On May 19, the ASI Board of Directors passed a resolution that urges Cal Poly to provide additional financial support to transfer student programs.
The resolution is called the Transfer Student Advocacy Resolution and also requests the New Student and Transitions Programs office to develop an opt-in process for “Transfer Week of Welcome,” and a greater focus on campus resources during academic day sessions. The resolution also urged the Office of the Provost to collaborate with the Academic Senate to revise the curriculum in order to achieve the CSU Graduation Initiative (GI) 2025 goals, which are correlated to transfer student graduation rates.
Upon approval, the resolution was sent to a number of campus administrators: University President Jeffrey D. Armstrong, Vice President for Student Affairs, Dr. Keith Humphrey, New Student and Transition Programs Director, Andrene K. Kaiwi-Conner, Dean of Students Joy Pedersen, Transfer Center Coordinator, Heather Domonoske, and the Deans for all six colleges.
The catalysts for the resolution were several reports and campus studies indicating the size of Cal Poly’s diverse transfer student community. During the 2020-21 spring quarter, the Transfer Center reported that 2,269 transfer students were part of Cal Poly’s new and continuing undergraduates. Additionally, according to Cal Poly Institutional Research in 2020, 50.7% of newly admitted transfer students identified as underrepresented minorities—compared to 32.5% of freshman students. A 2019 Cal Poly Transfer Center report also shows that 29% of admitted transfer students were first-generation students—compared to 7% of freshmen.
Lastly, the resolution cites the Cal Poly senior project, “A Look at Transfer Student Resources at Cal Poly,” which surveyed a sample of 23 transfer students, revealing that more than half of them didn’t attend Week of Welcome (WOW), and 78.3% of them didn’t know the Transfer Club existed. Most of the survey participants were not familiar with the resources available to transfer students.
To help support transfer students, the Board of Directors hopes that the campus will get involved with direct advocacy efforts; the goal for these aspirations is to reach a two-year graduation rate of 45% for transfer students, as set by the CSU GI 2025. (The 2018 two-year graduation rate for transfer students is 38.8%.)
“This transfer resolution was the first ASI Board of Directors stance on supporting students in a non-traditional path here at Cal Poly,” said Member of the Board, Ricky Chavez. “By looking at the institutional research data, it is clear that transfer graduation rates are lower than what they should be and something must be done to increase them. This is only the start for transfer student advocacy, and I believe there is still a lot of work to be done to make Cal Poly a more inclusive place for transfer students.”