IHCC Insight March 2020

Indian Hills Insight

by Kevin Pink

Information Director, Indian Hills Community College

A couple of years ago, the presidents of Iowa’s 15 community college districts approved so-called transfer majors, discipline-based areas within a division where students can have an increased focus as they look ahead to getting their four-year degree.

At Indian Hills Community College, all students, including those in the Advanced Technology and Health Sciences divisions, take classes in the Arts & Sciences division.  Students can earn an associate of arts (AA) or associate of science (AS) degree in the Arts & Sciences area and many then take their AA or AS degree and transfer to a four-year college or university.

For those who want to obtain a more focused degree prior to transferring they are able to concentrate their studies in one of the transfer majors.  Indian Hills offers those majors in criminal justice, education (elementary, secondary and early childhood), and psychology in addition to an AA degree online.  Over a dozen more transfer majors, including biology, chemistry, history and political science, have been approved or are in the process of being added to that list.

Darlas Shockley, Executive Dean, Arts and Sciences, says, “It’s hoped that these transfer majors will improve student recruitment and success by offering students a structured set of courses that will be of interest and relevant to them.  It has also helped with our academic advising and enhanced the transferability of associate-level courses into aligned baccalaureate degree programs.”

Her division has seen improvements in advising of students, marketing and the sequencing of courses since the addition of the transfer majors, according to Shockley.  “They really do provide a clear pathway for students who plan to transfer to four-year schools,” she adds.

The academic advising gives students greater direction in figuring out the courses they need for an associate’s degree and it makes the transfer process easier.  Courses they may have taken but don’t fit into their transfer plans are eliminated, saving students time and money when they make out their class schedules.

Shockley said the move gives students seeking an AA or AS degree options they didn’t have before and that’s a good thing for them.

If students needed more incentive to persist and get their bachelor’s degree, news from the College Board, the nonprofit testing entity, reports the median annual earnings for those who earn a bachelor’s degree (with no advanced degree) who worked full-time in 2018 was $24,900 more than wages of their peers who held only high school credentials.

And the unemployment rate for people age 25 and older who hold at least a bachelor’s degree has consistently been about half the unemployment rate for high school graduates, according to the College Board.

Every three years the College Board looks at earning and employment patterns among adults in the United States.

At Indian Hills, the momentum is definitely there for continuing to add to the transfer majors list which is positive for IHCC Arts and Sciences students.


(This is a regular column provided by Indian Hills Community College)