Renewing Our Commitment
This will be our only statement, but far from our last action. We will push harder to end the status quo, further educating ourselves and others about institutionalized racism and using our platform to amplify the voices of students and colleagues of color in the name of equity and educational opportunity.
June 3, 2020
It is with deep gratitude, incredible sorrow, and a renewed sense of purpose that I greet you.
Since March, many of you have worked tirelessly under less than ideal circumstances to serve your students. You creatively devised new methods of ensuring transfer inclusivity as your institutions scrambled to change course mid-semester, and your advocacy continues with summer and fall planning. This commitment has inspired us to recognize you not only as transfer champions, but transfer warriors! Thank you!
Warriors are in high demand today as we process recent national events that highlight the institutionalized racism we attempt to mitigate by improving transfer. To our colleagues who are hurting, we see you, we respect you, and we stand with you. We rely on your voices without expecting you to teach us. We value what you bring to transfer, and we support you with the same care and commitment we offer our students.
As you can imagine, conference planning in the age of COVID-19 is filled with unknowns. We are releasing today’s Call for Proposals (CFP) without knowing whether we will be hosting an in-person or a virtual event, if you will have the funds or authority to join us for either version, or how many of you will choose to share your expertise.
As you contemplate your level of engagement in the February conference, allow me to share why NISTS believes now more than ever we must elevate transfer:
Transfer is an unequivocal mechanism for closing racial and income equity gaps in higher education – but only if it is done well, leading to actual transfer and degree completion.
National FASFA completion rates foreshadow fewer low-income students continuing in higher education; therefore, accessible on-ramps for re-engaging these students through transfer are critical.
COVID-19 has created less predictable transfer migration patterns. Inter-institutional partnerships are necessary to address both planned and unexpected transfer to ensure students have accurate, accessible, and timely information to make informed enrollment decisions.
New transfer definitions, such as the extended transient, require the examination of internal support systems and policies to maintain student momentum when moving between institutions.
The deadline to submit a conference proposal is Monday, August 31st. We hope you will lend your critical voice to the collective as we study and learn from our efforts during this period of rapid change. This collegial exchange is the backbone of the annual conference and we will preserve it regardless of how the conference is delivered.
Thank you fighting for the equitable treatment of transfer students.
In health and healing,
Janet L. Marling, Ph.D. Executive Director