Community College Research Initiatives

STEM student success | Working together to improve outcomes

Are you looking for ways to support low-income STEM students in your region? Do you want to help STEM students successfully transfer from 2-year to 4-year institutions and help them complete degrees that lead to living-wage jobs and fill local workforce needs? Have you had challenges making headway in these areas due to a lack of time, resources, or expertise?

The STEM Transfer Partnerships project can help. We provide the structure, support, and funding for 2-year and 4-year partnership teams to carve out protected time to collaborate with colleagues and focus specifically on these issues. In addition, teams benefit from being part of a larger community of practice working toward similar goals, and are coached and supported by CCRI staff who bring years of experience and expertise in STEM education, transfer partnerships, data collection and analysis, organizational change, and other relevant topics.

STEM students have a complex path to travel on their way to a baccalaureate degree. That path becomes even more complicated when moving between institutions. Transfer partnerships are intentional, strategic relationships created to improve transfer student outcomes. This project seeks to leverage the power of transfer partnerships to drive institutional changes that promote greater access and success for low-income students pursuing STEM baccalaureate degrees. Effective STEM transfer partnerships have the potential to remove structural barriers that prevent the persistence and completion of low-income students in STEM degree programs. This project involves institutional pairs working together to target the structural inequities and collaborating to solve them. Structured within a community of practice model, this project allows for knowledge development and transfer within and between the institutions, and also to share findings throughout the state.

Learn more about the STEM Transfer Partnership Project from our data notes, its goals and potential benefits:

Data Notes

Data Note 1 |  Structuring STEM Transfer Partnership Success

August 2022
This first brief in the STEM Transfer Partnership series shares key components in cultural shifts from institutional siloing to interconnected systems centered on student success.

Data Note 2 | Complex Networks of Community: Transformative Partnerships Praxis for Equitable STEM Transfer 

February 2023 

This second data note within the STEM Transfer Partnership series critically examines the required changes that need to be implemented within the organizational structures of postsecondary institutions for STEM college transfer students.

Data Note 3 | Learning from Students: How Teams Rethink Their STEM Transfer Process Through Student Input

August 2023

Institutional transformation requires student input for success. Collaborative efforts by community college and university partnerships to collect and utilize student data to enhance the STEM transfer pathway, prioritizing student engagement and clarifying information systems.

Data Note 4 | Progress in Improving STEM Transfer Partnership Pathways

February 2024

The fourth data note of the STEM Transfer Partnership series continues the discussion of enhancing low-income transfer student outcomes by modifying transfer processes and supports at two-year and four-year institutions. Our research team utilizes a framework proposed by Latham (2014) to evaluate the STP initiative and provide insights into the structural revisions in our STEM transfer partnerships to date and how they are tied to improved transfer pathways.

Project Goals and Benefits

The primary goal of this 3-year project is to create a state-wide consortium of STEM transfer partnerships in order to support low-income STEM students’ completion of transfer and baccalaureate degrees. These partnerships will be designed and supported to work together to achieve improved transfer outcomes and completion of STEM degrees. 

The project involves selecting 10 pairs of two-year and four-year STEM programs to engage in transfer partnership work together. Faculty and staff teams from these institutions will apply to be part of a three-year project to collaborate on identifying the barriers to transfer and completion at their specific institutional pair, and then creating a set of action items around the common goal to retain and support low-income students in STEM through their undergraduate journey. Selected institutional pairs will be coached to examine data on their current transfer students, set goals for improvement, and analyze catalysts they can leverage and barriers they can remove to grow their partnership. Partner institutions will be given a stipend to support this work and the community of practice will be provided technical support to develop sustainable transfer partnerships.

Benefits of Participation

Help low-income STEM students access economic stability by removing transfer barriers

  • Share data to understand potential problems and solutions and set goals
  • Dedicated time, technical assistance, and coaching/support provided to meet your STEM transfer goals
  • Expand participants’ network of peers working on STEM transfer by being a part of a community of practice 
  • Be models on how to center low-income transfer students to impact success rates and share learnings with the larger state system
  • $25k stipend per institution
  • Learn how to catalyze and sustain transfer partnerships
  • Create a more diverse STEM workforce and help fill STEM positions in Washington state