Administrators, faculty and individuals concerned with Oregon Senate Bill 342 met last week to discuss the bill, which directs colleges and universities in the state to coordinate more effective transfer among institutions. Senate Bill 342, which has been in effect since the state Legislature passed it in spring 2005, works to improve the ease of transferring lower division general education credits between schools.
Administrators, faculty and individuals concerned with Oregon Senate Bill 342 met last week to discuss the bill, which directs colleges and universities in the state to coordinate more effective transfer among institutions.
Senate Bill 342, which has been in effect since the state Legislature passed it in spring 2005, works to improve the ease of transferring lower division general education credits between schools. The goal of the project is to make it clear what credits a student will receive at one school for a class taken at another school.
“Hopefully we’ll make students’ lives here easier,” said Shawn Smallman, vice provost for instruction and the dean of undergraduate studies at Portland State. “That’s the intent.”
Sessions were held Feb. 22 and Feb. 28 in Smith Memorial Student Union to serve as open forums.
Attendance was low at the two forums–five people were at the first meeting and six at the second. Attendees gave feedback about transferring among Oregon schools and discussed what still needs to be done to increase transferability.
Smallman was the main presenter at the open forums, which were mostly discussion-based after he spoke briefly about the Senate bill.
The bill affects all seven universities in the Oregon University System, including PSU and Oregon community colleges. All schools have gone through, or are currently going through, similar processes to gather feedback from faculty and staff to report back to the Legislature. Smallman said the community colleges seemed to be a little further a long than the larger universities.
The focus of the bill is to develop broad outcomes and criteria statements based on the six areas of general education included in Oregon’s transferable degrees and the Oregon Transfer Module, according to a draft statement from the Joint Boards Articulation Commission, which is the OUS board primarily concerned with the project.
The Transfer Module is a current tool available for students to determine a year’s worth of coursework taken at one institution that will satisfy general education requirements when transferred to any public colleges or universities in the state. The six general education categories are: writing, speech or oral communications, mathematics, arts and letters, social sciences, and science, computer, math.
Earlier this term, faculty at PSU got together to form expert groups on all six educational areas. The groups had five to six members each and met once or twice to determine what they considered general education components of their particular subject, Smallman said.
Group members were selected based on the recommendations of department deans, Smallman said. The feedback from PSU and the other schools involved will be compiled in the Chancellor’s Office, Smallman said, which is the branch of the state government in charge of academic affairs.
“The intent is to satisfy some of the Legislature’s concerns and to come up with a practical system to address transfer problems,” Smallman said.
Now that PSU has submitted input, Smallman said the school will not have any more direct involvement until next fall, when faculty will have a final chance to review the guidelines that the Chancellor’s Office creates using input from all the schools.
“This year is really just a comment period,” Smallman said. “When it’s finished we should be able to address this transfer problem.”
Though issues with transferring do arise, Smallman said he feels that PSU has fewer issues than other colleges in the state. He also said that he hopes this process will allow other schools to learn about the PSU University Studies program and the way it is designed to satisfy general education requirements.
Smallman said that PSU deals with a lot of transfer students because of its size and location.
“I actually think at PSU we do a really good job,” Smallman said about the way transferring is dealt with now. “If you look at our university, we’re designed to work with transfer students.”