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Agreements Benefit WWCC Students Transferring to UW

October 9, 2015
students going in and out of business building
Business students transferring to UW from Western Wyoming Community College will benefit from new articulation agreements. Accounting and business administration are two of five degree programs for which UW and WWCC have signed agreements, allowing students to complete degrees at a higher rate and at a faster pace. (UW Photo)

Students in five popular degree programs at Western Wyoming Community College now have the assurance 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.

“I think it’s a huge benefit to the students, because they have the opportunity to have a well-designed curriculum laid out for them that they know will transfer seamlessly to the university,” says Kim Farley, vice president for student learning at WWCC.

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

“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.”

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

“It’s given us a chance at the college to really take a hard look at our own general education offerings, and those have not been really looked at in a number of years,” Farley says. “We are in the process right now of doing what we’re calling the ‘gen ed revamp’ to get our degrees all in place and make sure that some of our degrees that are over 70 credits are down to 64, so that we are in line with what the university is doing as well.”

Before accepting her job at WWCC, Farley says she previously worked with the University of Wisconsin System on articulation agreements. Instead of dealing with one university, she worked with 14.

“To have one articulation partner and really be able to focus on this, I think there’s just a lot of goodwill here,” Farley says. “I think it’s more pronounced maybe this year than last year when we were all starting this. I see this as a really positive process as we move on.”

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 in order 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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