University of Massachusetts Boston Classroom


Strategic Initiatives

MassTransfer Pathways

Overview

MassTransfer is a collaboration between the Commonwealth's community colleges, state universities and the University of Massachusetts. System-wide resources and policies allow for students to transfer seamlessly, stay on track, and earn a bachelor’s degree on time. MassTransfer policies seek to recognize the time and effort of students by ensuring their credits transfer between public institutions.

Contact

Elena Quiroz-Livanis
Chief of Staff
Assistant Commissioner for Academic Policy and Student Success 
(617) 994-6909
equiroz@dhe.mass.edu

Duration

2012 – Present

Related Data

 

 

Target Populations
  • Low-Income
  • POC
  • African American
  • Latinx
DHE Responsibilities
  • Completion
  • Transfer
  • Retention
Partnerships

Multiple Campuses

Background

In 2008, the Board accepted the final report from the Commonwealth Transfer Advisory Group, which included a series of recommendations like the creation of the MassTransfer policy. A year later,  the Department of Higher Education launched the MassTransfer website and efforts were focused on implementing the new policy. In 2012, community colleges began to work on segment-wide course equivalencies and the Legislature later funded this work through the Higher Education Innovation Fund, formerly know as the Performance Incentive Fund. The goal of this work was to further ease the process of transfer among Massachusetts public colleges and universities governed by the MassTransfer policy, which currently maps equivalencies at the program level (full transfer of credit between linked associate’s and bachelor’s programs) and at the general education level (full transfer of credit for a defined set of core requirements accepted at all campuses).

A2B (Associate to Baccalaureate) Pathways builds on the work of the Common Course Numbering initiative. It was developed by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education in close collaboration with the 29 public campuses, with the goal of going beyond the simple cataloguing of courses and increasing student success.

The basic approach undertaken in creating A2B Pathways among the public institutions of higher education in the Commonwealth relies on three distinct components that build upon each other. These three components consist of the following:

  1. Identify the foundational courses for each discipline. Foundational courses are those offered amongst the community colleges, state university, and University of Massachusetts campuses that are made of the core coursework that is recommended for students to complete during their first two years of study in a given discipline. After the courses have been identified, faculty develop a list of essential core topics that need to be covered in order for the course be part of a statewide equivalency, therefore making it eligible for transfer across the Commonwealth amongst public higher education institutions.
  2. Transfer representatives and faculty work with DHE staff to build a pathway map that lists the sequence of courses that make up the first 60 credits in a particular major. These should include the foundational courses that arise from Step 1. Then, the 60-credits are mapped backed to the community colleges. The information gleaned from the first two steps of this exercise will allow DHE to construct a web-based portal for students to immediately track the academic pathways, by discipline, from the two-year to four-year institution. Pathways are reviewed every two years to ensure the foundational courses and content are still relevant to a students’ postsecondary studies.
  3. The beginnings of a dialogue, within the discipline and across our public institutions, about the learning outcomes a student should meet in the foundational courses as students progress through their first two years of study. This brings a depth and rigor to the discussions that go beyond identifying foundational courses and their topics, creation of transfer pathways, and listing of credits.

For more information about this initiative, read DOC Creating a Unified System of Transfer for the Commonwealth.

Timeline & Materials

Stage Cycle I Pathways Cycle II Pathways Cycle III Pathways Cycle IV Pathways
  Biology, Chemistry, Economics, History, Political Science, and Psychology Business, Computer Science, Communication and Media Studies, Criminal Justice, Early Childhood Education, English, Liberal Arts, Mathematics, Sociology, STEM Metamajor in Natural and Physical Sciences Art, Education, and Engineering Nursing and Human Services/Social Work
MassTransfer Pathways Fall Conference with Faculty Representatives and Transfer Professionals Fall 2014
(Session Notes)
Fall 2015
(Session Notes)
Fall 2016
(Session Notes)
Fall 2018
(Session Notes)
MassTransfer Pathways Convenings by Discipline - Develop Statewide Equivalencies for Foundational Courses Spring 2015
(Session Notes)
Spring 2016
(Session Notes)
Spring 2017
(Session Notes)
Spring 2018
(Session Notes)
60-Credit Pathways Posted on MassTransfer Pathways Website Fall 2016 Fall 2017 Fall 2018 Fall 2019
Review (every two years) Fall 2017
(Session Notes)

Spring 2018
(Session Notes)
 Spring 2019