August 18, 2010
SMU and the Dallas County Community College District formally agreed Monday to continue their shared commitment to help students and improve college graduation rates with two agreements that support easy transfer of credits between the two institutions.
(l. to r.) Dylan Lewis, SMU President R. Gerald Turner, DCCCD Chancellor Wright Lassiter and Daniela Balderas. Lewis and Balderas are seniors who transferred to SMU from DCCCD.
SMU President R. Gerald Turner and DCCCD Chancellor Wright Lassiter signed an articulation agreement and a reverse-transfer agreement that provide guidelines for class-credit transfers.
Agreements that allow students to easily transfer credits from community colleges to four-year universities are an important method for improving a student's chances of completing a four-year degree. The Dallas County Community College District is SMU's biggest source of transfer students. In the last five years, 604 students have transferred from DCCCD to SMU.
Turner said transfer students from DCCCD tend to be slightly older than students who start their college careers at SMU, usually have work experiences they can draw from, and come from a variety of backgrounds.
"Transfer students add an important diversity of opinion in our upper level classes," Turner said. "There's more than one way to get a degree at SMU."
Turner noted that he, too, began his college education in a two-year program. He received an associate's degree and transferred from Lubbock Christian College as a junior to Abilene Christian University, where he graduated with a B.S. in psychology. Turner went on to receive an M.A. and a PhD. from the University of Texas.
The articulation agreement spells out guidelines for transferring community college credits toward a four-year SMU degree. The reverse-transfer agreement allows DCCCD/SMU students to transfer SMU credits back to the community college district. This is important because students often transfer to a four-year institution just shy of the hours they need to complete the associate’s degree. Since community colleges in Texas are measured, in part, by how many associate degrees they award, the agreement allows DCCCD to get the credit the district deserves for two-year graduation rates.
“It’s a win-win for both DCCCD and SMU students, and we are happy to facilitate the process,” said Nancy Skochdopole, director of SMU’s Transfer and Transition Services.
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