Feb 242004
Authors: Amy Resseguie

Certain general education courses are now guaranteed to transfer

to any public two-year or four-year college or university in

Colorado, due to a newly instituted program by the Colorado

Commission on Higher Education.

A bill passed in 2001 created a committee to develop the

statewide guaranteed transfer program in order to assist students

in transferring from one Colorado school to another, and to

streamline the general education requirements throughout the state,

said Joan Ringel, spokesperson for the CCHE.

While the statewide program does not affect the general

education requirements of an individual school, such as CSU’s

All-University Core Curriculum, it does attempt to remove some

transfer barriers, according to the CCHE Web site,


After comparing general education requirements at schools across

the state, the commission established a list of more than 300

courses in 11 categories such as mathematics, literature and

humanities, history and physical and life sciences.

If a student completed any of the approved courses offered by

their school in the spring of 2003 or later, with a grade of C

minus or better, those courses are guaranteed to transfer as

fulfilling general education requirements at any other school in

the state, rather than possibly transferring only as elective

credits or not at all.

The commission established criteria for each subject area, and

colleges and universities could then submit their own general

education courses for approval, based on those criteria.

“The idea is that if you take English at a community college or

the (Colorado) School of Mines, you know the curriculum is the

same, even if the syllabus is a little different,” Ringel said.

CSU currently has 19 courses approved for guaranteed transfer in

seven out of the 11 categories. In comparison, the Colorado

Community College System offers 55 courses in all 11 categories,

Fort Lewis College in Durango also has courses approved in 11

categories, and the University of Northern Colorado fulfills


The University of Colorado-Boulder’s and Colorado Springs’

campuses cover seven categories each, and CU’s Denver campus covers


The categories that CSU does not have courses approved for are

history, economic and political systems, geography and introduction

writing course.

“Because we’re a four-year institution we don’t have that lower

level of (composition),” said Provost Kevin Oltjenbruns. “We simply

don’t teach them.”

As for the other categories, Oltjenbruns said CSU submitted

courses for approval.

“Our faculty … really, in fact, thought they would meet the

criteria and be passed,” she said. “It wasn’t that we don’t believe

in the system or that we didn’t submit everything we had to the


Ringel, however, said CSU’s courses did not meet the established

criteria for approval. “Because CSU’s courses in history and

(political science) are so large … when they were nominated …

the feeling of the committee was that they would not meet the

competency level in writing,” she said.

Ringel and Oltjenbruns both stressed that simply because a

course is not approved for guaranteed transfer, it does not mean it

will not be accepted by another school.

“Our courses do still transfer, even if they’re not state

guaranteed,” Oltjenbruns said. “We’ve never had trouble with

schools denying our classes for transfer.”

Currently, Oltjenbruns does not expect CSU to change the

structure of any AUCC courses in order to seek CCHE approval.

“I think because we have built our core (curriculum) on

competencies ourselves … we don’t want to necessarily alter our

core by wanting to simply get them accepted,” she said.

“If we believed our students were at all in jeopardy by not

having them accepted, then the faculty council might consider

(modifying the courses), but our students are not in jeopardy of

them not transferring,” Oltjenbruns said.

Part of the passed bill said all schools in the state must

publish a list of the approved courses. CSU’s current course

catalogue briefly explains the guaranteed transfer program.

Courses that are approved are designated with a GT (guaranteed

transfer) subcode in the courses of instruction listings. The

catalogue directs students to the CCHE Web site for more


“That basically was all we knew we needed to do,” said Waneta

Boyce, Provost and Academic Vice President in the Curriculum and

Catalogue department, who is responsible for updating the CSU

catalogue. “I’m planning on keeping it the same way unless I get

instructions from the Provost’s Office to change it.”

Ringel said this notation is acceptable, and that “students

should be directed to the commission’s list.”

Associate Registrar Shelly Loomis said the registrar’s office is

“working to put a code on our transcripts to show they are state

guaranteed and we hope to have that done by the spring of


Oltjenbruns said once the university has established a system of

designating the guaranteed transfer courses on student transcripts,

they will add it to CSU’s Web site to include the CCHE list.

“I think what we’ll probably do in the catalogue is … say ‘go

to this Web site,'” Oltjenbruns said. “I think because it changes

so rapidly, we’re going to have to go the Web site route to keep it


However, Oltjenbruns is convinced that the university will make

the list more accessible to students as soon as possible.

“Absolutely we are legally mandated (to publish the list), but

more importantly we just should be doing it for our students,” she

said. “If we have info that they can’t get to, that’s not a good


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