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Ian K. Kullgren
By Ian K. Kullgren September 26, 2013

New transfer student bill of rights has Oregon moving in the right direction

Part of Gov. John Kitzhaber's goal to better integrate the various levels of the state's education system included strengthening the way transfer credits worked in higher education. During his 2010 campaign, the governor pledged to guarantee transfer credit among community colleges and state colleges and universities.

This was not a completely new push. Since the 1980s, the state has been working to create common course names and general syllabi. However, the effort has taken on a renewed vigor under Kitzhaber.

The biggest step under this governor was the passage of a set of bills that instructed the Higher Education Coordinating Commission to develop "standards related to the ability of students to apply credits earned through courses of study at community colleges to baccalaureate degrees awarded by state institutions of higher education."

Collectively, those standards are known as the "Transfer Students Bill of Rights and Responsibilities."

There's also a push statewide to evaluate course outcomes so that transfer credits rely more on what students have learned and less on what is written in a syllabus, said Karen Marrongelle, a professor at Portland State University who works on academic strategies for the Oregon University System.

Right now, there's a particular focus, she added, in taking a look at degrees in science, technology, engineering and mathematics fields and working out specific pathways for students to move from community colleges or transfer degrees into university programs. There are also ongoing efforts to clear the way for students transferring from other state through something called the Interstate Passport.

There's always room for more tweaking, more work to make these sorts of transfers easier, but Kitzhaber has supported some significant changes and made good on his word. We rate this a Promise Kept.

Our Sources

Interview with  Karen Marrongelle, Sept. 25, 2013

Email from Tim Raphael, Sept. 4, 2013

House Bill 2970, 2013 Legislative Session

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