King University and Walters State Community College announced the signing of a reverse transfer agreement between the institutions during a news conference held Monday, Sept. 23. The announcement was made at the Walters State Community College in Morristown.
The reverse transfer program will be available to students who have transferred to King University from Walters State prior to the completion of their associate degree program.
“The reverse transfer creates a mechanism to send information to Walters State from King so those students who first attended Walters State can be awarded their associate degree through remaining course requirements completed at King,” stated Dr. Matt Roberts, chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs for King University.
Upon transfer to King University, students who have completed a minimum of 21 semester hours toward their associate degree at any Walters State location will be eligible for the reverse transfer program.
“Reverse transfer is a great opportunity for our students,” said John Harr, associate dean for Academic Affairs and campus dean for Knoxville at King University. “The student earns another credential, and retention rates are higher for students who receive an associate degree through reverse transfer.”
King University and Walters State Community College have partnered for years in helping students attain their baccalaureate degree. Since 2009, King has offered classes on Walters State’s Morristown and Sevierville campuses. The existing articulation agreement between the two schools is designed to ensure a seamless transition for students moving from community college to university.
“The goal of the Tennessee Complete College Act of 2010 and Governor Haslam’s ‘Drive to 55’ initiative is to increase the number of Tennesseans with college degrees,” said Dr. Wade McCamey, president of Walters State. “This agreement with King University will greatly enhance our collective efforts to meet this very important goal by improving the retention and graduation rates of students.
“Earning an associate’s degree is an important educational milestone and credential that enhances a student’s marketability in the job market,” said Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president for Academic Affairs at Walters State.
“This partnership will give our students the opportunity to complete their associate’s degree while earning a four-year degree,” Campbell also said.
According to a June 2011 article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, “Reverse Transfer Programs Reward Students and Colleges Alike,” authors Donna Ekal and Paula M. Krebs stated, “Up go the graduation rates at the community college, up goes the self-esteem of the newly credentialed student, and up goes the retention rate at the university: It's the ultimate win-win situation.”
According to the Tennessee Higher Education Commission’s 2012 Articulation and Transfer Report, among private institutions in Tennessee, King currently ranks number one in the receipt of transfer students from community colleges and number three in the total number of transfers received.
In a January 2013 news release, Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam commented on his new higher education initiative, Drive to 55.
“Over the past six months, I’ve spent a lot of time learning from experts in our state and across the country about the challenges we face in higher education,” Haslam said. “Only 32 percent of our state’s adult population has a post-secondary degree, but if we are going to have a workforce that’s job-ready, we need to be at 55 percent by 2025. The conversation needs to be about K (kindergarten) to J with the ‘J’ meaning jobs.”
“King has always enjoyed a wonderful working relationship with Walters State,” added Roberts. “That spirit of cooperation continues with our reverse transfer agreement. As a result of the agreement, Walters State will see an increase in its graduation rate; King should see its retention rate increase, and our students will earn a valuable credential on their way to the completion of a bachelor degree. Also, this agreement will not only provide for an exceptional education for students, but it will improve economic development for the region.”
In the Picture: Walters State Community College and King University signed one of the first reverse articulation agreements between a public community college and a private university in the state. From left are Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president of academic affairs at Walters State; Dr. Wade B. McCamey, president of Walters State; Dr. Gregory D. Jordan, president of King University; and Dr. Matt Roberts, chief academic officer and dean of academic affairs for King University.