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SUNY in a Dialogue on Credit Transfers

The State University of New York system operates sixty four campuses with both two year and four year campuses. Despite the fact that they are under one umbrella, the issue of transferring credits from a two year school into a baccalaureate program has been an ongoing problem.

Inside Higher Education is reporting that the committee studying this issue has come forward with a proposal that lays the issue in the hands of the faculty. The problem lies in the area of upper level requirements for completion of a major. The core courses for a four year degree are often the same as for an associate's degree and transfer easily. It's the upper level courses that pose a problem.

The article cites as an example a student pursuing a business degree at the community college level who decides that his interest lies in accounting. He may have to retake "financial accounting" and "managerial accounting," two courses taken by all business majors, because there is not yet a common understand of what these courses comprise.

Other students who start out in an computer networking diploma program but decide to continue on through the associate degree and into a four year college may find that the elemental computer science taught in a diploma course isn't satisfactory for the bachelor's program, or that the online degree courses have different content than the classroom courses at the State University level.

The system is taking the decision making power out of the faculty curriculum committees at each school and dispensing with the one-on-one agreements between community colleges and the various four year schools. The goal is to have systematized course descriptions for all levels and agreement on course content across the board. It's a system that has been implemented in Florida and seems to be working.

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