Spotlight News

  • 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:

  • REPORT: Competency-Based Assessments

    REPORT: Competency-Based Assessments


    Prepared for BCCAT by J. DeDominicis & B. Zabolotney

    Published July 20, 2020


    This project sought to understand how post-secondary institutions in BC and elsewhere are working with competency-based credentials and assessments in their admission processes. For the purposes of this project, competency-based assessment was defined as a framework to collect evidence of competence, in order to evaluate applicants holistically, i.e., not relying solely on required subject-area grades or demonstration of learning through other academic benchmarks or criteria. The research revealed implications and opportunities for BC post-secondary institutions which can inform next and best admissions practices and policies.

    This project adopted a primarily qualitative design, including interviews and surveys with Registrars, Deans and Directors of Admissions, literature review, appreciative inquiry, participatory research methods, and reflective practices. Over 80% of survey respondents indicated that competency-based evaluation criteria were being used at their institution, in addition to academic requirements, for admission to undergraduate, diploma, and/or certificate programs. Respondents mentioned types of competency-based materials required for applications, in addition to academic transcripts, such as letters of recommendation, written personal profiles, essays, or questionnaires, followed by interviews, portfolios and other materials.

    Interview findings pointed to an inconsistency in the use of the term “competency”. Post-secondary institutions used “non-cognitive”, “competency-based”, “broad-based”, and “holistic” to describe their practices of evaluating students on the basis of criteria beyond their academic transcripts. Some interview participants indicated that programs sought to implement competency-based assessment criteria as a means to diversify the incoming cohort. Representatives of institutions that managed in-house competency assessments reported that their processes were resource-heavy and difficult to scale up.

    A number of exemplary admissions practices surfaced during our interviews, and the study discusses structural and systemic attributes which support such practices.


  • REPORT: Who Decides Transfer?

    REPORT: Who Decides Transfer?

    A Review of the Policies and Practices at BC Transfer System Member Institutions

    by Dr. Fiona McQuarrie, Special Projects Officer, BCCAT

    Published November 2020

    Download/View:    REPORT    

    The purpose of this research was to examine transfer credit decision-making processes at BCTS member institutions, to identify the roles or areas that make decisions on transfer credit requests. This comparison is not intended to be evaluative, but rather to provide contextual information for institutions assessing or revising their own policies.

    We collected publicly available data such as transfer credit policies and calendar copy from the websites of 38 of BCTS’ 39 member institutions. This information is challenging to summarize because of the wide range of variation in processes and participants. The full text of the report provides a more complete and nuanced analysis of transfer credit decision processes across the BCTS.

    The broad outcomes of the analysis indicate that approximately 20% of BCTS member institutions do not explicitly identify the decision-makers and/or participants in the transfer credit decision process. Registrars and program heads are the roles that most commonly have the authority to decide on transfer credit requests. More than one role or area, in either a decision-making or advisory capacity, is generally involved in assessing transfer credit requests.

    The study recommends that institutions have a clearly written and publicly available transfer credit policy that identifies all participants in assessments of transfer credit requests, and that defines each step in the assessment process. This information is important to provide consistency and guidance for students, staff, faculty, and administrators. The study also recommends that an academic representative from a relevant discipline be involved in all transfer credit decisions.

  • REPORT: BC Transfer Students Profile and Performance

    REPORT: BC Transfer Students Profile and Performance

    BC TRANSFER STUDENTS: Profile and Performance Report (2013/14-2017/18)

    Prepared for BCCAT by Plaid Consulting
    Published June 2020

    View/Download:     REPORT    INFOGRAPHIC (4 pages)   VIDEO (8 minutes)

    This report examines transfer student pathways and performance from BC Transfer System institutions into BC's public research-intensive universities: Royal Roads University, Simon Fraser University, Thompson Rivers University, University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, and University of Victoria. On average, transfer students represent about one third of all student population at these universities in a given academic year; and thus are important to these institutions.

    The data from the 2013/14 academic year through to the 2017/18 academic year support the findings of the previous similar reports, which were published for nearly 30 years, with the latest editions completed in 2010 and 2015. These studies compare transfer students’ performance with the performance of students who enter the universities directly from high school (“direct entry students”).

    While the educational journeys of transfer students differ from those of direct entry students in a number of ways, most performance trends seen for direct entry students are echoed in the data from the transfer student population. Transfer students differ demographically: they are older, more often take slightly smaller course load in a given semester, and more often enrol in arts baccalaureate degree programs than their direct entry counterparts. However, the current analysis highlights the continued overall success of transfer students following their transfer to research universities. Their post-secondary success is demonstrated by their course and semester GPA, and degree completion.

  • REPORT: Assessing Sending Institutions

    REPORT: Assessing Sending Institutions

    Outside the BC Transfer System

    By Dr. Fiona A. E. McQuarrie

    Published September 2021

    Download/View:    REPORT    

    At many BC Transfer System member institutions, the assessment of a transfer credit request includes an assessment of the sending institution, to determine whether the sending institution is academically comparable to the receiving institution. 

    This study reviewed the criteria that BC Transfer System (BCTS) member institutions use to assess sending institutions. Of the 39 BCTS member institutions, 21 have specific evaluation criteria for domestic sending institutions, and 16 have specific evaluation criteria for international sending institutions. The evaluation criteria range from short descriptors such as “recognized” and “accredited” to detailed explanations of specific characteristics that the institution and/or course must have in order for transfer credit to be awarded. 

    The  study recommends that:  

    • Each BC Transfer System member institution should define the institutional characteristics that it considers indicators of acceptable academic comparability for sending institutions, in the context of transfer credit. 

    • Each BC Transfer System member should ensure that its policies and procedures for assessing sending institutions align with and reflect the institutional characteristics it has identified. 

    • Each BC Transfer System member institution should clearly communicate to internal and external audiences, on a regular basis, the specific characteristics that sending institutions are expected to possess to be considered academically comparable, for the purposes of granting transfer credit. 

    • BC Transfer System member institutions using external assessments (e.g. association membership, accreditation, transcript evaluation service) to evaluate sending institutions should regularly review the institutional characteristics used by external assessors, and ensure that these align with the institutional characteristics the institution itself has identified as indicators of acceptable academic comparability.   

    • If acceptable institutional characteristics vary at the program level (e.g. if an occupational regulatory body licenses programs at both public and private post-secondary institutions), BC Transfer System member institutions should consider how to accommodate these program-level variations when assessing the academic comparability of sending institutions.