New degree aims to streamline transfer process
Three departments offer opportunities for specific majors
Contra Costa College is just beginning to offer the new associate degree for transfer, which was created by the state Legislature in 2010.
"We are definitely a little behind," Vice President Tammeil Gilkerson said. "We're finally beginning to catch up though."
CCC currently offers three transfer degrees. The degrees offered are in administration of justice, communication studies (speech) and physics. Gilkerson said the college is attempting to create an additional 13 transfer degrees.
English professor Joy Eichner-Lynch said that the English department had put together a proposal for a transfer degree, but it was rejected. The English department is currently attempting to create a degree proposal that will be met with approval, she said.
The degree was created by Senate Bill 1440, which was introduced by state Sen. Alex Padilla as a way to allow students a faster means of transfer.
"It still requires the same number of units as an associate degree," Gilkerson said. "Before there were classes required for transferring that were not required to get your A.A. The new degree lets students get their transfer requirements done while earning a degree."
The bill is an attempt to homogenize community colleges across the state. Gilkerson explained that, in the past, community colleges had a wide array of names and descriptions for what was ultimately the same course.
The Academic Senate for California Community Colleges helped create a course identification numbering system (C-ID) in order for students to identify similar courses at any given campus. Colleges are required to make their transfer degree courses identifiable by a C-ID.
Sherry Diestler, CCC's speech department chairperson, said, "The C-ID is meant to make sure that wherever you get your degree, it has the same meaning."
Diestler said because of the C-ID requirement her department has to go through their course offerings again to make sure the degree is still state certified.
The new degree requires community colleges to partner with what the bill describes as "local" CSUs. When a college creates their transfer degree, it guarantees the student completing that degree a spot in a "local" CSU.
Gilkerson said the local CSUs that CCC will feed into are San Francisco State and Cal State-East Bay.
In order to achieve the new degree, students must maintain a 2.0 GPA, as well as complete the 60-unit requirement for transfer.
The degree further aids students in that it limits the number of units a CSU can force a student with a transfer degree to take. When a student transfers to a CSU with a transfer degree, that student will enter as a junior, with only 60 units left to earn their bachelor's degree.
Departments at CCC are using other departments to round out their transfer degree offerings, Diestler said. She said that the communication studies degree also requires a class from the journalism department.
The requirement that students only achieve a 2.0 GPA at their community college may not adequately prepare them for CSU level courses.
"It depends entirely on the teacher," Diestler said.
She explained that at CCC, the speech department makes sure to hire teachers that also have an English degree, to make sure that students taking speech courses also receive preparation in other ways.
"I've heard of other schools that don't require students to outline, or write the couple thousand words that are basically mandated," Diestler said.
The website adegreewithaguarantee.com allows students to search for community colleges that offer transfer degrees that meet their specific needs.
The website allows students to search for a college by a specific degree offered, or to search for specific colleges and see what degrees that campus offers.
Where CCC currently only offers three transfer degrees, sister colleges Los Medanos College and Diablo Valley College offer many more.
LMC offers 13 transfer degrees at the moment, including psychology, history and theater arts. DVC offers 18 different transfer degrees, including mathematics, geology, early childhood education and English.
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