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January 26, 2009

Articulation Isn’t Enough
Scott Jaschik
Inside Higher Ed (Jan. 26/09)

SEATTLE — Community college students are no more likely to transfer to four-year institutions in states where there are articulation agreements designed to ease such transfers than they are in states without them, according to a new study. But having more tenured faculty members at community colleges does make a difference.

The research appears to challenge conventional wisdom that these agreements — adopted with fanfare in a growing number of states — are key to encouraging such transfers. And Betheny Gross, the researcher who presented the findings Friday at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities, said she was surprised by the results, too.…

While the study did not find the expected impact for articulation agreements, it did find another characteristic that matters: the percentage of tenured faculty members. For every 10 percent increase in the share of tenured faculty members at a community college, students were 4 percent more likely to transfer to a four-year institution. Many community colleges rely on non-tenure track instructors for much of the teaching, and Gross said the finding suggested that there are educational benefits for not doing so.

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One Comment
  1. January 27, 2009 12:18 am

    Why on earth would articulation agreements change the minds of young people who enroll in community colleges about whether they will continue on to a four-year school? The fact of the matter is, if you think you need a four-year degree and you decide to take two of those years at a community college (for whatever reason: whether to save on tuition or because you can’t meet the university’s entry standards at the freshman level), you’re going to move on to the four-year school and accept the hassles as part of the bargain.

    My beloved employer, The Great Desert University, has an articulation agreement with the vast community college system whose enrollment is several times that of GDU’s. Fact is, it doesn’t articulate well. Many c.c. courses are disallowed, leaving students no less frustrated than they were before the agreement was cooked up.

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