TIMMINS, ON: Northern College recently completed a year-long applied research project that explored the direct and indirect costs and benefits of student transfers among small institutions. The project, which gathered data from eight colleges across Ontario, was funded by the Ontario Council on Articulation and Transfer (ONCAT), a member organization created to enhance academic pathways and reduce barriers for students looking to transfer among Ontario’s 45 publicly funded colleges and universities, with an award of nearly $70,000.
The research team, which included Northern College’s Vice President, Academic and Student Success, Dr. Audrey Penner and Tracie Howieson, Professor and Credit Transfer Project Lead spent the past year gathering data, identifying transfer practices currently in use, determining the overall costs and benefits to learners and aggregating the data into a final report submitted to ONCAT on March 17th, 2016. The report entitled “Measuring the Cost of Credit Transfer at Small Colleges” will be published on ONCAT’s website shortly.
“The intent of this research project was to gather data that might help colleges, especially small colleges, achieve more cost-effective credit transfer processes,” said Dr. Penner. “We discovered a phenomenal level of credit transfer success already in place at participating colleges, but were also able to make some specific recommendations regarding further studies or process changes that could benefit Ontario’s college and university system.”
Given that the province has committed to creating a comprehensive, transparent and consistently-applied credit transfer system, Northern College is seeking funding for the next phase of this study. Phase II aims to help small colleges become more responsive to student mobility needs by developing stronger cultures of mobility. Ten institutions, universities and colleges have already committed to participate in the next phase.
Acting Executive Director of ONCAT Lia Quickert said, “ONCAT is pleased to continue to support Northern College in its efforts to assess the cost of student mobility at small colleges. The research being conducted by our college and university partners across Ontario, including the important work being done by Dr. Penner and her team at Northern, demonstrates the commitment of the postsecondary sector to collaborate and build a credit transfer system that is responsive to students’ needs.”
Northern College President Fred Gibbons notes the value in continuing this research. “With the high costs of post-secondary education being a significant barrier for many students, Northern College understands the need to remove as many other barriers as possible so that students can study worry-free. Creating clearer and smoother transitions between institutions is just one way we can better the post-secondary experience of students system-wide.”
Visit www.northernc.on.ca/innovation to read Northern College’s report to ONCAT or to stay up-to-date on the progress of Phase II and other applied research projects.
Manager, Marketing, Communications and Alumni