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Articulation Committees' Essential Role in a Successful Transfer System

Within the BC Transfer System, smooth student mobility between institutions is facilitated by all members. Articulation committees play a critical role in that process.

The BC Transfer System currently has 38 member institutions. These include all of the province’s public post-secondary education institutions, two out-of-province institutions (Yukon College and Athabasca University) and several private institutions approved to participate through a provincial quality assessment process. Within the BC Transfer System, smooth student mobility between institutions is facilitated by all members. Articulation committees play a critical role in that process.

Articulation committees are formed around specific disciplines, subjects, or programs. The members of articulation committees are representatives from each BC Transfer System member institution that offers courses or programs in the relevant subject. Usually the representative is a faculty member involved in designing, delivering, and/or administeringthe relevant courses or programs. There are 66 articulation committees currently recognized by BCCAT. These committees represent academic programs (e.g., Philosophy, Math, English), applied and professional programs (e.g., Adult Education, Tourism Management), vocational, trades and technical programs (e.g., Drafting, Automotive Service Technician, Welding) and Adult Basic Education programs.

The primary purpose of articulation committees is to expand educational opportunities for students by facilitating transfer of courses or credits between institutions. Articulation committees normally meet once a year to share information and to engage in discussions related to curricular matters, particularly those affecting student mobility. For articulation committees in technical, vocational, and preparatory fields, these discussions often centre on provincial curricula and shared objectives. The discussions of articulation committees in academic and professional disciplines often focus on course equivalencies and transfer relationships.

Transfer credit agreements for specific courses or programs are not usually negotiated at articulation committee meetings. These agreements are reached through discussions between the participating institutions and/or through requests made through the Transfer Credit System (TCS), which is used to formalize and record completed transfer credit agreements. The aim of the articulation committee meeting is to generate common understandings and to share information regarding course objectives/outcomes, teaching methodologies, and other relevant issues. Articulation committee meetings foster collaborative and collegial relationships among disciplinary colleagues throughout the system. Committees will often discuss current and potential transfer problems and ways that they might be addressed. In addition, meetings provide an opportunity for institutions planning curriculum or program changes to give advanced notice of these so that institutions with relevant transfer credit agreements can decide how
best to respond.

All institutions offering a particular program or set of courses are expected to send an appropriate representative to meetings of the relevant articulation committee. The cost of the representative’s attendance is borne by each institution. The successful functioning of articulation committees depends on the ability of each representative to provide effective liaison between his/her own department, the committee, and other institutions. It is important, therefore, that institutions select as their representatives individuals who are experienced members of their departments and who are well informed regarding matters of transfer and articulation.

Inter-institutional credit transfer is a key element of the BC post-secondary system. Credit transfer provides students with opportunities for mobility and for efficient credential completion. At the same time, each BC Transfer System member institution is autonomous in establishing its own admissions policies, curricula, academic standards, and credit equivalencies. Articulation committees provide an essential link among autonomous institutions and, as such, these committees are a critical factor in the smooth functioning and success of the BC Transfer System.