Spotlight News

  • REPORT: Reverse Transfer

    REPORT: Reverse Transfer

    Reverse Transfer

    The Feasibility of Reverse Transfer in the BC Transfer System

    by Dr. Fiona A. E. McQuarrie, Special Projects Officer, BCCAT

    February 2022

    Download/View:  REPORT

    Reverse transfer has been part of the United States post-secondary landscape for more than a decade, in the form of statewide, system-wide, regional, and institutional transfer agreements. Reverse transfer agreements, as structured in the US, allow a college student in an associate degree program who transfers to a university before completing the associate degree to transfer credit “back” to the college, and receive the college’s associate degree while staying enrolled at the university.

    Reverse transfer can benefit students by expanding their educational and career options, and, motivating them to continue their studies. It can also benefit post-secondary institutions by improving credential completion rates.

    The British Columbia post-secondary system has included two associate degree programs, the Associate of Arts (AA) and Associate of Science (AS), since the mid 1990s. This report explores the potential for reverse transfer in the BC Transfer System. The report focuses primarily on the potential for reverse transfer in BC involving associate degrees. However, reverse transfer agreements can also facilitate students’ completion of credentials such as diplomas and certificates.

    The report reviews published research on reverse transfer agreements, and describes the characteristics of reverse transfer agreements in the US. The report reviews the features of BC’s associate degree programs, and then presents data that may indicate student interest in, and demand for, reverse transfer in BC. It provides system-wide and institutional recommendations around the potential for reverse transfer in BC.

  • REPORT: COVID-19 and Transfer

    REPORT: COVID-19 and Transfer

    COVID-19 and Transfer

    A BCCAT Special Report looking at the effects of COVID-19 on transfer and articulation within the BC Transfer System.

    by Dr. Fiona A. E. McQuarrie, Special Projects Officer, BCCAT

    December 2021


    In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in the physical closure of British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions. Courses and programs were moved entirely online, and students, faculty members, administrators and staff all worked remotely. While some programs returned to limited face-to-face instruction in summer 2020, the majority of BC post-secondary programs and operations remained at least partially online until fall 2021. This report, commissioned by BCCAT’s Transfer and Admissions Committee (TAC), assesses the impact of these closures and changes on transfer activity and student mobility within the BC Transfer System (BCTS).

    Full data on BC student mobility from March 2020 to September 2021 are not yet available. Data from the Transfer Credit System, the application and workflow that enables BCTS member institutions to articulate agreements and publish them in the BC Transfer Guide, did not show any unusual increases or decreases in articulation activity during the closures.

    There are five areas in which COVID-related changes may have affected transfer and articulation in BC:

    • changes in course delivery methods;

    • changes in course components;

    • grading;

    • articulation committee meetings; and,

    • student equity.

    Changes in course delivery methods or in course components, such as methods of evaluating student performance, generally did not result in permanent changes to transfer agreements. Some BCTS member institutions implemented temporary changes to grading systems, such as permitting students to receive a P rather than a letter grade; however, these did not seem to cause ongoing difficulties for transferring students. Articulation committees held their annual meetings online in 2020 and 2021; the online format had benefits and drawbacks, but the ease and low cost of attending virtually may encourage committees to consider an online option for future face-to-face meetings. Student equity issues, such as lack of reliable internet access or adequate computer equipment, may not affect student mobility, but may negatively affect students’ academic performance and thus cause challenges for them in future transfers.

    Related reading: Post-Secondary Education COVID Updates

  • Bigger, Better!

    Bigger, Better! is bigger and better than ever!

    The site has undergone considerable expansion and improvement this year, including a major redesign to make it more accessible, adaptive, and response for users.

    What's new?

    • Pan-Canadian & international transfer agreements
    • Adult Basic Education (ABE) transfer search
    • Website redesign for accessibility & adaptivity UX improvements
    • English as an Additional Language (EAL) transfer search

    We invite you to check it out!

    For further details regarding the changes, see this one-page overview.

  • CFP: Micro-Credentials Research

    CFP: Micro-Credentials Research

    CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Micro-Credentials Research

    *DEADLINE: November 21, 2021*

    BCCAT is supporting research for BC's Micro-Credential Framework. In conjunction with BCcampus and the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training, six research projects will survey existing processes in other jurisdictions supporting micro-credential stacking, laddering and transferability; transcription and recognition; quality assurance; prior learning assessment and competencies; and micro-credential registries. The findings will inform recommendations for BC's Micro-Credential Framework in these areas.

    The Call for Proposals regarding these projects is now posted at Submissions must be received by November 21, 2021. Please consider submitting a proposal, or sharing this opportunity with others.
  • 2021 BCCAT Transfer Awards - Congratulations Zena Mitchell!

    2021 BCCAT Transfer Awards - Congratulations Zena Mitchell!

    Congratulations Zena Mitchell!

    We are thrilled to announce that Zena Mitchell (Associate VP, Enrolment Services and Registrar at Kwantlen Polytechnic University) has been selected as the winner of the 2021 Leadership Award.

    This award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated exemplary leadership resulting in a significant and positive impact on advancing the theory and practice of transfer and articulation within the BC Transfer System. Zena is being recognized for her exemplary leadership on advancing learner mobility at Kwantlen and across the province as a whole.

    Read more about Zena and her award...

  • CFP: Contemporary Issues in Student Mobility

    CFP: Contemporary Issues in Student Mobility

    CALL FOR PROPOSALS: Contemporary Issues in Student Mobility

    *DEADLINE: November 15, 2021*

    Join us in our quest to deepen our understanding on credit transfer and student mobility.

    We are inviting faculty, staff, and graduate students from member institutions of the BC Transfer System to submit project proposals for research contracts.

    Click here for further details, including examples of previous Contemporary Issues projects.

  • REPORT: Exploring Students' Motivations for Credit Accumulation

    REPORT: Exploring Students' Motivations for Credit Accumulation


    Prepared for BCCAT by Academica Group

    Published September 2021

    Download/View:    REPORT    

    Building on earlier quantitative BCCAT research assessing number of credits required for graduation (2010, 2020), this study sought to use a qualitative analysis to explore the reasons why students collect more credits than required for their credential(s) and their general feelings towards accumulation of excess credit.

    The results of the literature review showed that students in the United States, Canada, and BC completed more credits than was required for their degree programs. The numbers of excess credits accumulated varied by program, transfer status, and, in some studies, demographic factors. Reasons for accumulating excess credits fell broadly into two categories: individual-level motivations (e.g., curiosity about other subjects, timing of choosing a major, and skills development) and systemic issues (e.g., transfer inefficiencies, advising support, and course scheduling).

    Interviews with nearly 50 UBC baccalaureate students (transfer and non-transfer) revealed that around 70% of interviewees anticipated graduating with credits in excess of their program requirements. Around 80% of transfer students anticipated graduating with excess credits, while 42% of all transfer interviewees reported completing coursework at UBC that duplicated coursework from their previous institution(s).

    Switching programs within UBC (i.e., program transfer, or “swirling”) was less prominent as the cause of excess credits. The reasons for excess credits included prerequisites and courses offered only once per academic year; this was particularly true in science and engineering programs. A significant majority (80%) of interviewees both transfer and non-transfer who had taken courses outside of their program requirements anticipated that competencies they learned in these courses would help them in their planned career.

    Students’ feelings towards excess credits were complicated - close to half of interviewees considered them a waste of time or money, while 39% stated that they could be useful or beneficial. Several less-expected motivations for accumulating excess credits included wanting to increase GPA, a desire to comply with certifications requiring different courses from the program requirements (i.e., CPA), and excess credits earned due to transferring International Baccalaureate high-school credits.

  • Find Your Path: info for students

    Find Your Path: info for students


    BCCAT provides a range of "Find Your Path" resources to support transfer pathway planning for students. They outline basic info about and the BC Transfer System. We invite students, parents, advisors, recruiters, and others to view/download/print these materials for your information - or to inform others within your circle. 

    The viewbook gives a more comprehensive overview of BC's post-secondary transfer system, including the benefits and logistics of transfer, and guidance for students on how to use to map out their own transfer pathways. In addition, it references as the place to go to search, plan, and apply for programs available at institutions across the province.

    For more information about student transfer and BC's remarkable post-secondary transfer network, we recommend:

    • The BC Transfer System: a short, animated video; and
    •  "Transfer Stories": a video series of short stories told by students and others about their own experiences and reflections about transfer in BC.
  • REPORT: Data Governance Policy Models

    REPORT: Data Governance Policy Models


    Prepared for BCCAT by Plaid Consulting

    Published March 2021

    Download/View:    REPORT    INFOGRAPHIC (4-pages)

    This report focuses on data governance at post-secondary institutions and related organizations. Data governance is defined as the formal execution and enforcement of authority over the management of data and data-related assets (Seiner, 2014).

    An overview of data governance at higher education institutions provides detail on elements of data governance, e.g., defined roles and responsibilities of those involved in data governance at a post-secondary institution. The analysis of the goals and motivations of data governance programs revealed that one of the primary motivators for pursuing data governance was from a risk management perspective. Institutions aimed to ensure that institutional reporting is based on consistent, reliable, and trustworthy data. Organizations and institutions with data governance programs were more likely to have clearly defined data governance goals and motivations, e.g., British Columbia First Nations’ Data Governance Initiative aims to empower First Nations citizens through collective data ownership within Indigenous nations.

    The report discusses options for the implementation of data governance frameworks at four levels – from strategic to operational level. For some institutions, a data governance framework can incorporate all the elements of data governance. For others, implementation can start with a pilot project and use existing expertise and committee structures can help to build momentum towards larger data governance initiatives. Data governance is described as an iterative process, and it was common to see initiatives move through more than one structure before implementation.

    The scan of maturity models in the context of Canadian higher education uncovered that data governance is most often practiced informally. Those with formal data governance programs have either implemented their programs recently or are still in the development process. One of the most common themes identified was the need for a shift toward a data-driven culture within the institution or organization. Unlike organizations that work with student data, organizations that use health data are more likely to have developed formal data governance programs.

    An overview of data access and privacy legislation in the context of higher education identifies relevant legislation from British Columbia, such as Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act (BC FIPPA), Private Information Protection Act (PIPA), Personal Health Information Access and Protection of Privacy Act (BC E-Health), and Higher Education Acts. Applicability of Canadian national legislation, legislation at nine other Canadian provinces or territories, several American states, and Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) was also discussed.

    The report concludes with key considerations, insights, and recommendations for higher education organizations and institutions in relation to the data governance programs.

  • REPORT: Micro-Credentials

    REPORT: Micro-Credentials

    MICRO-CREDENTIALS: Trends in Credit Transfer and Credentialing

    Prepared for BCCAT by Joanne Duklas
    Published November 2020


    This report provides insights into current micro-credentialing practices, motivations, and perspectives at Canadian higher education institutions and beyond. The environmental scan, the pan-Canadian survey as well as expert interviews highlighted the need of establishing shared definitions that fit the purpose intended.

    The survey identified a few institutions, including some in British Columbia, that recognize micro-credentials for admission and credit transfer. “Certificates” was the most common term that was used by both the BC and ON respondents when referring to micro-credentials awarded to students.

    Institutional respondents indicated that the top motivator for offering a micro-credential was to support access to future studies. This suggests an opportunity for institutions to align the purpose of micro-credentials for admission, credit transfer, and stackability.

    The report highlights several promising exemplars both from within Canada and internationally, for example, Thompson Rivers University micro-courses, Simon Fraser University’s FASS Forward microcredit courses, Algonquin College’s comprehensive Micro-credentials Framework, and the New Zealand Qualifications Authority’s system.

    Demonstrating quality and future transferability represent fundamental design principles for micro-credentials to be used for admissions and credit transfer. In general, the purpose of a proposed micro-credential should drive its design. An implementation checklist for micro-credential design is provided in the report.

    For a quick overview of key findings, check out the infographic below: