Community College Research Initiatives

January 16, 2019

HPTP Data Note 9: Transfer Partnerships and a Culture of Collaboration

In Data Note 6, we described a variety institutional transfer partnership typologies, differentiating those with increasing levels of collaboration and describing aspects of their culture, policy and practices. This Data Note draws upon qualitative findings from the High-Performing Transfer Partnerships (HPTP) study to more fully elucidate a construct described by an interviewee as a “culture of collaboration”, which we found in partnerships that demonstrated the highest level of collaboration.


The HPTP study focuses on institutional partnerships between community colleges and baccalaureate-degree granting institutions that promote more equitable transfer outcomes for underserved student populations. The data for this brief consists of interviews with faculty, staff, and students at seven institutional pairs across three states.

Analyzing their data through a partnership model developed by Amey, Eddy and Campbell, the CCRI team found that highly-collaborative partnerships were student-centered. In addition, the collaborators viewed the partnership as a win-win for students and the institution, developed norms that emphasized equal commitment, and shared a network of resources. The CCRI researchers refer to this collaborative philosophy as the “culture of collaboration.”

The presence of this culture seems to promote mutual commitment to the other partner in understanding their complexities and capacities to work together, contributing to a synergistic relationship. Understanding what makes for a collaborative culture between institutions engaged in transfer partnerships is important, as these collaborations provide students with access to resources and opportunities for baccalaureate completion that may not otherwise exist. Providing more opportunities and resources for baccalaureate degree attainment is especially important for students historically and currently underserved by higher education.

Learn more about the four components of a culture of collaboration (student-centered, win-win, equal commitment, and web of connections) by downloading the full data note below.

Download Data Note 9

This Data Note is part of CCRI’s High-Performing Partnerships Study (HPTP) funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The study focuses on how higher performing transfer collaborations between two and four-year colleges and universities work on the ground. Researchers identified high-performing partnership pairs from a dataset collected for the national initiative on reverse credit transfer called Credit When It’s Due (CWID). Read the full series of Data Notes and more about the project here