Loopholes for transfers might close

By Claudia C. Curry

The Council On Instruction might recommend closing loopholes that allow some transfer students to skip several of NIU’s general education requirements.

Sue Doederlein, assistant dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, presented a study at COI’s 500th meeting which used the transcripts of 126 transfer students to compare their general education backgrounds with those of four-year NIU students.

The study’s outcome showed that for the 1988 spring semester only two out of the 126 students met general education requirements.

The study showed the only requirement which was met by all 126 students was English 103. Nine students did not take English 104, 17 students were missing the COMS 100 requirement and 66 students had not had a course that fulfilled the NIU mathematics requirement.

Also, 20 students failed to meet the social sciences requirement, 72 students in the sciences, 73 in the humanities, and 77 percent were missing the interdisciplinary requirement.

The students were admitted under the community college compact which allows students with an Associate of Arts or an Associate of Sciences degree to be granted guaranteed admission to NIU, Doederlein said. Students admitted under the compact are not required to meet general education requirements unless they are prerequisites for upper-level classes, she said.

Doederlein said, “For the 1988 spring semester, the only transfer students admitted into NIU’s LA&S were those with either an Associate of Arts degree or an Associate of Sciences degree from any Illinois community college.

“The College Curriculum Committee is proposing that NIU should admit AA degree students and AS degree students only if they also meet NIU core competency requirements and distributive requirements,” Doederlein said.

Ed Harris, professor of business education and administrative services, said, “What we are really doing is cheating the transfer students which are admitted under the community college compact because they get away with not taking all our general education classes.

“The one thing we can do is find where all the loopholes are in the system and then close them and get rid of them. We have to look internally before we start to look at the community colleges’ programs.”

Assistant Provost Lou Jean Moyer said, “I would be happy to share this study with APAS (Admissions Policies and Academic Standards), and I would definitely like to discuss this at the next meeting. What we need is information and possible steps and ideas from COI members so that we can make a proposal.”

Doederlein said, “The process goes to APAS, and then if they approve of the proposal, it goes on to University Council for ratification.”

“We have had some community college AA and AS degree transfer students at NIU who do exceptionally well here, but what we are doing now with the current admissions policy is offering two separate and unequal educational processes.

“My concerns are with those students who have no classes in the humanities or social sciences because they are missing out on a major part of our educational process,” she said.

“We started the studies because our impressions were that there would be significant differences in the background education of four-year NIU students and community college transfer students. However, the results were much more significant than I expected. It was very staggering,” Doederlein said.

The study has not been done in other colleges at NIU, but Doederlein said, “I would be surprised if there was a significant difference in the study’s outcome in other colleges at NIU.”