Southeast Missouri State University has been named to Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) National Honor Society’s 2018 Transfer Honor Roll for its efforts in creating dynamic pathways to support transfer students.
Southeast is one of only four institutions in Missouri and among 112 nationally to be recognized this year. Transfer Honor Roll schools will be honored at the PTK Catalyst 2018, Phi Theta Kappa’s annual convention April 19-21 in Kansas City, Missouri. The University will also be acknowledged in the 2018 Phi Theta Kappa’s “Partners in Excellence” publication and on Phi Theta Kappa’s website.
Phi Theta Kappa is the premier honor society recognizing the academic achievement of students at associate degree-granting colleges and helping them to grow as scholars and leaders.
Open to all regionally accredited baccalaureate degree-granting institutions, Phi Theta Kappa’s Transfer Honor Roll recognizes excellence and success in community college transfer pathway development. To be considered, participating institutions complete an application detailing their community college transfer programs. Applications are evaluated in the areas of scholarship and financial aid, admissions outreach, student support services and student engagement opportunities.
“Phi Theta Kappa is one of the most prestigious honor societies in higher education, and it is an honor to be recognized by an organization that promotes and celebrates the academic achievements of community college students,” said Dr. Debbie Below, vice president for enrollment management and student success at Southeast.
Phi Theta Kappa President and Chief Executive Officer Dr. Lynn Tincher-Ladner said the recognition program reflects the growing importance of recognizing and responding to the needs of community college transfers and promoting and sharing best practices for transfer success. She noted that colleges and universities that provide high-quality programs and services to community college transfers benefit from the rich perspective and diversity these students bring to the student body, and ultimately to the nation’s workforce.
“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,” Tincher-Ladner said. “These students are scholars, leaders and global citizens, and it has been shown over and over that they do as well as students beginning college at a four-year college or university.
“In order to ensure their continued success, the Transfer Honor Roll Program identifies colleges and universities that understand the unique needs of transfer students and applauds the dynamic pathways these colleges have created to continue fostering student success among transfer students at the four-year college,” she said.
Southeast has committed to better serving and supporting its transfer student population, which grew to 582 students in fall 2017.
In February 2017 the University implemented the Transfer Mentor Program to help community college students plan a pathway to success.
Through partnerships with Jefferson College in Hillsboro, Missouri, Three Rivers College in Poplar Bluff, Missouri, Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Illinois, and Borough of Manhattan Community College in New York City, Southeast helps community college students plan and track their degree program at Southeast from their very first semester of college.
The program enhances their transition to Southeast early on to complete their degree, said Lenell Hahn, director of Admissions at Southeast.
“To better help them, we start a relationship from the first semester the students start at their community college and build that communication and support throughout their studies,” Hahn said. “The partnership among the community colleges, their student and Southeast provides the tools and resources students need to succeed throughout their college career.”
As part of the free program, students have access to academic advising at Southeast and Southeast’s web-based degree management system. The program also provides students opportunities for concurrent enrollment and reverse transfer to earn their Associate of Arts degrees.
The program is open to any community college student. If their community college is not a participant of the program, students can still complete an individual agreement with Southeast and must send their official college transcripts to Southeast at the end of every semester.
Currently, 118 community college students are enrolled in and benefiting from the Transfer Mentor Program.
Additionally, the new program was accepted by the Missouri Department of Higher Education as part of the Guided Pathways to Success Pilot Project. As a participant, Southeast is collecting and reporting data to the Missouri Coordinating Board for Higher Education on the program’s progress and effectiveness. Outcomes of both pilot programs will be reported to Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens and the Missouri General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2020, along with a recommendation on possible statewide expansion.
“The Transfer Mentor Program is just one of many examples of what Southeast is doing to lead the way in promoting college, especially in support of first generation students and families,” Below said. “Southeast is committed to doing what it takes to help all students, and transfer students in particular, successfully navigate their college degree so that they can enter and advance in their chosen career pathway as quickly as possible.”
The Transfer Mentor Program already is having a positive impact on community college students throughout the southeast Missouri region, Hahn said.
“Students have so many options available to fit their needs, through Southeast’s regional campuses and online programs,” she said. “No matter what degree path a student takes, the program puts support systems in place to help them succeed.”
Southeast hopes to partner with additional institutions in the future.
For more information about Southeast’s Transfer Mentor Program, visit www.semo.edu/transfermentor.