Credit Transfer and Degree Audit:

A Message from Matthew Whelan, Ed.D.,
Associate Provost for Enrollment and Retention Management

Historically, the Transfer Office, under the auspices of the Enrollment and Retention Management area at Stony Brook University, has worked closely with transfer applicants and matriculating students to ensure that earned credits from other institutions are appropriately transferred and that the classes our students take are helping them achieve an on-time, four-year degree. The Transfer Office also ensures that credits earned at Stony Brook are tracked and credited toward their degree in a timely manner.

Q&AStony Brook University currently enrolls more than 1,800 transfer students each year. Previously, manual processes, whereby the transfer office and faculty would review individual course descriptions, and student transcripts by hand, is how many faculty and departments determine if course credits transferred from a feeder school. While this system worked, with only a limited amount of technological infrastructure, it has been slow, redundant and inefficient.

The Operational Excellence Enrollment and Retention Management initiative team identified the need to enhance and upgrade the systems and processes in these areas during interviews with key stakeholders and through comprehensive assessments of best practices at peer institutions. During a five-month review process undertaken by a diverse team of faculty, staff and administrators, it was determined that academic success and graduation rates could be dramatically improved by providing students – and faculty – with new, cutting-edge course planning, advisement and evaluation systems.

Credit Transfer Enhancement
To ensure that prospective transfer students have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information about the validity of course credit transfer from other institutions to Stony Brook, we are implementing a new electronic course evaluation and articulation system within PeopleSoft. Once a course from a specific college or university is evaluated by the Transfer Office or faculty, and entered into the database, it can be easily articulated by students using a self-serve process. Additionally, faculty will have real-time access to this information, eliminating the need for multiple evaluations of identical courses. This simplifies the process and reduces the time for credit transfers, giving our faculty more time to spend on student advisement and teaching.

As part of this initiative, we recently reorganized the Transfer Office to report to Rick Gatteau, the Assistant Provost for Academic and Pre-Professional Advisement area. This reorganization will improve student service, provide synergy between Academic and Pre-professional advisement and the Transfer Office, and allow for more cross-training and staff efficiency all leading to improved student and faculty service.

The new credit transfer system is already being utilized by several major feeder schools, with the goal of completing implementation within the next few years among our transfer institutions and within all of the University’s 68 majors and 78 minors.

Electronic Degree Audit System
We also have initiated a new electronic degree audit system, designed to provide students with real-time credit evaluation through SOLAR. Students will now be able to assess quickly and accurately where they stand relative to required credits for graduation. At the same time, this electronic database gives faculty and administration a reliable, efficient resource to engage in high-level course planning.

Implementation of these new initiatives is ongoing. We are working to ensure, through focus groups and meetings with all pertinent stakeholders, that our current students and prospective transfer students can get real-time information to help manage their education, and faculty and administration can improve course offerings and availabilities.

October 11, 2012