By DANIELLE JAMES
Capital News Service
LANSING — A new agreement will change how credits for popular majors transfer from community colleges to four-year universities.
The agreement will make it easier to transfer into bachelor’s degree programs, according to Erica Orians, the executive director of the Michigan Center for Student Success at the Michigan Community College Association.
“I believe this gives community college students more options,” Orians said, “and we’re hoping that it simplifies the process for students and also makes it simpler to navigate for us as well.”
During the first phase of the agreement, which is already in effect, universities and community colleges agreed to curriculum requirements for biology, business, criminal justice and psychology majors.
According to Orians, those majors were chosen because they are large programs at participating colleges.
“These first four programs are some of the most popular majors, so universities in Michigan have a lot of graduates from these programs,” Orians said. “Given the limited resources we have, it made sense to start with some of the biggest majors.”
The agreement will regulate 12 majors in three phases, according to the association.
Those majors are all potential pathways between community colleges and universities. Pathways are determined when faculty members from each school convene and discuss a common curriculum, according to Robert Murphy, the director of university relations and policy at the Michigan Association of State Universities.
“I would call it alignment rather than universal prerequisite,” Murphy said. “The faculty owns the curriculum because that’s the role of universities.
“We convened the faculty and had them discuss what they all require, and they sat down and hashed out what they require from students graduating,” he said.
The program is a partnership among the community college association, the state universities association and the Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities.
According to Murphy, not every one of the state’s 15 public universities has to sign the agreement for every major.
“There are 12 different majors that are a potential pathway,” Murphy said. “All 15 universities have signed on to at least one of those.”
All 28 community colleges belonging to the community college association have agreed to curriculum for the first four majors. University participation depends on the major.
According to Orians, the organizations expect to add the eight other majors to the agreement in May. It will take effect immediately.
Community colleges will use the agreement to specify major-specific courses their students should take.
Identifying those courses will make it easier for students to complete prerequisites at community colleges and transfer those credits to a university, according to the association.
“Transferring from a community college to a four-year college or university is more common than ever,” Orians said. “Our community colleges want to ensure that students receive credit for the courses they have completed when they take the next step in their education.”
Students can find more information about transfer requirements at https://www.mitransfer.org/.