CIC Members Forge New Pathways for Community College Transfer Students

CIC is developing partnerships to help community college students pursue bachelor’s degrees in liberal arts disciplines at independent colleges.

This spring, North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) and the North Carolina Community College System (NCCCS) built on an existing comprehensive articulation agreement and current discipline-specific agreements in effect in the state by signing a new articulation agreement in psychology and sociology. This new agreement applies to all 58 community colleges in North Carolina and to all those NCICU institutions that sign it. Through the agreement, community college students who follow set curricular pathways in psychology and sociology will be able to transfer into independent, four-year institutions in North Carolina as juniors with completed general education requirements and two years of coursework remaining to complete their bachelor degrees.

The new agreement is a product of Independent Pathways: Community College Transfer in the Liberal Arts, an initiative launched by CIC and NCICU in 2019 to help community college students pursue bachelor degrees in liberal arts disciplines at independent colleges in North Carolina. Funded by the Teagle Foundation, the project focuses on creating pathways in sociology and psychology and providing a clear advising framework for students to follow. Fifteen NCICU institutions have paired with 15 two-year colleges (14 community colleges and a private two-year college) to design these pathways and to foster a “culture of transfer.” Enriched advising at both two- and four-year institutions helps students navigate the complexities of the transfer process, including financial planning and the efficient transfer of credits between institutions. All of the private colleges are CIC members, and all will be signing the new articulation agreement.

Project Director Steve Brooks and NCICU President A. Hope Williams worked with participating institutions to draft three curricular pathways in psychology and sociology (for a BA in psychology, a BS in psychology, and a BA in sociology) throughout the 2019–2020 academic year. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, teams continued to meet virtually in 2020–2021 to finalize these agreements and to build stronger relationships between two-year and four-year institutions.

Hope Williams signing an agreement
North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities President Hope Williams and North Carolina Community College President Thomas Stith signed an articulation agreement in psychology and sociology this spring.

In the 2021–2022 year, participating institutions will continue to work together to implement these new agreements and ensure that students receive the necessary support to overcome barriers to transfer and bachelor degree completion. Faculty members and administrators will have the opportunity to participate in a virtual workshop on advising, hosted by leaders at the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education, in fall 2021 and will gather in person for a closing conference in spring 2022.

The success of the Independent Pathways project led CIC to launch a second initiative on community college transfer, focusing on building pathways at independent colleges and universities in Ohio. This spring, CIC received a grant from the Teagle Foundation and Arthur Vining Davis Foundations to launch a consortium on transfer in partnership with the Ohio Foundation of Independent Colleges (OFIC). The Ohio Consortium for Transfer Pathways to the Liberal Arts will bring together 14 independent colleges and universities and ten community colleges in Ohio to establish three pathways to baccalaureate degrees in English, psychology, and biology for students at community colleges. Building on lessons learned through the North Carolina initiative, the Ohio Consortium will begin with a series of planning meetings in fall 2021.

Independent Pathways: Community College Transfer in the Liberal Arts

CIC/North Carolina Independent Colleges and Universities (NCICU) Participating Institutions

​Barton College
Brevard College
Campbell University
Catawba College
Chowan University
Gardner-Webb University
Guilford College
Johnson C. Smith University
​Louisburg College (two-year)
Mars Hill University
Meredith College
Pfeiffer University
Salem College
Shaw University
William Peace University
Wingate University

Community College Partners

​Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Blue Ridge Community College
Central Carolina Community College
Central Piedmont Community College
Durham Technical Community College
Forsyth Technical Community College
Guilford Technical Community College
​Isothermal Community College
Roanoke-Chowan Community College
Rowan-Cabarrus Community College
South Piedmont Community College
Stanly Community College
Wake Technical Community College
Wilson Community College