Monday, January 28, 2013

FURTHER INFORMATION:            STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082, PAULA GREEN (626) 914-8873



Collaboration Credited with Citrus College’s Successful Implementation of Transfer Reform
by Stacy Armstrong


A college wide culture of collaboration, as well as a focus on student success, has led to a significant recognition received by Citrus College.


In late November 2012, a report issued by The Campaign for College Opportunity named Citrus College one of the “strongest leaders across the community college system” in fulfilling Student Transfer Achievement (STAR) Reform Act, or Senate Bill 1440, mandates. 


“The biggest factor in our success is the genuine desire that all of Citrus College’s constituent groups –administrators, faculty, and staff – share when it comes to helping our students achieve their educational goals,” said Raul Sanchez, coordinator of the Citrus College Career/Transfer Center.  “A great deal of dedication and collaboration across the entire campus was required to help bring the implementation of SB 1440 to fruition.  As an institution, we always try to exceed expectations because everyone is interested in seeing students transition to four-year institutions and beyond.”


The report, entitled “Meeting Compliance, but Missing the Mark,” reviewed the progress that California’s 112 community colleges have made towards implementing the historic transfer reform designed for students transitioning into the California State University system.  Success was determined by assessing the number of associate degrees for transfer that have been developed, or are currently in progress, at each individual college.


With 13 transfer degrees approved, one in the approval process, and several in the planning stages, Citrus College is second only to Fullerton College in terms of transfer degree offerings.


“Faculty members in several disciplines have expressed interest in creating new degrees in their areas,” said Dr. David Kary, Citrus College astronomy instructor and curriculum committee chair.  “In many of these areas, the statewide models have just been developed or are still in the approval process.  As these models become available, I’m expecting we will see several more degrees develop over the next year or two.”


 The process of developing a transfer degree begins at the state level.  Degree models are created with input from faculty throughout the state and are then approved by the California Community College Board of Governors. 


“As soon as a new degree model is approved, Citrus College notifies the faculty members within the discipline in question and asks them if they would like to develop such a degree,” Kary said.  “When they agree, the faculty then begins to work with our articulation officer and myself to create the degree and bring it through the curriculum committee’s approval process.  The final step is that the Office of Academic Affairs assembles the paperwork and submits it first to the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees and then to the Chancellor’s Office.”


According to Kary, the time it takes to develop a new transfer degree varies.


“From the initial conversation with faculty to approval by the Chancellor’s Office, it can be as fast as a few months,” he said.  “Usually it takes a little longer than that.”


Once a transfer degree is created, Citrus College employees begin to notify students.


“The main method for spreading the word about transfer degrees has been through counselors, educational advisors, and instructors.  Some students have also shared with me that their peers have influenced them to pursue transfer degrees,” Sanchez said.


In an effort to disseminate information regarding SB 1440, the Citrus College Career/Transfer Center held training workshops for faculty and staff from the Citrus College Counseling Department.  In addition, the transfer degree information has been publicized in the student newspaper, on Facebook, and on the college’s website.  Two informational workshops regarding Associate Degrees for Transfer are also planned for students this spring.


According to Sanchez, the publicity efforts have been successful.  In June 2012, 42 Citrus College students graduated with transfer degrees.  This number is expected to increase significantly in the coming years.


“We have been notified by the Chancellor’s Office that 236 students identified on their fall 2013 applications that they were in pursuit of the Associate Degree for Transfer,” Sanchez said.  “It is now our duty to check and make sure that they are on track for accomplishing their goals.”


The most popular transfer degrees at Citrus College are in the subjects of psychology, business, and administration of justice.


“Transfer Degrees, in general, have proven to be beneficial because they provide our students with a direct and efficient path to the California State University system,” Sanchez said.  “They also give our students an advantage in the transfer process because the degrees slightly boost their grade point averages, which could mean the difference between being accepted into a university or not.  At the same time, it guarantees that our students will only be held to completing 60 units once they transfer.”


Dr. Geraldine M. Perri, superintendent/president of Citrus College, is pleased with the progress the college has made towards fulfilling Student Transfer Achievement Reform Act mandates. 


“Student success, specifically college completion, is our primary goal at Citrus College.  The entire college community is committed to ensuring that our students have every opportunity to reach their academic goals. Implementing SB 1440 is one way we are making this happen.” she said.  “While the development of transfer degrees will continue to be a work in progress, it is gratifying to have our efforts recognized by The Campaign for College Opportunity.”


Mrs. Susan M. Keith, president of the Citrus Community College District Board of Trustees, agrees.


“This recognition inspires the college to continue its good work by providing our students with even greater opportunities for achievement,” she said.  “Between Dr. Perri’s highly-capable leadership and the passion and commitment of our faculty and staff, I have no doubt that Citrus College will continue to effectively serve its students and surrounding communities well into the future.”




FURTHER INFORMATION:            STACY ARMSTRONG (626) 857-4082, PAULA GREEN (626) 914-8873