Foundations of Excellence

Improving the transfer student experience

The Foundations of Excellence–Transfer Focus project was a collaborative effort between IUPUI and the John N. Gardner Center for Excellence in Undergraduate Education to improve transfer student learning and success at IUPUI. Launched in 2014, the yearlong self-study included more than 150 people from all divisions of the campus. The project was led by a steering committee and included nine dimensions committees that looked at various dimensions of the transfer student experience at IUPUI.

The self-study and resulting recommendations were based on two campuswide surveys on transfer students—one for faculty and staff and the other for students—as well as relevant campus data. The project and associated data analysis focused primarily on students who are considered “external transfers” coming from two- and four-year institutions outside of the Indiana University system.

Philosophy statement

As part of the project, the Foundations of Excellence Steering Committee, the Council on Retention and Graduation, and the executive vice chancellor of academic affairs developed a philosophy statement to guide IUPUI’s work with transfer students:

As an urban research institution, IUPUI is deeply committed to the educational success of all students. As part of this commitment, students who transfer to IUPUI will experience coordinated, holistic, and developmentally appropriate support as they transition into and through the university.

As they pursue their degrees, they will be intentionally connected to high-quality curricular and cocurricular learning experiences and provided continuous access to support services. Their student experiences will be based on a theoretical framework that supports the unique needs of transfer students. These experiences will enhance their academic and social integration and commitment to attaining academic and career goals.

Implementation plan for priority recommendations

  • Campus culture and structure
    • Recommendation: Widely distribute philosophy statement; include in relevant publications and websites
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Office of Transfer Student Services; Passport Office
    • Recommendation: Re-establish Council on Transfer Students
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Office of Transfer Student Services
    • Recommendation: Develop and implement an annual well-targeted communications plan to inform faculty and staff about transfer students
    • Timeline:
      • 2015–16: Focus on data
      • 2016–17: Report Foundations of Excellence actions to date
      • 2017–18: Report Foundations of Excellence outcomes
    • Leadership: Office of Transfer Student Services; Office of Communications and Marketing
    • Recommendation: Hold annual Transfer Symposium for faculty and staff
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Office of Transfer Student Services
  • Advising
    • Recommendation: Enhance advisor training on transfer students
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Campus Advising Council
    • Recommendation: Develop effective use of advising holds to support transfer students
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Campus Advising Council
  • Policy
    • Recommendation: Revise University College 60-hour policy to support transfer student programs
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Academic and Career Development; University College faculty
  • Engagement and support
    • Recommendation: Conduct campuswide audit of programs and services to support transfer students
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Council on Transfer Students
    • Recommendation: Explore increasing housing for transfer students, including the development of a living-learning community
    • Timeline:
      • 2015–16: Study issue
      • 2016–17: Develop plan
      • 2017–18: Pilot
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Scale up existing effective transfer student support programs
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Council on Transfer Students
    • Recommendation: Create targeted opportunities for transfer students, including school-based honors programs
    • Timeline: 2017–18
    • Leadership: Council on Transfer Students
  • Orientation
    • Recommendation: Extend orientation program and create alternate delivery systems including online modules
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Host academic school orientations for transfer students
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Council on Transfer Students; academic units
    • Recommendation: Deliver post-orientation communication to transfer students from schools
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Council on Transfer Students; academic units
  • Data
    • Recommendation: Develop key performance indicators and benchmarks for institutional progress on transfer students
    • Timeline: 2015–16
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Create and disseminate regular reports on transfer students (campus aggregate data)
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Create and disseminate regular reports on transfer students (school-level data)
    • Timeline: 2016–17
    • Leadership: Action Team
  • Admissions and credit evaluation
    • Recommendation: Revisit school-based admissions policies for transfer students; determine which transfer students are best served by University College
    • Timeline:
      • 2015–16: Gather and examine data
      • 2016–17: Plan
      • 2017–18: Implement
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Improve transfer credit articulation by refining the credit articulation process, creating a robust database of transfer credit viewable by prospective students, and creating an SIS profile for prospective students
    • Timeline:
      • 2015–16: Improve credit transfer processing
      • 2016–17: Access for prospective students
      • 2017–18: SIS profile for prospective students
    • Leadership: Action Team
  • Communication
    • Recommendation: Develop one-stop shop integrated website and print materials for prospective and enrolled transfer students
    • Timeline:
      • 2015–16: Website
      • 2016–17: Printed materials
    • Leadership: Action Team
  • Curriculum
    • Recommendation: Examine possibility of required transitional program/course for transfer students
    • Timeline: 2017–18
    • Leadership: Action Team
    • Recommendation: Monitor the impact of the Statewide General Education Core and Transfer Single Articulation Pathways on transfer student enrollment and success
    • Timeline: 2017–18
    • Leadership: Action Team