The Lessons of IMPAC

February
2002
Kate Clark, Vice President

Surely by now you've heard about the IMPAC project (Intersegmental Major Preparation Articulated Curriculum), a project of the Intersegmental Commiteee of Academic Senates (ICAS). Literally hundreds of community college faculty have joined their discipline counterparts from UC and CSU to discuss curriculum, and yes, the A&T words: ARTICULATION AND TRANSFER.

The IMPAC project enables faculty who gather at five regional and one statewide meeting to identify issues associated with transfer, to note trends or external pressures upon the discipline, and to seek innovative and collaborative solutions. The IMPAC project seeks to ensure that students are fully prepared for their transfer into the major and that duplication of coursework is minimized, thereby fostering students' success in the four-year institutions.

Faculty's work this year, however, has been augmented by the inclusion of articulation officers who have been assigned to one of the 16 on-going discussions.* At the regional meetings, these articulation officers note variances among perspectives in the regions, ask pertinent questions about problems associated with prerequisites, and provide information about the articulation process: how articulation is coordinated and agreements crafted; how local requirements can be established; how case management approaches can be instituted.

While remarkable progress is being made, and while faculty are forging professional contacts with their discipline colleagues throughout the state, they have also taken to heart a few lessons themselves. Among those lessons are these:

1. that discipline faculty work in partnership with articulation officers and that their mutual respect enables articulation officers to complete their responsibilities and ensures the academic integrity discipline faculty with to see institutionalized through articulation;

2. that the work of counseling faculty is too often maligned, particularly by our transfer partners who have little understanding of the professional status of our counselors who have faculty rank;

3. that the instructional wing and student services wing truly do have as their shared goal the educational development of our students and that working in tandem is more efficient than working at odds;

4. that intersegmental problems require intersegmental responses, and the failure of any one entity to participate incurs the enmity of the others;

5. that efforts to articulate courses across the segments can eased by the common identifying number assigned by the CAN System;

6. that agreements upon courses or major preparation, once articulated, must be readily available to students, faculty, and counseling staff in all segments, on a common data base-ASSIST;

7. finally, that the failure of any one of these supportive mechanisms will impair the ability of the others to function with credibility.

These lessons seem self-evident to those of us in the community college for thom transfer has been a pressing matter. But they have been less evident, perhaps, to my colleagues in my own department, and to our fellow faculty in all three segments who teach geology, or business, or computer science, or chemistry, and whose day-to-day preoccupations have seldom been focused on the frustrations associated with the transfer process. For them to suddenly see the benefits of ASSIST, and the need for UC participation in an improved and revised CAN process seem significant lessons indeed-genuine "ah, ha!" moments. Equally significant is the faculty's new appreciation for the work of articulation officers and the complexity of counseling students uncertain about their major or the institution to which they wish to transfer.

These have been the correlative lessons of IMPAC. To learn more about the IMPAC project or to join our efforts, please visit our Web site at htt://www.cal-impac.org. There you will find notes from regional meetings, names and email addresses of faculty and articulation officers who attended, and links to other resources. Yu may also register there for cost-free attendance at the IMPAC Statewide meeting, April 12-13 at the LAX Sheraton Gateway.

*Disciplines currently under discussion are: chemistry, biology, physics, math, geology, ICS, nursing, agriculture, food science and nutrition, administration of justice, business administration, computer science, geography, engineering, political science, economics.

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