05

Poisel, M.A., & Joseph, S. (Ed.). (2018). Building transfer student pathways for college and career success. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Review by Laura Garey, North Carolina State University, lkgarey@ncsu.edu

Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success is a short, but informative book that guides the reader through current definitions of transfer students and their unique needs compared to traditional students.  The authors identify the need for institutions, administrators, and advisors to aid transfer students through their transition and continue that support for the students throughout their time at the institution.  By providing guidelines and case studies, the authors suggest ways postsecondary institutions can establish their own transfer programs and collaborate with each other to help students navigate their experience while reducing negative effects associated with transferring (e.g. transfer credits not counting towards new degree).

The authors estimate that “over half of all students on a typical campus at any given point in time, on average, are mobile students” (Shapiro, 2018).  To understand this estimate, the authors introduces the readers to the concept of student mobility and to emphasize that transfer students have varied academic paths.  Student mobility represents the reality that many students follow a multi-institution pathway to earning their postsecondary degree, but the pathways are varied and unique to each student.  Traditionally, higher education assumes transfer students matriculated from two-year institutions into a four-year institution (vertical transfer).  Some students follow the vertical transfer pathway, but other students follow a lateral transfer (four-year to four-year or two-year to two-year), participate in dual-enrollment programs, transfer from a four-year to a two-year institution, and/or follow a summer swirl pathway (enrolling in summer courses at a community college and returning to home institution during the academic year).  Student mobility also represents the knowledge that students may transfer to two or more postsecondary institutions before accomplishing their education goals.  The reasons behind student mobility are varied and can include money, family and personal obligations, logistic issues, lacking or changing goals, and/or unique opportunities offered at different institutions.  Before a student transfers, advisors play vital roles in helping students to identify their goals, plan for transfer challenges, and understand the cost and benefit of their transfer pathways.

Transfer students face many challenges and the book’s authors recognize that advisors play a crucial role in supporting this student population. Throughout the book, the authors incorporate different ways and methods that advisors can aid transfer students, but they also dedicate a chapter specifically for advisors: Academic Advising for Mobile Students (Van Der Kar, 2018).  The authors touch on all NACADA Core Values, but highlighted three core values: Care, Empowerment, and Inclusivity (NACADA, 2017a).  Transfer students are often on a shorter timeline than their counterparts and the book highlights the need to quickly build rapport with transfer students.  The Core Value of Care is important for building the trust and respect needed to develop an advising relationship with transfer students.  The Core Value of Empowerment is necessary for advisors to help transfer students to identify the students’ goals and help motivate them to achieve their goals.  Finally, the Core Value of Inclusivity is essential for advisors to recognize that transfer students follow different academic pathways. 

Advisors at four-year institutions need to aware of transfer shock which is the phenomena that “students experience a dip in GPA during their first semester at the four-year institution followed by a recovery in subsequent semesters” (Van Der Kar, 2018).  The authors explain that transfer shock is due to students trying to adapt to new institutional situations and expectations while navigating new social and academic relationships in a short amount of time.  To help advisors support new transfer students, the authors provide an advising timeline and advising intake questions that incorporate NACADA’s Informational and Relational components in the Core Competency Areas (NACADA, 2017b).  Again, using the Core Values of Care, Empowerment, and Inclusivity (relational components), advisors help transfer students anticipate new challenges and develop goals to manage transfer shock.  Advisors’ knowledge on institutional policies, degree requirements, and on-campus resources (informational components) are important tools to assist in the student’s development in problem-solving and self-efficiency at their new institution.  In addition, advisors can help students understand their transfer credits with their new curriculum and connect students directly to on-campus resources that can assist them academically, socially, and emotionally.

Although the authors focused on advisors’ role throughout the book, most of the chapters consist of case studies and topics meant to encourage policy change and inter-institutional collaboration that may not fall within an advisor’s role.  The book provides descriptions and case studies for reverse transfers (Dietrich, Gammell, & Lane, 2018), transfer readiness (Romano & Hesse, 2018), and long-term learning communities (Plinske, 2018).  In addition, the authors address transfer orientation (Foote, 2018) and assessment (Moser, 2018).  These chapters are helpful for advisors to understand current programs and practices that transfer students could potentially benefit from or may have experienced in their academic career. 

Building Transfer Student Pathways for College and Career Success is an informative book that advisors will find helpful when interacting with transfer students, especially during the students’ first semester.  By incorporating NACADA’s Core Values (NACADA, 2017a) and Core Competencies (NACADA, 2017b), the tools and information provided in the book will help advisors anticipate issues transfer students may experience and help smooth the transition so that transfer students can achieve their postsecondary education goals.  The book’s conclusions and advocacy are supported by research and case studies so advisors will be up to date about current programs and issues that can affect transfer students.

References:

Dietrich, N., Gammell, G., & Lane, I. (2018). The Tennessee reverse transfer program: a case study on partnerships to support seamless transfer. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 17-34). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Foote, S. M. (2018). Theories, research, and best practices related to transfer student orientation. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 53-72). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Moser, K. (2018). Understanding and using assessment practices in the context of the transfer student experience. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 109-126). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA core values of academic advising. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreValues.aspx

NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. (2017). NACADA academic advising core competencies model. Retrieved from https://www.nacada.ksu.edu/Resources/Pillars/CoreCompetencies.aspx

Plinske, K. (2018). Long-term learning communities: mitigating the effects of sterotype threat and cultivating student success. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 93-108). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Poisel, M.A., & Joseph, S. (Ed.). (2018). Building transfer student pathways for college and career success. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Romano, J. C., & Hesse, M. L. (2018). Transfer readiness: insights from 10 years of intentional design. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career sucess (pp. 35-52). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Shapiro, D. T. (2018). Student Transfer and Mobility: Pathways, Scale, and Outcomes for Student Success. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer student pathways for college and career success (pp. 1-15). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

Van Der Kar, C. A. (2018). Academic advising for student mobility. In M. A. Poisel, & S. Joseph, Building transfer pathways for college and career success (pp. 73-91). Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina, National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition and the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students.

 

Posted in: Book Review
Actions: E-mail | Permalink |