UMW students who transfer from Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA) will have a greater chance of success, thanks to a new agreement between the two schools. UMW President Troy D. Paino and NOVA President Scott Ralls today finalized a Guaranteed Transfer Partnership Agreement during a signing ceremony at Mary Washington’s Jepson Alumni Executive Center.
In the works since the pair met last fall, the partnership goes beyond UMW’s long-held Guaranteed Transfer Agreement that assures admission to graduates of the Virginia Community College System’s 23 schools. The agreement builds on work involving on-going collaboration between UMW and NOVA faculty and staff to create curricular pathways that will smooth the transition from two- to four-year programs, be easier to maneuver and help students graduate on time.
“It reminds me of what our public purpose is,” said President Paino, noting this partnership insures opportunities for students who transfer from NOVA to UMW to matriculate seamlessly, receive their degrees in a timely manner, while helping reduce student debt.
But, he added, the partnership also provides a larger mission. “It’s about making sure we bring students from diverse backgrounds who have diverse perspectives together at places like Mary Washington and NOVA, who not only learn together, but work together to solve problems together, serve together and learn from one another.”
“This partnership, this collaboration, gives us all hope for the future,” Paino said.
President Ralls said the agreement allows shared student experiences. “It’s not just a NOVA experience, not just a Mary Washington experience,” he said. “It’s really a combined experience…a sharing of superstars.”
Student speaker Andrea Luna, whom Ralls described as a “superstar,” exemplified that concept. A student government leader at NOVA, the 2018 graduate will enroll at UMW this fall. She will serve as the liaison between the two schools, encouraging students from NOVA to apply to UMW, and helping ease the transition.
Touching admissions, financial aid, advising and more, the agreement extends to UMW programs like historic preservation, business, biology, English and psychology. Faculty and staff will begin hammering out the details – coursework, textbooks and delivery methods – of each curricular pathway when they meet again in September.
NOVA students who plan to transfer to Mary Washington will benefit from clearly defined prerequisites they can complete early on and NOVA coursework guaranteed to count toward their chosen UMW majors. They will be able to apply faster and register earlier at Mary Washington, while more classes are still available, carry over honors status from one school to the other and have greater access to UMW scholarships.
Plus, Mary Washington will be able to participate in each student’s advising conversation from the start, using set-aside space on NOVA campuses. This will enhance chances of these students enrolling at UMW. In return, UMW will work with students who leave community college without finishing, encouraging them to complete the final credits necessary to earn an associate’s degree.
“We’re excited about this new partnership with Northern Virginia Community College,” said UMW Provost Nina Mikhalevsky. “It means that faculty from both institutions will be working together to create pathways for students who finish their associate’s degree at NOVA to seamlessly transition to UMW and complete the baccalaureate degree in a timely fashion.”