC presented at the 2012 AAC&U Regional Conference Modeling Equity, Engaging Difference: New Frameworks for Diversity and Learning. The session was titled, “Non‐Traditional Transitions” and focused on the challenges, successes, and personal stories of three of CCBC’s non-traditional alumni who transferred to four-year colleges: Brandon Dixon, Jessica O’Brien and Tri Truong. The goals of the session were that participants:

  • Understand incoming non‐traditional transfer student expectations as well as the challenges they face and
  • Identify necessary improvements for successful transition from two‐year to four‐year colleges.

The session description was as follows: Non‐traditional students often begin their college careers with challenges (e.g. varying levels of education/preparedness, family support obligations, medical rehabilitation), as well as advantages (experience in the military or working world, maturity) Community colleges provide a range of support services to help non‐traditional students acclimate to the college environment. As a result, more students are completing the first two years of college and transferring to four‐year schools. What happens after transfer? A panel of recent community college transfer students will address the transition to four‐year schools, including what has aided or impeded their success.

The proposal was drafted by Margy McCampbell, Professor of English, Dallas Dolan, Director of Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at CCBC.

The panel discussion and question and answer session was presented by Dallas Dolan and Nicole Zairi, Articulation Assistant to the Office of Instruction at CCBC.

The three student panelists came from a variety of backgrounds, programs, and represented CCBC and four local 4-year institutions.

Topics Included: When did the students decided to transfer and how did they select their destination school? What was their experience like during the transfer process, including loss of credit between institutions, and navigating the new college system. Especially relevant were student recommendations to four-year college administrators on how to improve the transfer experience. A question and answer period followed.

Student suggestions for improvement to the colleges and universities included:

  1. Increased presence of the 4-year schools on the 2-year campuses year-round, not just at transfer fairs.
  2. More flexibility in accepted transfer credits based on outcomes of courses taken, or life/work experience documented.
  3. Special transfer student only “Welcome Days/Orientations” during the first semester on campus at the 4-year. The joint Freshman/Transfer Orientations do not help transfer students, as the information is redundant for them. These should focus more on the four-year school’s specific locations of services and so forth, not the first year experience and course load.
  4. Increased opportunities for program specific involvement (not just clubs and organizations), but real world applicable organizations, internships, and guest speakers within the student’s majors/fields.
  5. More of a presence of transfer knowledgeable advisors and faculty advisors to better help these students with course choices, financial aid, and services. The student schedule builders and untrained faculty advisors are not able to positively support students who have complicated transfer credits and are further along in their program.

Alumni Student Panelists:

Tri Truong is an international student, who started at CCBC in 2009. After completing 60 credits, Tri transferred to the University of Baltimore in Fall 2012 with 3.83 GPA with the prestigious Wilson Presidential Scholarship. At CCBC , Tri was a member of the honors program, vice president of the international club, student barn lounge employee, as well as a student life office assistant for. Tri is also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. At UB Tri is majoring in Real Estate and Economic Development, is currently a member of the Real Estate Club, and is also a member of UB’s Honor

Bio of Brandon Dixon:
Brandon holds an A.A.S in Network Technology with Cisco Certification from CCBC, B.S in Information Assurance from Capital College. Brandon is part of the Advanced Threat Research team at Verisign iDefense he spends his time identifying malicious attacks and thinking of better ways to detect/stop them. His research on various security topics through 9b+, his blog and company, have gotten him attention from companies such as Adobe, Verizon, Sprint, and Cisco. He has discovered several exploits and flaws based on vulnerabilities found in commercial products, web applications and messaging technologies.

Bio of Jessica O'Brien:
Jessica holds an A.A.S. in Chemical Dependency Counseling from CCBC (2009) with a 4.0 GPA and was also Cum Laude, in the Honor's program, and a member of Phi Theta Kappa. Jessica also holds a B.A. in Psychology from UMBC (2011) where she graduated with a 3.56 GPA. Now currently at Stevenson University, Jessica is working on Master's Degree in Forensic Studies, Investigation Track. She currently holds a 4.0 GPA with expected graduation Summer 2013. She has been employed at BD Health Services, Inc since 2009 as a Chemical Dependency Counselor at a substance abuse clinic. She is a licensed CSC-AD - Certified Supervised Counselor, Alcohol and Drug. Legal Papers, INC. She also is a Process Server serving subpoenas and summons to individuals in civil litigation.

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