C-ID, SB 1440, and TMC – Frequently Asked Questions

Vice President and C-ID Project Director

Now that draft transfer model curricula (TMC - note that TMC refers to both individual examples of transfer model curricula and to the collection of transfer model curricula as a whole) are available on the Course Identification Numbering System website (C-ID; www.C-ID.net), the need to be explicit about the relationship between C-ID, Senate Bill 1440 (Padilla, 2010), and TMC is increasing. While there are many elements of the implementation of SB 1440 that are unknown, there are many things that we do know about the roles to be played by C-ID and TMC. The questions answered below reflect questions that have arisen in the course of TMC review and general questions received from the field.

Each TMC is an effort to respond to the creation of a community college “associate degree for transfer” in a coordinated statewide manner. Once finalized, each TMC will delineate a curriculum that, if adopted, provides a community college with a fast-tracked approval process (community college degrees must be approved locally and by the Chancellor’s Office) – and also provides a structure to the degree that has been developed and vetted by intersegmental discipline faculty. SB 1440 effectively makes a community college degree one mechanism for transferring, with priority, to the CSU. This legislation establishes a community college degree as the major preparation for transfer and prohibits the CSU from requiring students to repeat “similar” courses – and caps the units required by the CSU at 60 semester units (all references to units are semester units, for simplicity and consistency). The community colleges provide 60 units of the baccalaureate degree; the CSU provides the “finishing” 60. Note that there is a stated exception for “high unit” majors – but this has not been worked out. What has been clarified, at this time, is that “high unit” will be determined by the total units required at the CSU – the CCC degrees cannot exceed 60. While our degrees must be designed to consist of no more than 60 units, the CSU will continue to use and apply units about 60, as appropriate.

The Academic Senate will add to the list of TMC and provide additional information as it becomes available. Please see our website at www.asccc.org for updates.

  1. In order for a community college to adopt TMC, must their courses align with the C-ID descriptors and be submitted to C-ID?

    No. At this time, C-ID only has finalized descriptors in five disciplines and it would, therefore, be impossible to ask this of colleges. As C-ID’s work moves forward, C-ID designations will aid students who are moving between community colleges. If most community colleges have degrees based on TMC, students who move from one college to another will have an easier time completing a 1440-based degree, if that is their intention.
  2. Why are there upper division courses listed in some of the TMC?

    All TMC should reflect the courses required for major preparation at a CSU. If there are “upper division” courses listed in any TMC, this is because those courses are lower division at one or more CSUs. Given that community college offerings generally reflect the requirements of the schools that they feed into, a course that is upper division at one CSU may very well be articulated as major preparation at another.
  3. If a community college can’t offer all of the required courses in a given TMC, does this mean a 1440 degree can’t be offered by that college in the TMC?

    No. A college in such a circumstance could choose to develop the necessary course and delay the development of that degree until such time as the course is available. Sensitivity to local limitations has been encouraged in the development of all TMC, but there will be instances where a community college simply can’t support a course for the TMC. While the mechanisms for approving non-TMC 1440 degrees have not been established, it is expected that this will be possible. Efforts will also be made to draft descriptors for courses that might fill a need in multiple disciplines – possibly creating a solution for the college that can’t support a given course.
  4. Most community colleges offer broad “areas of emphasis” that allow a student to take what they need for a variety of majors. If these degrees conformed to the other elements of 1440, couldn’t they fill the need for an “associate degree for transfer”?

    It would depend. If an area of emphasis is defined enough so as to ensure student preparation for one or more specific majors, maybe. But an area of emphasis that is so unstructured that it effectively is a unique degree for every student would not prepare a student for any given major at the CSU. The only exception would be a major that universally requires no lower division major preparation. 1440 grants a student access to a major based on the degree completed at the community college – not the behavior of an individual student. This is a departure from how the system has always operated.
  5. Does a CSU have to count all of the courses in an associate degree for transfer towards the CSU degree? In other words, does a CSU have to make all the courses in the TMC for a given major “work” in their major?

    No. This is not LDTP where the CSU was obligated to make certain courses “work”. Units in the TMC that are not counted towards the CSU major would be lower division elective units.
  6. Given that units vary for some courses across our colleges, a 60-unit major at one community college might be a 62-unit major at another. Given these variations, may a “1440 degree” exceed 60 units?

    No. The language in the legislation is very clear. Degrees that are developed in response to SB 1440 must not exceed 60 units. Students may, of course, take additional units beyond the required 60 – and, if those units are applicable to their course of study at the CSU, they will be used. While it is certainly preferable for students in “highly sequenced” majors (physics and chemistry, for example) to take more units at the community college, our degrees can’t exceed 60 units.