MORRISTOWN, Tenn. - ***UPDATE***
King University and Walters State Community College (WSCC) announced the signing of a reverse transfer agreement between the institutions during a news conference held Monday, Sept. 23, at Walters State Community College in Morristown, Tenn.
The reverse transfer program will be available to WSCC students who have transferred to King University from WSCC prior to the completion of their associate degree program.
"We are delighted to further extend the collaborative and long-standing relationship we have enjoyed with our partners at Walters State Community College," says Dr. Greg Jordan, president of King University. "This is an excellent opportunity for students to achieve their dreams of college completion at both the associate and baccalaureate levels."
Upon transfer to King University, students who have completed a minimum of 21 semester hours toward their associate degree at any WSCC location will be eligible for the reverse transfer program.
"The goal of the Tennessee Complete College Act of 2010 and Governor Haslam's ‘Drive to 55' initiative is to increase the number of Tennesseans with college degrees," says Dr. Wade McCamey, president of Walters State Community College. "This agreement with King University will greatly enhance our collective efforts to meet this very important goal by improving the retention and graduation rates of our students."
King University and WSCC have a proven partnership in helping students attain their baccalaureate degree. Since 2009, King has offered classes on WSCC's Morristown and Sevierville campuses. The existing articulation agreement between the two schools is designed to ensure a seamless transition for students transferring from community college to a bachelor's-level institution.
"The reverse transfer creates a mechanism to send information to WSCC from King so those students who first attended WSCC can be awarded their associate degree through remaining course requirements completed at King," says Matt Roberts, chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs for King University.
Since 2003, 872 students from WSCC have transferred to King University to continue their academic path.
"Earning an associate's degree is an important educational milestone and credential that enhances a student's marketability in the job market," says Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president for academic affairs at Walters State Community College. "This partnership will give our students the opportunity to complete their associate's degree while earning a four-year degree. We are looking forward to working together with students who have transferred to King."
Currently, King has articulation agreements with nine community colleges — five in Tennessee and four in Virginia — including Northeast State Community College, Walters State Community College, Pellissippi State Community College, Roane State Community College, Nashville State Community College, Virginia Highlands Community College, Mountain Empire Community College, Southwest Virginia Community College and Wytheville Community College.
"Reverse transfer is a great opportunity for our students," says Jon Harr, associate dean for academic affairs and campus dean for Knoxville at King University. "The student earns another credential, and retention rates are higher for students who receive an associate degree through reverse transfer."
According to a June 2011 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, "Reverse Transfer Programs Reward Students and Colleges Alike," authors Donna Ekal and Paula M. Krebs state, "Up go the graduation rates at the community college, up goes the self-esteem of the newly credentialed student, and up goes the retention rate at the university: It's the ultimate win-win situation."
According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission's 2012 Articulation and Transfer Report, among private institutions in Tennessee, King currently ranks number one in the receipt of transfer students from community colleges and number three in the total number of transfers received.
In a January 2013 news release, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam commented on his new higher education initiative, Drive to 55.
"Over the past six months, I've spent a lot of time learning from experts in our state and across the country about the challenges we face in higher education," Haslam said. "Only 32 percent of our state's adult population has a post-secondary degree, but if we are going to have a workforce that's job-ready, we need to be at 55 percent by 2025. The conversation needs to be about K (kindergarten) to J with the ‘J' meaning jobs."
"King has always enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with Walters State Community College," says Roberts. "That spirit of cooperation continues with our reverse transfer agreement. As a result of the agreement, WSCC will see an increase in its graduation rate, King should see its retention rate increase, and our students will earn a valuable credential on their way to the completion of a bachelor's degree. Also, this agreement will not only provide for an exceptional education for students, but it will improve economic development for the region."
A joint announcement that will benefit students in our region is expected Monday from King University and Walters State Community College.
That announcement happens at 2:00pm on Walters State's campus in Morristown, Tennessee.
Look for more on this announcement later.