Lehman College: Transforming the Transfer Process
In recent years, Lehman College has redoubled its effort to ease the transfer experience for incoming students, 53% of which are of Hispanic heritage. Multiple departments at the college have worked together to utilize technology in innovative ways, implementing unique processes to better serve this at-risk population.
First, the electronic Transfer Credit Evaluation (eTCE) has replaced the College’s former paper-based process in which students had to visit the corresponding academic departments in person in order to obtain course equivalencies for their previous coursework. The former paper-based process was not only time consuming, but required students to be on campus to complete this process. This was often at a time when faculty advisors were not readily available on campus, leading students to spend weeks attempting to get their courses evaluated and delaying their advisement and registration process. The new electronic system, which utilizes Process Maker, enables the process to take place remotely, with little to no student effort. Faculty are most often submitting course evaluations within one day, and the entire evaluation is being completed much more quickly with an average turn-around time of one week.
Another challenge faced by our incoming transfer students was the inaccuracy of their degree audit. The degree auditing system was not able to interpret courses still in progress at students’ current institutions, leaving these requirements to appear unfulfilled. Furthermore, students who were in their last semester of their Associate Degree programs, which represents close to 50% of our incoming transfer population, faced an additional complication with their audits. Since Lehman’s degree requirements are based on students’ status at the point of entry, these students’ degree audits displayed an incorrect set of requirements. Both these factors impacted the advisement and registration process, and would result in students registering for duplicate or inappropriate courses. In such cases, students’ financial aid eligibility could be affected. Using our new innovations, we are now able to address both these challenges. Courses in progress are properly populating the degree audit and students who are pending the completion of their Associate Degree are coded as such. As a result, the initial advisement and registration process is much more accurate, leaving less room for error and confusion on the part of students.
Our recent technological innovations all underscore the College’s mission of a seamless transfer process. They facilitate the advisement and registration process, mitigate student responsibility and confusion, and reduce traffic to the academic departments. This session will discuss these processes in detail and share lessons learned from working with this population.
Process Maker; PeopleSoft (CUNYfirst); DegreeWorks; CollegeSource software; Lehman 360 Platform
Explain project results
Since implementation of the eTCE process in March 2019:
– Almost 5,000 courses were evaluated from CUNY and non-CUNY institutions
– Average turn-around time (from initial request through approval) is down from weeks and months to an average of seven days. The median turn-around time is less than one day.
– Advisement sessions are more efficient and productive because of the availability of course evaluations on-line.
– The student, faculty and staff experience is vastly improved and the backlog of approvals is significantly reduced
– The system introduces efficiencies in that when a course is equated for one student, it applies to any other student who has taken the same course.
Why it should be considered best practice?
These are unique systems that provide excellent service to Lehman students, making their transition to college much easier. They are also designed to ensure that they are taking the required courses in order to graduate in a more timely fashion. Within our own expansive university system, we are leading the way in utilizing technological solutions to address system-wide challenges. We have showcased the eTCE system at a number of meetings and conferences, and many college are reaching out claiming they have not seen anything similar. CollegeSource also stated that they have not seen their product utilized in this way.
Highlights of your proposed presentation and lessons learned
-The timeline for completing the evaluation of courses has been reduced from weeks and months to an average of seven days. The median turn-around time is less than one day.
-Many of our business practices needed to be updated to match the new technologies available
-Although these processes certainly improved efficiencies, they still required significant resources and manpower to maintain
-The importance of buy in from many constituents across the college when implementing new processes
-The need for ongoing assessment of new tools in order to continually improve service to students