UW News

January 15, 2004

Standards committee studies UW-community college link

Editor’s note: This is one of a series of articles by the chairs of Faculty Senate councils and committees. Carolyn Plumb is the chair of the Faculty Council on Academic Standards

The Faculty Council on Academic Standards is a busy council. The council reviews and approves all new degrees, majors, and minors, and also reviews and approves changes to programs.

The council takes up any issue that relates to undergraduate academics or admission. A few of the activities of the council last year included: (1) writing the legislation that awards a President’s Medal to a UW Seattle transfer student, (2) adding language to the Decennial Review Self Study that asks departments to report how they support and evaluate instructional methods, and (3) writing guidelines for departments in regard to prerequisites for majors.

One of the issues FCAS will be talking about this year is the changing relationship between the UW and Washington state community colleges. In the past, the UW Transfer Agreement (UWTA) promised that the University would enroll all community college students who meet the terms of the agreement, mainly an associate degree and a 2.75 GPA.

The UW can no longer enroll all of the community college students who meet the terms of the agreement because of over enrollment and the growing demand on higher education. However, in a letter to Washington community colleges from Acting Provost David Thorud, the UW promises that it will continue to honor the proportionality agreement, which states that the UW will dedicate 30 percent of new annual undergraduate spaces to community college transfers.

Meanwhile, in order to honor the UWTA for students who complete their associate degrees by spring quarter 2004, many transfers will be deferred to future quarters.

Tim Washburn, assistant vice president for Enrollment Services, brought proposed changes in the transfer agreement to FCAS last spring for review. During the summer the agreement was modified with the endorsement of the State Board for Community and Technical Colleges (SBCTC).

Under the revised transfer agreement, applicants will be reviewed comprehensively, similar to the way the University has been evaluating freshmen since 1997. This comprehensive review will give priority to those students with an associate degree and those with 90 transferable credits taken in preparation for a professional academic major.

Students with a 2.5 GPA or above will receive a comprehensive review, which will include many factors in addition to GPA. It will be important for junior transfers to have identified an intended UW major when they apply since preparation for the major is one of the main considerations.

Many students will continue to be admitted as pre-majors, but most successful applicants applying for junior matriculation will have identified a major as part of the application process.

The UW will provide improved transfer information to support advising in the community colleges. Some majors are more competitive than others; thus, the UW will provide information to community colleges on the academic profile of transfer students enrolled in UW majors. This information will help students direct their interests to majors for which they will be most competitive.

The Faculty Council on Academic Standards will be working with Washburn to develop the comprehensive review process and also will be considering the effect of this new agreement on departments and students’ access to majors.