Part 4: Chain of Authority
In part one, we had the opportunity to learn about the most important stakeholders in the transfer enrollment policy. At any higher education institution, the chain of command or authority is an important element in the establishment to new policies and/or procedures. By having everyone from different department play an integral role in such policies and procedures, adds to the importance of shared governance. Gallos (2009) points out that a strong and collaborative partnership between faculty and administration helps to bear the heavy load at universities that need all good minds to work together (p. 136). Shared governance is the concept where faculty and administrators collaborate in leading colleges and universities (Del Favero, 2003, p. 906). With the transfer enrollment policy, the president, advisors, and financial aid counselors are three main stakeholders who play a major role in this process and all three must follow a chain of command. It’s important to understand their role, why they are important in this process, and who they follow.
The president is thought of to be at the top of the chain of higher education institutions. Dr. Stephen Joel Trachtenberg highlights The role of the president is to be the captain, keep one hand on the “tiller,” and help the institution move in a positive direction (Laureate Education, Inc., 2010). But, what most individuals don’t know is that, they too, follow a chain of command. Who does the president follow? Essentially, college and university presidents answer to a Board of Trustees or Board of Regents. Ruscio (2017) states that a president reports to the board as the board and not to the trustees individually (p. 27). The president must report back the board on any financial, academic, campus, or community decisions. Budgetary, policy, strategic, direction, legal, personnel, and many other things are just part of an enormous range of obligations that the board oversees (Ruscio, 2017, p. 27). In the role of the transfer enrollment policy, the president must bring this policy to the attention of the board to get their clearance. If the board approves, then the president can go forth with speaking to the provost about further actions. On the flip side, if the board disapproves, the president must meet with the provost to go back to the drawing board. The president’s role in the matter is very important. He/she must be able to answer any questions, respond to any comments, and try to make the best of every situation. When it comes to being a president of a college or university, how you do things matters along with what you do (Ruscio, 2017, p. 29).
Where the president works mainly with the administration of the college or university, advisors work directly with the students. Advisors have the very important role of guiding student through their 4 years. Not only are they there to help students pick courses, understand their 4-year scope, and find academic resources, they must also be there to counsel students. Rhine, Milligan, and Nelson (2000) explain that advisors should serve as contacts for students who have specific questions best addressed by university personnel (p. 451). Student should stay in regular contact with their advisors. When they stay in contact regular with their advisor, they can have the most beneficial path to transitioning into the university they are planning to attend (Rhine et al., 2000, p. 451). Advisors have the duty of answering to either the academic deans or the provost. The academic deans are the ones who know about the major, what courses to take, and other requirement necessary to graduate on time. With the provost, they know about certain policies or procedures dealing with academics. They must all work together in accordance with shared governance. A valuable tool in assisting students achieve a smooth transition is when faculty collaboration among the community college and the 4-year university occurs (Rhine et al., 2000, p. 451). Regarding the transfer enrollment policy, the advisors must make sure that the students can accurately transfer their courses and follow all the mandated procedures with the policy. They must then answer either to the dean when it comes to student who have transitioned successful/unsuccessfully or to the provost for when they have questions regard the overall transfer policy.
Academics are one thing, but finances can be a whole other challenge. Financial Aid counselors have the task of helping students finance their education. Students come to the counselors with questions dealing with financial aid due dates, scholarships, payment plans, loan options, and other things. Financial issues can be a major concern for students and their families (Rhine et al., 2000, p. 449). Most students who transfer to a 4-year college or university have the intention of continuing their education and obtaining a degree. When the odds are not in their favor, this task is especially harder. Some students felt that it was easier to get financial aid at the community college than at the university (Rhine et al., 2000, p. 449). This is where the transfer enrollment policy comes into the equation. By having a certain amount of credits that are transferrable, the cost of tuition could be much cheaper, and students could have a better sense of progression with not having financial issues on their mind. The financial aid counselor must answer to their director, who knows about the financial aid regarding the transfer policy and credits. Student will come to the financial aid counselors with millions of questions and the financial aid director must prepare his/her counselors with knowing the procedures for the transfer enrollment policy and how it applies to the financial aid department. Having a information and support network, from all departments, will help with transitioning when they arrive to campus (Rhine et al., 2000, p. 450).
Transfer students make a tremendous difference in a institutions culture, climate, and community. Bringing more transfer students to Apex State University is of shear and utter importance. By looking at certain factors like faculty influence, institutional culture, and other things, there is a need to increase enrollment rates. The concept of shared governance is needed for this to occur. Tierney (2008) points out that academe would not be academe without shared governance. Without everyone working together, the acceptance of the transfer policy would be applicable. Although Apex State has a developmental culture, the anarchical system by the academic departments are having a major effect and are causing issues where transfer credits are not being accepted. Administration, faculty, staff, and other stakeholders must come together in a collegial, bureaucratic way in order to flip the enrollment rates. With the help of everyone, Apex State University could have more students and become a bright institution where share governance is of importance and learning is number one.