Seven Wyoming community colleges are implementing transfer programs to help graduating students go to the University of Wyoming.
Patrice Noel, UW director of transfer relations, worked for more than a year to create working transfer plans in 17 disciplines, which is difficult and takes time, she said.
“It takes 119 people to come to an agreement about how this is going to look so the first two years of community college can be followed by two years at the university,” she said.
The programs are to accommodate the two plus two plan, in which students study two years at a community college, earn an associate’s degree, then gain a bachelor’s degree after two years at UW.
Some of the majors include petroleum engineering, elementary education and English.
“We have 51 percent of programs that have been completed,” she said. “I would love to have said this scorecard is complete, but as you can see, it isn’t.”
The seven colleges — Casper College, Central Wyoming College, Eastern Wyoming College, Laramie County Community College, Northwest College, Northern Wyoming College District and Western Wyoming Community College — have programs in various stages of completion.
The programs were separated into several levels of completion: completed, final stages, in process, no shared programs. A final plan shows the college has a program in the area, but the associate’s degree requires more than 64 credit hours, making it difficult to graduate in four years.
“We didn’t think it would be fair to show them as options,” Noel said.
All colleges have a nursing program in place. LCCC has 12 of the 16 remaining major programs complete while the other four are in long-term planning or in the final stages of completion. Northern Wyoming Community College District and Casper College also have a majority of the plans completed.
Two engineering programs — civil and petroleum — might not be available for some colleges as a two plus two program.
“Engineering, with Dean Michael Pishko at the helm, is working to be creative,” she said. “Not all community colleges have the resources or people to teach those classes; he and his team are thinking of a one plus three with a reverse transfer.”
Students would take as many relevant classes at a community college as possible before transferring to UW. After the appropriate number of credit hours is reached, they would transfer back to earn an associate’s degree before continuing their education at UW.
The progress UW made with transfer programs is good, but it might not last if a standardized system is created, UW President Dick McGinity said.
“We’re halfway there after a year,” he said. “One of the things that has to happen is, it needs to be institutionalized in some fashion. If we don’t, this will all wither away.”
Noel said she hopes to begin working on 18-20 more programs on the list by the end of the month. Trustee Michelle Sullivan said this is a reachable goal with the trustees’ help.
“I think sometimes, we think about outreach as going and giving a lecture or having a lunch with a legislator,” she said. “To me, this is a great example of systemic outreach that can make a big difference if we are able to sustain it.”