Transferring between institutions in Utah is seamless, thanks to efforts such as the Faculty Discipline Majors’ Meetings and oversight by the Regents’ General Education Task Force. Throughout the Utah system, most lower-division general education courses have common numbering and aligned learning outcomes. But what if you wanted to transfer to a school out-of-state?
Academic leaders are working to make the out-of-state transfer process to colleges and universities in the region easier, specifically regarding lower-division general education requirements. The Interstate Passport Initiative, facilitated by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), is reforming transfer for students in the WICHE region (CA, HI, ND, OR, DSD, UT, WY) and seeks to improve graduation rates, shorten time to degree and save students money.
Here’s how it works: Students who complete the Passport block at one Passport institution will be recognized as having met the lower-division general education requirements and learning outcomes in the content areas listed below when they transfer to another Passport institution, and will not be required to repeat any courses in the receiving institution’s Passport block:
- Oral communication
- Written communication
- Quantitative literacy
- Creative arts
- Intercultural knowledge (social science)
- Natural and physical sciences
- Information literacy
- Critical thinking (learning outcome)
- Teamwork and problem solving (learning outcomes)
With approximately 33 percent of today’s students transferring – and 27 percent of them crossing state lines – the Passport promises a new way to simplify transfer students’ pathways to graduation, and is ripe for expansion beyond the WICHE region.
The Passport is being rolled out in phases: Phase I concluded in April 2014, and with the recently announced grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Lumina Foundation, totaling $2.8 million, WICHE will launch Phase II this month.