South Texas College and The University of Texas-Pan American have developed the Start Here, Finish There Student Transfer Success Action Plan to ensure students have an easier time completing their degrees through a partnership between both higher education institutions.
“The plan includes strategies to develop a seamless transition for STC graduates transferring to UTPA,” said Juan E. Mejia, STC vice president for academic affairs. “The more than 25 strategies included in the plan have clear timelines for implementation and accountability for completion.”
As an example, STC and UTPA committed to completing 2 2 articulation agreements between 30 academic programs by December 2009. Through the articulations, students will have a clear roadmap of what courses to complete at STC during their freshmen and sophomore years in college, as well as a list of the remaining courses required from UTPA during their junior and senior years, leading to the completion of a bachelor’s degree. The goal for the 2009 spring semester is the completion of ten 2 2 agreements.
The first meeting between faculty teams from both STC and UTPA will be hosted at UTPA and is scheduled for February 27, 2009. Eighty professors, 40 from STC and 40 from UTPA, as well as administrators from both institutions will work to iron out the first ten articulation agreements.
“Together we have identified several areas that we can both improve to ensure student access to and success in higher education in the Valley,” said Dr. Paul Sale, UTPA provost and vice president for academic affairs. “We are completely focused on implementing this transfer plan during the remainder of 2009 because together we are creating a pipeline of opportunity for students throughout Hidalgo and Starr counties. There is no reason for students to look beyond STC and UTPA for their educations. Together we can provide a complete higher ed experience to students with a bright career pathway close to home.”
Another key strategy in the plan is the adoption of the Texas Common Course Numbering System by UTPA by fall 2009. The change ensures that STC and UTPA are using the exact same course numbers for all freshmen and sophomore courses in the system. The change will result in a simpler recording mechanism for portability of credits by graduates.
Additionally, STC and UTPA hope to establish an STC/UTPA Pre-Admittance Program by April 2009. Under the program, qualifying STC graduates gain pre-admittance to the university. The program may encompass special financial aid opportunities, locked-in tuition rates, scholarships, as well as special student life and academic programs for pre-admit students.
During the spring 2009 semester close to 40,000 students are seeking higher education degrees at STC and UTPA combined.
Dr. Paul Sale, UTPA provost and vice president for academic affairs, sports an STC cap and Juan Mejia, STC vice president for academic affairs, sports an UTPA cap to symbolize a deepening partnership between the two higher ed institutions.