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Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Awards

Each year, NISTS recognizes exemplary transfer advocates who are positively influencing policies, practices, programs, and processes to benefit transfer students.


Transfer Champions span a wide range of roles, responsibilities, and functional units, and their important and inspiring work offers a compelling model of action for others striving to affect change on behalf of transfer students. NISTS will honor the Transfer Champion award winners at the NISTS 2021 virtual annual conference, February 23-25, 2021. 


The nomination period has passed. The NISTS 2022 awards process will begin in July.

Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Award

Named for the organization's founder, who has played a significant role in advancing the national transfer conversation, the Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Award is the most prestigious award offered by the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students. Transfer Champions have demonstrated exceptional advocacy and leadership on behalf of transfer students at the state or national level. Throughout their careers, they have significantly improved transfer student access, persistence, and success in areas such as policy, research, or advocacy. Transfer Champions are nominated and selected by the NISTS Advisory Board. (Previous Winners)

Transfer Champion-Catalyst

The Catalyst Award recognizes mid-career professionals who are game-changers in the transfer field. These individuals have worked over time to make a significant impact at the institutional, regional, and/or state level. Awardees demonstrate evidence of leadership, appropriate risk-taking and disrupting the status quo, along with using relevant research and theoretical frameworks to develop programs and services for transfer students. They ensure the sustainability of initiatives by developing staff and using data to make improvements. Generally, these individuals have served in transfer-related roles for approximately ten years. (Previous Winners)

Transfer Champion-Rising Star

The Rising Star Award recognizes individuals who are making important contributions but are relatively new to the transfer field. Awardees create new programming or substantially improve programming that is responsive to the specific transfer student population and shows evidence of success. Rising Stars use best practices and theoretical frameworks to design, implement, and assess their efforts and use resulting data to guide future work. They use their strong communication and collaboration skills to educate others on their campus about transfer students, and they are not afraid to challenge the status quo. Generally, these individuals have served in transfer-related roles for three to five years. (Previous Winners)