James B. Dworkin

Indiana's college and university faculty and administrators know the tremendous investment of time and money that our students undertake to earn their degrees.

We understand how important it is for them to graduate in a timely fashion so they can enter the work force and begin their careers.

That is why Indiana's public institutions of higher education created a framework for the Statewide Transfer General Education Core following the enactment of Senate Enrolled Act 182 (2012) to help ensure that students at our state colleges and universities who transfer from one state college to another are better able to maintain their progress toward graduation. Work is in progress to bring independent and private schools on board as well.

This legislation ensures that students who successfully complete an approved general education program at any of Indiana's state institutions may transfer their qualifying coursework to any other state college or university as a block of 30 credit hours to apply toward that school's general education core requirements. This includes the general education credits earned through a high school concurrent enrollment program or an Advanced Placement Test.

Prior to this, students who transferred between state universities risked losing some of the general education credits that they may have earned and, in some cases, ended up "starting over" at their new schools.

The Statewide Transfer General Education Core is based on skills and abilities considered to be the foundation of further study. This core of courses also helps professors know that incoming transfer students are up to speed and ready to compete in class.

Students can guide their academic choices with course information posted online in the Core Transfer Library, a list of about 90 primarily general education courses and their equivalents at each college or university. If students transfer before completing the Statewide Transfer General Education Core, the Core Transfer Library ensures that these courses count at the new institution

These common general education courses are meant to be introductions to the inquiry skills used in every discipline, whether it be Early Childhood Education or Mechanical Engineering. The common courses not only transfer knowledge to a new generation of students, but also introduce them to essential issues that face our society and world.

These common courses also focus on skills that are highly valued by employers, including written and oral communication, working effectively in teams, decision-making, and critical thinking and analytical reasoning.

Each year, students at every school in the state decide to transfer and pursue degrees elsewhere. At Purdue University-North Central, 28 percent of our undergraduate students transferred here from elsewhere and 34 percent of our 2015 spring graduates transferred in to PNC.

It is a tremendous benefit for students to have the freedom to find the university and program that's right for them and be able to stay on track to graduate on time. Indiana's common framework for general education provides consistency across the state. Thus, a common core education serves two primary purposes.

First, it helps to ease a student's transfer between colleges without the loss of credits or time, which is an efficiency function.

Second, a common core helps to ensure that all students have basic knowledge of the common themes that shape our society and the skills that are needed for careers and informed citizenship, which is what we refer to as general education.

These two benefits are good for every student, our state and our society.

James B. Dworkin is Chancellor at Purdue University-North Central.

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