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February 24, 2023

MDHEWD hosts conference focused on assisting transfer students

Over 120 staff members from more than 30 of Missouri’s higher education institutions gathered Friday at the Harry S. Truman State Office Building for the annual COTA Conference to discuss topics and ideas for accommodating and providing services for transfer students.

The Missouri Department of Higher Education & Workforce Development (MDHEWD) and the Committee on Transfer and Articulation (COTA) hosted the event in person, for the first time since 2020, and brought together their staff members, along with educators and advocates from across the state, for various educational sessions and panel discussions.

COTA encourages Missouri’s higher education institutions to work collaboratively to improve the total transfer process and to develop efficient policies that minimize the loss of course credits.

MDHEWD interim commissioner Leroy Wade highlighted the department's strategic plan during the conference. 

“The overall intent of the plan is to provide pathways and reduce barriers to educational attainment and workforce participation," Wade said. "If providing pathways and reducing barriers doesn’t speak directly to transfer and articulation, I’m not really sure what does."

Dr. Joseph K. Sallustio, senior vice president of Lindenwood Global and University Strategic Enrollment Management at Lindenwood University, provided the keynote address, “A new era of higher education.”

“Transfer students are their own unique group, with their own unique needs, [more] than a regular four-year student that will never transfer who won’t have the same needs," Sallustio said during his keynote address. "When we talk about students, it’s important to qualify or else people who are listening to us get to lump us all together and lump all of our initiatives all together."

The conference, titled “Standing tall for transfer students in Missouri,” featured panel discussions on advising and orientation, admissions and articulation, and Core Transfer Curriculum (CORE 42) and Missouri Reverse Transfer (MRT) program.

Other sessions included a presentation from Cecelia Olivares, director of academic pathways at the University of Missouri, and Missouri State’s Kelly Wood, associate provost for student success, and Justin Johns, associate director of the Academic Advising and Transfer Center.

Karen Solomon, vice president and chief transformation officer at the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), presented “Exploring the shifting transfer landscape from the perspective of an institutional accreditor.”

For more information about the conference, visit eduvents.dhewd.mo.gov/cota-conference/.

Photos from the event are available to download