Names and specialties of University of Missouri–St. Louis employees roll quickly off Stephanie Faulkingham’s tongue.
Her list starts with one influential figure, but as the conversation goes on, she cheerfully identifies nearly a dozen other faculty and staff members who enhance her student experience.
With just a few semesters at UMSL under her belt, Faulkingham, a transfer student from St. Louis Community College majoring in psychology, has amassed an extensive network.
Her story does not stand alone.
Marco Pipoly, also a psychology major who transferred from STLCC’s Meramec campus, says he “hit the ground running” upon his transition to UMSL. Similar experiences echo across the university.
“I’ve been so pleased with my entire experience,” Faulkingham said. “I was really intimidated coming in. When I first came to campus, it felt massive, and I was a little overwhelmed. But since then, I’ve had a great experience. The faculty here have just been amazing, and I’ve received fabulous mentorship.”
Used as a way to recognize premier, transfer-friendly institutions, the list names 112 colleges and universities across the country that provide exemplary support to community college transfers. UMSL is one of four institutions in Missouri to make the list.
“Transfer students add an important piece to the fabric of the UMSL community,” said Krystal Lang, director of transfer services and off-campus sites. “Their prior educational backgrounds prepare them for the specialized and challenging academic experiences offered at UMSL. As a whole, the university focuses on assisting transfer students from the earliest stages of their transition until they receive their diploma.”
Phi Theta Kappa evaluated honor roll applications based on scholarship and financial aid offerings, student engagement opportunities, admissions outreach and student support services.
The society’s President and CEO Lynn Tincher-Ladner said the honor roll program reflects the growing importance of recognizing and responding to the needs of community college transfers and promoting and sharing best practices for transfer success.
“Increasingly, students of all ages and achievement levels are choosing the community college, not only as their first step, but also their first choice in the pursuit of a quality, affordable bachelor’s degree,” Tincher-Ladner said. “These students are scholars, leaders and global citizens, and it has been shown over and over that they do as well as students beginning college at a four-year college or university.
“In order to ensure their continued success, the Transfer Honor Roll Program identifies colleges and universities that understand the unique needs of transfer students and applauds the dynamic pathways these colleges have created to continue fostering student success among transfer students at the four-year college.”
UMSL offers a variety of programs dedicated to transfer student engagement, including Tau Sigma National Transfer Honor Society, the Transfer Services Center, Transfer Commuter Ambassadors and Transfer Student Orientation.
Holly Pope, an admissions representative for the Pierre Laclede Honors College who developed and submitted the honor roll application, notes that assistance begins even before a student moves to UMSL. The university has transfer specialists staffed at four different community college campuses and hosts monthly informational sessions at those institutions.
Pope also points to UMSL’s articulation agreement as an important partnership for community college transfers. With the agreement, students who earn an associate’s of arts or an articulated degree from any community college in Missouri will receive automatic admission into UMSL. Recipients of these degrees from Lewis and Clark Community College, Southwestern Illinois College and John Wood Community College, all Illinois-based institutions, also enjoy automatic admission.