Guidelines for the Development and Implementation of Associate Degrees for Transfer (ADTs): An Update on the Academic Senate Paper

C-ID Coordinator

In fall of 2013, Resolution 9.01 called for the Academic Senate for California Community Colleges, “in consultation with the Academic Senate of the California State University develop guidelines and/or best practices for the development and implementation of ADTs and report to the body by Fall 2014.”  In response, the ASCCC Executive Committee convened an ADT taskforce to begin work on writing a paper that would outline the processes and procedures involved in interpreting a Transfer Model Curriculum (TMC) and using the TMC to develop an Associate Degree for Transfer (ADT). The need for this paper is well understood, but the writing of the paper has been a challenging process with twists and turns and bumps and bruises along the way.

Twists and Turns

The ADT taskforce made great progress over the summer and now has a working draft of the paper that will ultimately be brought forward to the body for adoption. The paper includes the history of and rationales for the use of TMCs in the implementation of Senate Bill 1440 (Padilla, 2010), an overview of the processes that lead to a TMC, and a discussion of effective practices relating to the review of a TMC and factors to consider when deciding whether or not to develop an ADT.  It continues with the outline of a process for creating an ADT at a campus, including the roles and responsibilities of faculty, articulation officers, curriculum committees, academic senates, institutional researchers, administrators, and curriculum specialists. It also includes a discussion of Chancellor’s Office Templates (COT) with special attention to the timelines for approval of the ADTs as mandated by SB 440 (Padilla, 2012). Additionally, the paper covers critical topics such as student messaging and marketing, reciprocity agreements, and credit by examination policies. Finally, it addresses special considerations including course unit considerations, area of emphasis degrees, IGETC and CSU GE Breadth for STEM, and collaborative programs. As Senate tradition dictates, the paper will conclude with Academic Senate recommendations for establishing effective ADT policies, processes, and practices.

The writing of the ADT paper continues to be a collaborative effort that includes discipline faculty, counselors, articulation officers, and curriculum chairs. The draft paper has also been vetted through the Intersegmental Curriculum Workgroup, which is comprised of CCC and CSU faculty including articulation officers, as well as Chancellor’s Office staff from both the CSU and CCC. Before it is brought back to the ASCCC body for approval, the paper will be submitted to the C-ID Advisory Committee for discussion and input as well as other constituent groups as necessary to ensure that the accurate information and effective practices are included for all areas covered. After many months of work, this document is shaping up to be a useful and complete guide to developing an ADT.

Bumps and Bruises

Although the paper is well on its way to completion, some issues remain that are in need attention. With the goals established by the Board of Governors for ADT creation as well as the legislative mandates called for in SB 440, colleges were and still are primarily focused on submitting ADTs to the Chancellor’s Office. Less consideration has been given to student messaging and marketing, including how best to communicate with students on the benefits of ADTs and the difference between ADTs and local AA/AS degrees. Although the paper includes useful information on specific strategies, not all faculty have engaged in the conversation and shared their experiences. As a result, effective practices for student messaging and marketing of ADTs are not as easily accessible as in other areas of ADT development, and therefore this area of the paper requires further development.

In addition to student messaging and marketing, some questions remain on specific requirements as well as Board of Governor’s and legislative mandates for ADT development.  These questions include the following:

  1. What is the consequence of not achieving the college’s stated Board of Governor’s goals for ADT development?
  2. Does a college have to inactivate its existing degree if it has a transfer degree in the TOP Code and is not able to create an ADT?
  3. Does the existence of a degree with a CTE goal in a TMC TOP Code create a degree-creation obligation?
  4. Do colleges need C-ID approval by June 30th, 2015 for all courses on an ADT that have a C-ID designator or just courses that appear in the CORE and LIST A?
  5. Given that a C-ID determination of “Conditional Approval” or “Not Approved” can be made at any time and, potentially, could happen shortly before the June 30 deadline for approval, will the CCCCO hold harmless colleges that have acted in good faith and permit them additional time to obtain C-ID approval?
  6. What is the consequence of not creating an ADT as required by SB440?
  7. What is the process for modification of an existing ADT?

Because the answers to these questions are still under discussion or investigation, the ADT taskforce has determined that the paper would not at this time be the comprehensive document envisioned by the resolution and therefore has recommended that the Executive Committee delay the presentation of the paper to the body for adoption until Spring 2015. 

This delay is unfortunate indeed, but the ADT Task Force believes it necessary to ensure the accuracy and currency of the paper so that it can be most useful to faculty and colleges in developing ADTs. The task force will continue to work with our colleagues across the state to obtain the best information and practices on ADT development and implementation and will pursue responses to the questions still unanswered. Please feel free to contact either Julie Bruno (jbruno [at] (jbruno[at]sierracollege[dot]edu)) or Michelle Pilati (mpilati [at] (mpilati[at]riohondo[dot]edu)) with any questions or concerns.