Bemidji State Joins National Conversation on Transfer Student Success

Bemidji State University has been selected to be one of 30 institutions across the nation to participate in an inaugural, one-year conversation on how to best support transfer students.

Founded by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program and the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU) Division of Academic Innovation, the Aspen-AASCU Intensive: Transfer Student Success and Equity project will include two-cohorts for the 2021-2022 year.

Bonner Karger outside Deputy Hall, Bemidji State University

Bonner Karger, director of transfer operations and project leader, said the conversation, a nationwide initiative, will support partnerships between four-year and two-year institutions to advance transfer practices and student success.

To accomplish this goal, Bemidji State will partner closely with the Northeast Higher Education District, a collective of five two-year colleges within the Minnesota System of colleges and universities, for the duration of the intensive, which ends on Oct. 27, 2022. In Fall 2022, NHED will be rebranded as Minnesota North Colleges*.

“Bemidji State is committed to equitable college transfer credit outcomes for all students,” Karger said. “The Aspen/AASCU project will enhance the existing partnership between BSU and the Minnesota North Colleges, and help us develop services and programs that meet the unique educational and workforce needs of our Northern Minnesota home.”

The first Aspen-AASCU Intensive meeting was held on Nov. 18 and Bemidji State President Faith C. Hensrud was in attendance alongside Provost Allen Bedford, Karger, and Dan Voss, BSU’s transfer partnership coordinator.

“Participating in the transfer intensive with our workshop partners at the Minnesota North Colleges allows us to focus both top leadership and transfer team attention on how BSU and Minnesota North can work together to better meet the needs of the widely spread-out regions we serve,” Bedford said.

Voss outside Deputy Hall, Bemidji State University

Voss said the transfer intensive presented a good opportunity to start conversations on how best to support the rebranded Minnesota North Colleges. He also said that transfer students face numerous real and perceived barriers within the transfer process that will be addressed by the intensive’s pilot cohorts.

“The transfer intensive program will help us explore and identify the barriers students face, and provide us the tools we need to address these issues,” Voss said. “Already we have identified the need to strengthen faculty-to-faculty relationships. Mutual trust and respect between college and university faculty will help us tear down numerous transfer barriers.”

By strengthening Bemidji State’s collaboration with college partners in Northern Minnesota, BSU will be better postured to serve all types of incoming students, Bedford said.

“BSU will be better able to understand what people in and near these communities need and how academic offerings at the community college and university level can align to meet those needs,” he said. “I am excited about the impact this alignment will have in the lives of those we serve and on meeting the statewide 2025 Education Attainment Goal.”

*pending the approval of the Higher Learning Commission and the Minnesota State Board of Trustees.