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North Lake College President Appointed to State Higher Education Task Force

IRVING, Texas. February 5, 2001- North Lake College President David England has been asked to join the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's (Coordinating Board) Transfer Task Force as an advisor and liaison to the Community and Technical College Division's primary policy committee. England has chaired the Coordinating Board's statewide policy committee, the Standing Advisory Committee on Program Quality and Standards, for the last three years.

Under a law passed by the Texas Legislature in 1997, if a student at an accredited community college completes a 48-hour core curriculum and transfers to any public state university, the university must accept the core as a whole, substituting for the university core curriculum. In the past, universities had more freedom in choosing which courses to transfer and many required students to complete additional university courses to meet the requirements of the university's core curriculum.

The 1997 legislation was a giant step forward in creating a seamless system of higher education in the state of Texas," England said. "Under the old system, transfer students often had to repeat courses at the university or take courses that duplicated what they had learned at the community college, resulting in a loss of time and money for the student. In most cases today, the transfer process is working well, but the task force will take a close look at what is happening and make recommendations to perfect the system."

Members of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board discussed the credit transfer issue at their regular meeting in Austin on January 25. Some universities have questioned the level of rigor of some community college courses. However, during the meeting, Coordinating Board member Dolores Hutto Carruth of Irving said, "To think that a freshman course taught in a university with 500 students in one class is higher quality than a class of 20 at a community college is ridiculous."

England was part of a community college contingent that met with the presidents of all the University of Texas system schools. North Lake College will be participating in one of the model transfer studies in partnership with the University of Texas at Arlington.

Another resource to facilitate transfer from Texas community colleges to four-year universities is the Texas Common Course Numbering System (TCCNS). Under the system, lower division courses at community colleges and four-year universities have the same course name and number. Many private Texas universities, including SMU and Baylor, are also part of the system. "TCCNS eliminates much of the confusion experienced by transfer students in the past," England said.

The task force will complete its work and make a formal presentation to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in July.

North Lake College is a member of the Dallas County Community College District.