Leading transfer organization predicts high conference attendance following Obama's graduation initiative

Friday, January 22, 2010

DENTON (UNT), Texas – President Obama's new American Graduation Initiative, which calls for America to have the world's highest proportion of college graduates by 2020, is one of several initiatives aimed at better preparing Americans for the increasingly competitive and technical global job market.

To achieve the president's goals, it is crucial that colleges and universities do a better job of meeting the needs of transfer students, said Bonita Jacobs, executive director of the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students at the University of North Texas.

More than 300 higher education professionals from at least 30 states will meet at the institute's annual conference to discuss how colleges and universities can graduate more transfer students by serving them better. The conference will be held Jan. 27-29 (Wednesday-Friday) at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Addison, Texas.

UNT, which ranks fourth nationally among public universities for the number of transfer students it enrolls, created the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students in 2003 in order to better understand the factors affecting transfer student success. Today, the institute is the premier organization for the study of transfer students.

The conference also will explore how improving transfer practices can increase graduates in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, through a new post-conference session. The post-conference session will begin at 12:30 on Jan. 29 (Friday).

"There has been a longstanding shortage of well-trained STEM-discipline teachers and STEM-discipline graduates who are able to move business, industry and research forward. It is critical that as the transfer student population grows, colleges and universities pay attention to ensuring STEM-discipline transfer students succeed," said Jacobs. "This new session, like the rest of the conference, is really about making sure that higher education professionals are doing everything possible to recruit, retain and graduate well-prepared individuals who will help keep America competitive."

Dr. Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president of The University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), will deliver a keynote address about the issues surrounding transfer and its role in fulfilling the national agenda. He will speak at 8:30 a.m. Jan. 28 (Thursday). Under Hrabowski's leadership, UMBC has created a legacy of supporting transfer students, which make up 40 percent of the UMBC undergraduate population.

The closing address will be delivered by Dr. Jack Scott, chancellor of the California Community Colleges. Scott leads the largest higher education system in the nation, which serves more than 2.9 million students in 72 districts and 110 colleges. Drawing from his experience as chancellor, a successful legislator and two presidencies, Dr. Scott will discuss the challenges in transfer, particularly in an era of tightening budgets. Scott will speak at the conference's closing brunch at 10 a.m. Jan. 29 (Friday).

The institute also will host several pre-conference sessions on Jan. 27 (Wednesday), including:

  • Veteran and Military Students' Transfer Credit Challenges: Effective Policies, Practices and Resources
  • Improving Transfer Transition and Progress to Graduation
  • From Conference to Practice: Implementing Change
  • From Recruitment to Retention: Focusing Campus Efforts to Promote Transfer Student Success
  • Online Advising: The Next Big Thing?
  • Fostering Successful Transitions through Transfer Student Orientation
  • Transferpalooza and the STEP Awards

Visit the 2010 National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students conference website for more information or to register.

UNT News Service Phone Number: (940) 565-2108