Wayne State recognized by Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society for exemplary transfer pathways

PTK Honor Roll sealDespite the challenging times, there is good news to share: Wayne State University is one of only 122 four-year schools in the nation and three in Michigan named to the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society (PTK) 2020 Transfer Honor Roll in recognition of the dynamic pathways it has created to support transfer students and help them succeed. This is the third time the university has received the honor.

PTK considers each school's admissions and recruitment practices, cost of attendance, campus life and peer reviews as well as the strategies colleges are taking to support and enroll transfer students.

Leading the effort at Wayne State is the Transfer Student Success Center (TSSC) in Educational Outreach. The TSSC oversees articulation agreements on behalf of the university, manages community college partnerships and programs including Wayne Advantage-Macomb, and provides concierge service to transfer students learning how to navigate Wayne State's system, whether they are coming from a community college or another four-year institution.

Student ambassadors in the transfer center
Transfer Student Ambassadors Nicole Saez (left),
Louise McKenzie, Jessica Friend and Kevin Papuga

The TSSC staff, led by director Michael Quattro and manager Ranae Hamama, includes four student ambassadors, all of whom are transfer students. Ambassador Jessica Friend transferred from Muskegon Community College as an undergrad and now is pursuing a master's in occupational therapy. She says the help she received from the TSSC during the process was invaluable.

"When I was looking to transfer, they got back to me so fast," she says. "Being all the way across the state, I wasn't able to come in for face to face meetings, so it was so helpful to have someone respond to me quickly."

Now she provides that same assistance.

"Sometimes students will just tell us they're feeling overwhelmed, so we'll invite them to hang out with us in the lounge," she says. "We want people to understand we know what they've been through. We're not just talking to these people from a position as an employee, we've transferred, we've gone through the process and we can reach out. Our help isn't limited to any one particular thing.

"My proudest moment was being able to help someone from my own major transfer in and coach and mentor them along the way. It meant a lot to be involved in that process."

Ahmad Ezzeddine, associate vice president for educational outreach and international programs, is proud of the service the university provides to this key group of students.

"More than half of our Fall 2019 graduates were transfer students, and that demonstrates the success that students have when they transfer to Wayne State," Ezzeddine says. "We try to provide everything that they need, from academic support to social opportunities such as the Game Nights in the TSSC Lounge, and Study Buddy Mondays. We want transfer students to feel connected and know they have a valuable place here. And of course, our outreach and support to transfer students are continuing virtually during this crisis."

Although the university is not offering in-person classes or services right now, the TSSC team is providing virtual help to students. A new live chat feature on the website lets students talk to a team member in real time during regular office hours, and remote advising sessions can be scheduled at tssc.youcanbook.me/. And, there's always email: transfer@wayne.edu.

"The Transfer Honor Roll reflects the growing importance of recognizing and responding to the needs of transfer students," PTK President Lynn Tincher-Ladner said. "This award is given to four-year colleges and universities with proven outcomes for transfer success. They are the best at providing a supportive and smooth transition from community college - equating to increased rates of bachelor's degree attainment for transfer students."

The Transfer Student Success Center promotes the success of transfer students from initial interest through graduation. Follow us on Twitter @WSUTSSC or visit tssc.wayne.edu.

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