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Northwest College Transfer Agreements with UW Benefit Students

October 9, 2015
woman in lab coat and goggles working with lab equipment and glassware
Anita Khannikova, a petroleum engineering graduate student, from Stepnogorsk, Russia, works in the University of Wyoming’s BP America Rock and Fluids Research Lab. Petroleum engineering is one of seven degree programs for which UW and Northwest College have signed articulation agreements, allowing students to complete degrees at a higher rate and at a faster pace. (UW Photo)

Students in seven popular degree programs at Northwest College now have the assurance that courses they are 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.

“The transfer articulation agreements make it possible for students to attend any Wyoming community college and be assured that they will have a seamless transfer to the University of Wyoming,” says Astrid Northrup, NWC associate professor of engineering and mathematics, and physical science division chair.

She said all of the students’ credits will transfer into their majors, and they won't have to repeat or take unnecessary coursework.

“Students will know in advance exactly what courses to take, both at the colleges and the university, to earn their bachelor's degree,” Northrup adds. “These agreements are the result of a new level of cooperation between Wyoming community colleges and the University of Wyoming. It's a huge advantage for our students.”

The agreements are for these majors at NWC and UW: civil engineering; criminal justice; family and consumer science; kinesiology and health promotion; petroleum engineering; political science; and psychology. Additional agreements are nearing completion for: accounting; business administration; communication; elementary education; English; and nursing. Other agreements in progress are: animal and veterinary science; biology; wildlife and fisheries biology and management; and zoology.

"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."

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

“I’m pleased with progress thus far with credit transfer efforts,” NWC President Stefani Hicswa says. “The ongoing goal must be to make our students’ transition to UW as smooth as possible for them.”

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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