Interim President Donald Christian said he and leaders at the six community colleges within a 45 mile radius of SUNY New Paltz are cooperating and “reactivating” an organization to better address transfer students’ academic performance.
“About 48 percent of our new students are transfers, which is third or fourth highest in the whole SUNY system,” said Christian. “We also have the highest retention of any SUNY campus of transfer students for the second year. I shared that with them as a way of indicating that their successes are our successes and vice versa and we want to keep that going.”
The organization, called the Mid-Hudson SUNY Alliance, aims to “mainline and facilitate” the progress of those students who transfer from one of the community colleges. There is a level of cooperation among the institutions to prepare transfer students and to get them on the same academic level as their New Paltz, all four-year counterparts.
“We talked about ways in which we might develop special programs in which students are admitted as freshmen jointly to the community college and to New Paltz, spend their first two years at the community college, but have advising or summer experiences here and build a different connection to the institution,” he said.
Christian said he wants transfer students to move through their programs successfully.
Meanwhile, one student that transferred to New Paltz felt that her experience at a two-year community college was “challenging.”
“[Community Colleges] are now overflowing with people that cannot afford to go to four-year colleges or can’t find a job without an education, that to be able to find a parking spot I would have to park on the grass, along with dozens of other people,” said third-year psychology major and Westchester Community College transfer Daniela Granzo. “The resources were minimal and scattered.”
Granzo said that some of the problems have followed her to New Paltz.
She said SUNY “claimed” that all of her credits would transfer automatically, but that she’s still “waiting on credits to be accepted.” Granzo said she had to speak with several different department chairs to make this happen.
Moreover, Christian stressed that a system could be created that would patch together faculty at New Paltz and the six community colleges in a network that would offer a potential online course. The reason behind this is to bridge the gap between those second-year potential transfers and second-year students at New Paltz.
Still, Christian said this partnership between New Paltz and community colleges is also to “support regional economic development.”
“The more we can educate students within the region, the more likely they are to stay here, take jobs or create jobs and help build our regional economy, which we all depend on,” he said.
The community colleges in the Mid-Hudson Alliance include Ulster, Orange, Dutchess, Rockland, Sullivan and Columbia Greene.