The student body at Salt Lake Community College consists of students from all different backgrounds and academic credentials. Each student has certain expectations for the specific programs they are involved in, whether it is graduating with a degree or obtaining a certificate. Students transfer to SLCC from all over the country, and some come with bachelor and other graduate degrees.
Students with graduate degrees have come to SLCC in search of expanding their education to a new area of study. They have already completed undergraduate and upper-level classes, and their credits should transfer. This has not been the case with these students, and some are upset with how the school has handled their situations.
“I’m not going to do a bunch of nonsense, spend a bunch of money and take a lot of time to complete courses that have nothing to do whatsoever with my skill set,” says environmental lawyer Darrell Prows.
Prows has a Jurist Doctorate from the University of Utah and decided he wanted to pursue the environmental management program at SLCC.
After his frustrating experience trying to transfer credits to the college, he no longer wants to participate in the program offered at the school.
His frustration stems from the fact that the college would not accept some of his credits or waive class requirements. SLCC requires him to take a technical writing class in order to be in the program, and he became upset when told he could not substitute it with the legal writing class he took back in the ‘70s.
The argument he had was that the writing classes he had taken were more advanced, and he didn’t understand why he needed to start over at a beginner’s level.
The Incoming Transcripts Office at Enrollment Services follows the guidelines set by the Utah System of Higher Education (USHE) policy R-470.
“Rarely does graduate coursework transfer in to fulfill an undergraduate requirement; just because the curriculum is so different,” says Transfer Credit Manager LaDawn Miera.
Program requirements are different than courses in General Education.
Even if a student has an equivalent course that could count for the program requirement, they still need to take the class required for that program.
For example, if a student has an undergraduate degree in Art and wants to transfer into the nursing program at the college, the student must take the math courses required for that specific program even if that person has already taken upper-level math courses to fulfill General Education.
Prows was upset when he went to an advisor at one department to get a course transferred or waived, and the adviser couldn’t transfer classes from other departments. Prows went from advisor to advisor, and each one told him something different.
“The curriculum at the institution is governed by the faculty,” says Administrative Advisor Nancy Singer.
“If you’re bringing in experiences from other places that cannot be clearly evaluated in the transcript evaluation office, then they will go back to the faculty for them to do.”
The Incoming Transcripts Office evaluates each student’s transcript and looks at which courses are required for each program or degree he/she is interested in. From there, they determine what classes the student needs to take.
Students transferring to a specific program need to be aware that their credits may not transfer or be waived.
The Incoming Transcript Office encourages students to be proactive. They send out e-mails and notifications to the student to help them in the process.
“Be involved with the process,” says Miera, “and once you have that notification or something doesn’t feel quite right, follow up on it.”
From a graduate student’s perspective, transferring can be a difficult and frustrating task. Prows is one of several who have either given in or given up on trying to get their credits to count at SLCC.