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Agreements Benefit NWCCD Students Who Transfer to UW

October 9, 2015
Two women adjusting a garment on a mannequin
Students work in the textile lab in the UW Department of Family and Consumer Sciences. Family and consumer science is one of nine degree programs for which UW and Casper College have signed agreements, allowing students to complete degrees at a higher rate and at a faster pace. (UW Photo)

Students in 11 popular degree programs offered by the Northern Wyoming Community College District in Sheridan and Gillette are now assured that courses they’re taking will meet requirements for bachelor’s degrees at the University of Wyoming, as a result of new articulation agreements between the two institutions.

The agreements are among many program-level plans that have been struck as part of a concerted statewide effort to ease the transition for students moving from community colleges to UW.

“It’s a clear benefit for our students,” says Mercedes Aguirre Batty, dean of arts, humanities and social science for NWCCD. “Right from the get go, they’ll take the courses they need, they’ll easily transfer to the university, and they’ll succeed.”

She adds that it could shorten the time required for some students to obtain a bachelor’s degree, which helps them financially, too.

The agreements are for these majors in Sheridan and Gillette: family and consumer science; communication; criminal justice; English; political science; psychology; wildlife and fisheries biology and management; zoology; accounting; business administration; and kinesiology and health promotion. Additional agreements are nearing completion for animal and veterinary science, biology and elementary education.

"The transfer articulation agreements will provide students with a semester-by-semester plan that will allow them to complete an associate’s degree at a Wyoming community college in two years and a bachelor’s degree at UW in an additional two years in their chosen major,” says Patrice Noel, UW’s director of transfer relations. “With these agreements, we expect that students will complete degrees at a higher rate and at a faster pace -- and that's a great thing."

NWCCD and UW administrators praise the work of faculty members at the respective institutions, noting that any articulation agreement requires some give and take.

“The faculty is involved, our advising office is involved, and it’s important that students follow the steps,” Aguirre Batty says. “Once they have transferred to the university, it will be great to see that all of the hard work that everyone has put into (the agreements) will pay off.”

UW is engaged in similar discussions with all seven Wyoming community colleges, with a goal of signing articulation agreements with each of the colleges for the 17 UW degree programs that are most popular with community college transfer students. More than 50 of the program-level agreements have been signed so far.

“UW faculty have really rolled up their sleeves in support of this effort,” says English professor Alyson Hagy, a former associate vice president for academic affairs who has helped lead the effort. “It takes a lot of time and attention to mesh UW programs with seven different curricula from the community colleges, but our faculty have risen to the occasion because of the obvious benefits to students. The agreements we have so far will affect about half of the Wyoming students who transfer to UW every year.”

The university’s goal is to sign another 60-70 agreements to aid as many community college graduates as possible.

“To keep this going, we'll emphasize the importance of these efforts to the new administration -- they will need to know and understand how important this is to Wyoming and what a difference it makes to our students,” says Anne Alexander, who succeeded Hagy as associate vice president for academic affairs. “We have to continue to keep our faculty engaged, because that's where the rubber meets the road. We'll continue providing support for dialogue to sustain the agreements we've signed so that, when programs evolve, there's opportunity to share information and update agreements. Our team at UW will keep at it, expanding areas for cooperation to benefit Wyoming students.”

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