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Appalachian named to Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll for high-quality support programs

By University Communications

BOONE, N.C.—Appalachian State University has made Phi Theta Kappa’s 2017 Transfer Honor Roll, which recognizes four-year colleges and universities for creating “dynamic pathways” to support the transfer of students from community colleges.

View larger imageAppalachian State University made Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll. Seal courtesy of Phi Theta Kappa

Phi Theta Kappa describes itself as the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of community college students and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders. The society consists of more than 3.2 million members and nearly 1,300 chapters in nine nations. See https://www.ptk.org for more information.

Appalachian joined 64 other schools on the honor roll, which began in 2016. Phi Theta Kappa says that its honor roll schools offer exemplary programs, initiatives and benefits for community college transfers. Other criteria for honor roll selection, collected during the 2015-16 school year, included engagement, collaboration, impact and achievements related to the transfer of community college students. Also considered were partnerships, support, admissions outreach, scholarships, financial aid, student-engagement opportunities and institutional priorities.

Transfer students figure prominently in the culture of Appalachian: 34 percent of entering undergraduate students have transferred from another school; of these, seven out of 10 are from a community college. The Office of Transfer Services (OTS) stands ready to help them.

OTS provides support and services to students from before they enroll until they graduate. The office’s collaboration with campus partners has resulted in “Transfer Track,” targeted campus visits for prospective transfer students; redesigned orientations to meet the needs of transfer students; and a strong faculty mentor program.

Jump Start Appalachian, a highly recognized transition and support program offered by OTS, helps students find the answers and resources they need to transfer successfully to Appalachian’s main campus. At the heart of the program are the Transfer Student Mentors who help students before, during and after their transfer to Appalachian. Matt Huntanar, coordinator of Jump Start Appalachian, regularly visits Appalachian’s top transfer community colleges to help prospective and admitted students navigate the process of transitioning to Appalachian and to strengthen relationships with community college faculty and staff.

Additional services through OTS are transfer credit evaluation, advising for prospective students, and transfer programming and support to current students.

“Collaboration with our community colleges and campus partners has enabled the Office of Transfer Services to be responsive to the needs of all transfer students,” said Jane Rex, the director of OTS.

Appalachian and the other honor roll schools will be featured in the 2017 Phi Theta Kappa Partners in Excellence publication, which is distributed to higher education leaders nationally. They will also receive recognition on Phi Theta Kappa’s website and at PTK Catalyst, Phi Theta Kappa’s 2017 annual convention, which will take place April 6-8 in Nashville.

Phi Theta Kappa CEO Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said the Transfer Honor Roll program reflects the growing importance of transfer in helping the United States achieve its college completion goals, and will promote further study and sharing of best practices.

“Increasingly, students of all ages and achievement levels are choosing the community college, not only as their first step, but also their first choice, in the pursuit of a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree,” she said. “With this designation, we hope to connect community college students with institutions who value their unique transfer experience and prioritize their success.”

Tincher-Ladner added that colleges and universities that provide high-quality transfer programs benefit from the rich perspective and diversity that community college students bring to the student body.

“These students are scholars, leaders, global citizens, often with higher grade point averages than students who started at the university,” she said. “In order to ensure their continued success, the Transfer Honor Roll program identifies colleges and universities that understand the unique needs of community college transfer students and applauds the dynamic pathways these colleges have created to continue fostering student success at the four-year college.”

About Appalachian

Appalachian State University, in North Carolina’s Blue Ridge Mountains, prepares students to lead purposeful lives as global citizens who understand and engage their responsibilities in creating a sustainable future for all. The transformational Appalachian experience promotes a spirit of inclusion that brings people together in inspiring ways to acquire and create knowledge, to grow holistically, to act with passion and determination, and embrace diversity and difference. As one of 17 campuses in the University of North Carolina system, Appalachian enrolls about 18,000 students, has a low student-to-faculty ratio and offers more than 150 undergraduate and graduate majors.

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