The Senate Source

August 2012

Academic Senate Approves New Transfer Admission Policy

The Academic Senate has approved new transfer admission pathways that will help clarify the transfer process for California Community College students interested in UC, and also improve their preparation for UC-level work.

The Assembly’s amendments to Senate Regulation 476 follow the systemwide Senate review of a proposal by the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools (BOARS) to add a major-based route to transfer admission.

The new policy means that transfer applicants from California Community Colleges will be entitled to a comprehensive admissions review (though not guaranteed admission) if they complete any one of three pathways: a yet to be developed UC Transfer Curriculum in the relevant major, with a minimum GPA set by each campus; an “SB 1440” Associate of Arts or Associate of Science Degree for Transfer from a California Community College in the relevant major, with a minimum GPA to be set by each campus; or the existing general education pathway specified in Senate Regulation 476 C.

The policy responds to State legislation (Assembly Bill 2302) that encouraged UC to align its transfer requirements with Senate Bill 1440, which requires the California Community Colleges to develop Associate Degrees for Transfer and requires CSU to admit recipients of those degrees to some CSU campuses as juniors with a guarantee of obtaining a bachelor’s degree upon completion of 60 upper division units at that campus. The first CCC students are currently completing and entering CSU with SB 1440 degrees.

BOARS opposed offering any guarantees similar to what was required of CSU—opting instead to give holders of Transfer AA/AS degrees a comprehensive review. In this way, the policy is parallel to the “entitled to review” feature of the new freshman admission policy taking effect for students entering UC this fall.

The policy will encourage campuses to consider a transfer applicant’s major choice and preparation for the major in selection decisions; however, each department or program at each campus will decide how this is to be done.

“BOARS believes the policy will improve the preparation of UC transfers and communicate a positive message to community college students that if they pick a major, prepare for it, and show a strong case for being able to complete it in a timely fashion, they will be fully considered for transfer to UC,” said Bill Jacob, BOARS chair.

Following Assembly approval of the revisions to Regulation 476 that create the new pathways, BOARS approved a modification to the transfer selection criteria in the Guidelines for Implementation of University Policy on Undergraduate Admissions that asks campuses to choose “applicants with a high likelihood of timely graduation.” BOARS also approved a specific plan and timeline for developing and implementing the new transfer paths.

Developing UC Transfer Curricula

The implementation plan asks each department or program to collaborate with the campus admissions office and Senate admissions committee over the next two years to develop a UC Transfer Curriculum, which will detail the specific lower division preparation a student needs in order to be considered for admission into the major as a transfer. This process is to be completed by the end of spring 2013, with selection criteria for students applying to their major or program to be developed by the end of spring 2014. Beginning in fall 2014, campuses will evaluate and select transfers for fall 2015 admission according to those criteria, and in fall 2015, the first transfers admitted through the two new paths will arrive at UC.

Jacob emphasizes that departments may choose to continue using the current SR 476 C path (60 semester units of transferrable coursework and a seven-course breadth pattern with at least a 2.4 GPA) to help campuses meet transfer enrollment targets if they feel a list of major-based courses is too restrictive. Alternatively, they might elect to require general education preparation, such as IGETC (Intersegmental General Education Transfer Curriculum). Other departments, particularly in STEM disciplines, may choose a specific set of courses they want students to complete. Each department or program is free to decide what ‘major preparation’ means, and each campus may opt to raise or maintain the current 2.4 GPA minimum.

Jacob says the Transfer Curricula should ensure a baseline of preparation and will define the minimum requirements for a guaranteed comprehensive review. “The UC Transfer Curricula will provide prospective transfers a ‘reality check’ to help gauge their ability to succeed in a major at UC,” he said.

In 2010 and 2011, UCOP and the systemwide Senate responded to AB 2302 by convening faculty in eight high-demand disciplines from all nine UC undergraduate campuses to discuss lower-division major preparation. The meetings explored similarities and differences among major requirements across campuses, and revealed significant commonalities. BOARS and UCOP hope these commonalities can help serve as the basis of UC Transfer Curriculum for each major. BOARS will encourage UCOP and the Senate to convene additional discipline groups to develop recommended Transfer Paths that can become the basis for UC Transfer Curricula for other majors.

Jacob says developing the Transfer Curriculum will be a lot of work for some departments, but the benefits of better prepared students make it worth the effort. 

                  - Michael LaBriola