With the small lull in between the end of travel season and application reading season where transfer life isn’t exciting, I think it’s important to discuss where TAAC started and how we got to where we are. As I mentioned briefly in a previous post, transfer students are commonly referred to as “monsters.” If there isn’t one person specifically designated to handle them, they tend to jump from counselor to counselor or handled with a grunt. Most schools, even middle sized schools, tend to only have one counselor to work with the transfer students.
TAAC began as an informal discussion amongst several transfer professionals. After realizing how useful it was to discuss transfer themes, trends, and resources with other professionals, the group discussed the idea of a monthly meeting. There are very few opportunities for an ongoing dialogue about the transfer field and this seemed to be the perfect outlet! So, more counselors were invited and in May 2011 the first official meeting was held at a coffee house in Media, Pennsylvania. With coffee and scones in hand, it was an instant success! It easily became apparent that more than one transfer professional realized there wasn’t enough “transfer talk” in the area. In that first meeting we shared our concerns and questions about transfers. By the end of the meeting, the group decided that this needed to continue. And TAAC was born.
We began by sharing articles, conference materials, and even did a webinar together and began to appreciate what we were achieving professionally. We then designed a logo, a mission statement and a list serve. We also named a treasurer and a secretary. After meeting for a year discussing the most common transfer themes and trends, TAAC finally discussed the idea of the group’s future. Could we still get out of work on a Friday morning and sit in a coffee shop discussing transfer trends? Seemed like a dream come true. But as a professional, it was a relief; realizing that other schools in the area were going through similar issues helped make it easier. It was one thing to get together and talk but what did our future hold? TAAC decided that we needed to take a next step. We organized bus tours for two year colleges to visit our campuses. We held 3 tours to our 9 universities over several months.
The first was on April 12, 2012. We only had a few attendees but the feedback we received was positive. They enjoyed the campuses, the information, and the conversation. The next two bus tours were more successful and had more attendees. So we continue with this initiative and have another round of bus tours set up for 2014.
With the success of our bus tours, we thought of how we could take TAAC another step forward. Doing bus tours every year wasn’t exactly the most resourceful option. So with our newly realized professional success, we wanted other people to know about us. We presented at DVACROA and PACAC on the need for bridging students from their 2 year school to their new 4 year school. After seeing the success of our presentations, we thought of taking another step forward. This one is much bigger than the last, but hopefully, more rewarding.
The idea of developing a TAAC Transfer Conference had been kicked around by us from time to time but now we were ready to move on it. After much discussion, the format of a one-day conference was agreed upon, with multiple sessions to address the issues of both 2-year college advisors and 4-year transfer counselors. With its hopeful success – on Wednesday, March 19, 2014, mark your calendars! – the TAAC Transfer Conference will become an annual event. And our optimism runs high, as there are many other ideas in development for TAAC to take on. Who knew, two years ago, we’d go from casual conversations over coffee to conference presentations? Guess that’s what comes from too much caffeine.