Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Advertisements
Advertisements

Board should reconsider MATC transfer stance

In the April 25, 2006, edition of The Badger Herald, the editorial board expressed concern that the "academic reputation" of UW-Madison is in peril due to an "influx of unqualified entrants" to the university by way of the new Transfer Contract agreement with MATC. I would like to respond from the perspective of a former MATC transfer student, researcher and student advocate.

The UW-Madison Committee on the Transfer Student Experience has found that the academic preparedness of students who transfer to the university from MATC is comparable to that of students who transfer here from all other types of sending institutions, including four-year colleges and universities across Wisconsin and the nation. Research conducted by Dr. Sara Goldrick-Rab and myself reveals that students at MATC who express the intent to transfer to UW-Madison are well prepared to do so.

From my perspective, the true purpose of the Transfer Contract is to ensure that high-ability students from less privileged backgrounds have equal access to this institution. Students who begin their postsecondary education at two-year institutions face struggles rarely encountered by four-year entrants. These struggles are not related to ability or motivation, but to circumstances of birth. Students are much less likely to even attend college if their parents did not attend college, and are otherwise unable to provide their children with the resources, guidance and support needed to prepare for postsecondary studies.

Advertisements

For students from such backgrounds, the Transfer Contract provides the guidance and encouragement they did not receive in the home. Unlike the Connections Program, which your editorial proclaimed to be "a more suitable transfer policy," the Transfer Contract sets standards for admission and expectations of achievement that are far more stringent. These are the same criteria used in assessing the qualifications of all other transfers to the university.

In terms of ability, I consider myself a "typical" MATC transfer student. I am currently completing my doctoral degree in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis. In my eight years as a full-time college student, I have amassed a small cache of academic awards and honors, including induction into Phi Beta Kappa, while working, volunteering and caring for a family.

But I am also a former high school drop out.

I grew up in poverty, in an environment in which going to college seemed as likely as buying a yacht; it was just as difficult for me to imagine one as the other. Even if my mother had seen college as a viable option for her children, the limits of her grade-school education left her unable to guide us in preparing for such a future.

Rather than concerning themselves with imaginary threats to the university's "academic reputation," I would ask that the editorial staff of The Badger Herald address the very real concerns about another aspect of this institution's reputation — as being a place that is unwelcoming to students from underrepresented groups. I would hope that the members of the editorial board recognize the role they have played in contributing to this climate. It is inexcusable that they would oppose the admittance of a population of students based on unfounded and unexplored assumptions made about that group. It seems their tolerance for that "vast cardinal and white tapestry of students" has its limits.

Marjorie A.E. Cook, M.S.
Doctoral student
Department of Educational Leadership & Policy Analysis
2000 graduate (and proud of it), Madison Area Technical College

Advertisements
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *