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Charles A. Dana Center Higher Ed In Brief
March/April 2018
A Message from Carl

As a member of the Dana Center’s higher education policy team, it is my pleasure to bring you another special edition of Higher Ed In Brief. Over the past two years, much of the policy work at the Center has moved well beyond Texas into other states to assist with the development and implementation of multiple mathematics pathways.

No matter where we work, one constant is a focus on the transfer and applicability of mathematics credits and the barriers it can present to both student persistence and success and to the full implementation of mathematics pathways.

This edition shares a brief summary of transfer and applicability efforts in several states. We also feature new resources related to the transition from K–12 to postsecondary education and highlight the Texas Transfer Inventory, which provides a model for how initial steps can be taken in understanding a state’s transfer and applicability landscape.

As always, if you have any questions or requests for policy support at your institution or in your state, please contact our policy team.

Carl Krueger Signature
Carl Krueger
National Policy Specialist, Higher Education Services
The Charles A. Dana Center
What We Are Doing

Transfer vs. Applicability: Policy and Student Needs
Transfer and applicability, put simply, refers to the way course credits move from a sending institution and apply to degree requirements at a receiving institution. Currently, most state- and system-level policy supports the transferability of credits but does not account for the applicability of those credits to a student’s program of study. Even when students are able to transfer credits, those credits might not count toward their desired majors, which can lead to wasted time, increased costs for both students and the state, and students dropping out of college altogether.

Several states have taken steps to address this issue directly. While each state’s approach to the problem is distinct, all of these strategies can be instructive in better understanding the nuanced policy and planning considerations needed to better serve students.

Download our new brief covering transfer and applicability work in four states.


Mathematics Launch Years Toolkit: Defining Content in a Transition to College Mathematics Course at the State or Regional LevelPolicy and Collaboration Are Paramount in Fostering Alignment Between K–12 and Higher Ed Mathematics
Mathematics pathways begin in K–12, and effectively transitioning more students from high school to college-level mathematics requires an understanding of a broad mix of important factors. Considering a state’s policy environment, cultivating collaborations between leaders in K–12 and postsecondary education, and identifying the right data to inform and drive policy-aligned actions are three of the most critical pieces of the “launch years” puzzle.

In our third brief of the Launch Years Toolkit, we explore these factors in further detail, provide a recommended process for addressing the issues, and spotlight exemplary K–16 alignment work being done in two states.

Read “K–12 and Postsecondary Collaboration to Improve Mathematics Course Alignment.”



Students Have Changed, So Must Higher Ed
The “typical student” has changed. With shifts in student demographics, personal socioeconomic factors, and culture, higher education institutions must also change and adapt to the realities faced by contemporary students.

In her opening post for the new Dana Center Blog, Dr. Martha Ellis explores these issues and suggests four ideas for institutions to consider as they work to better serve their changing student populations.

See “Supporting Student Transitions in Higher Education” here.

Inventorying Transfer and Applicability – A Critical Step
A crucial early step in building effective policies around transfer and applicability is knowing what credits are accepted between different institutions (and for which programs of study). Our recently updated Texas Transfer Inventory, along with its companion Program Comparison Dataset, provides detailed data on mathematics course requirements for every degree offered by public institutions in Texas. Beyond its Texas-specific data, the Inventory can also provide an instructive model for how similar inventories can be constructed for other states.

Download the 2017-2018 Texas Transfer Inventory and Program Comparison Dataset.
What We Are Reading
Equity Considerations are Crucial in Guided Pathways
Considered through the lens and context of equity, not all pathways-oriented practices are effective. Thomas Bailey, director of Columbia University’s Community College Resource Center (CCRC), writes about the structural barriers in higher education that can hinder student success and identifies effective areas of focus for redesigning guided pathways to better serve students’ needs.

Read the column on the CCRC website here.
Spotlight Resources
The DCMP Institutional Implementation Guide is Available Online! 

Have you heard? The Dana Center Mathematics Pathways (DCMP) Institutional Implementation Guide is freshly updated AND is available online. This third-edition of the DCMP implementation guide draws upon the Dana Center’s long experience in facilitating math pathways implementations. It equips institutions with a broad framework that defines four stages and 10 essential actions to implement and scale mathematics pathways successfully.

Visit the Institutional Implementation Guide online now.

Save the Date
Dana Center Mathematics Pathways in Florida
Dana Center Executive Director Dr. Uri Treisman and Systems Implementations Manager Amy Getz are excited to visit Florida on April 9 to participate in the Mathematics Pathways Convening hosted by The Florida College System. Dr. Treisman will open the meeting with a keynote framing the national conversation surrounding mathematics pathways. Later that afternoon, Ms. Getz and Dr. Treisman will discuss the importance of equity in modernizing mathematics programs.
Notes from the Field Explores Co-requisites
Coming in April, the Dana Center's Notes from the Field series—briefs highlighting exemplary math pathways work in institutions and states around the country—gains two new entries focused on co-requisite implementations. Co-requisites are among the hot topics in math pathways-oriented reform, so we expect these briefs to make a sizeable impact.

Stay tuned here or follow us on Twitter and on Facebook to find out when new Notes from the Field briefs are available.
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