SF State, CCSF make transferring easier for health majors
September 30, 2008 12:13 PM
SF State and the City College of San Francisco started a joint program this semester that would help City College students successfully transfer into SF State, and to ensure that SF State health majors get all the classes they need to graduate on time.
Called the Metropolitan Health Academies, the program guarantees students from either school who meet the requirements in the two-year program, such as the minimum GPA and number of transfer units, a place as a junior in SF State’s College of Health and Human Services.
It also helps them meet these requirements by providing students with advising and guaranteed spots in required classes.
The program is the brainchild of Vicki Legion, Executive Director of SF State Community Health Works. The idea came out of a meeting last spring with CCSF and SF State faculty, who all shared frustrations over students not being prepared enough to transfer to university.
“We said we needed something to make sure that students weren’t just going through an anonymous series of classes and would be able to make it into upper division classes,” she said.
Before the academic year started at SF State, incoming freshmen were sent e-mails containing information on the program. About 20 students applied and were accepted as MHA students.
They are currently taking the same two classes: a core health class that is exclusive to students in the program, and an English class that allotted places for the MHA students but is also open to everyone else.
Health education professor Savita Malik said that being in the same classes encourages the group to act as a “learning community” for each other.
“It’s like a homeroom,” she said. “We want students to feel they have a base, that they have more support.”
The program is funded by two grants: a private grant from the James Irvine Foundation, which is a California nonprofit, and a federal grant from Funds for the Improvement of Post Secondary Education. At CCSF, MHA students are given priority for transfer-level classes.
“It’s basically the creation of a smooth pathway from a two-year institution to a four-year institution,” said Dean Linda Grohe of CCSF. “It ensures that students are not wasting time taking units that won’t be credited.”
There are currently 16 MHA students at CCSF, but Beth Freedman, the MHA Coordinator at the college, said that they are planning to recruit up to 60 students for the coming semester.
The MHA is also designed to make health majors well-rounded, linking health classes together with main general education subjects like English and Math. “We know how important skills like writing and critical thinking are for health majors, and we want to focus on those,” Freedman said.
And although students in the program get priority in enrolling for certain classes, it doesn’t edge out other CCSF students, Freedman said, especially because additional sections were opened.
At SF State, the health department checked with the enrollment office on campus to make sure that reserving slots for MHA students in English classes wouldn’t edge out other students. The department is also doubling the number of students in upper division classes next semester, Malik said. However, health education majors at SF State are divided in their opinions of the program.
“They should have implemented the MHA for all students in the program,” said Cristina Cabansagan. So many of us have already been pushed back from graduating because we can’t get into the classes we need.”
But Edcel Suarez, another health education major, thinks that the program is great.
“I believe the pilot program is a phenomenal idea,” he said. “I wish I could’ve had the chance to participate in a similar program. If a student could be given that option to graduate and on time and avoid staying excess semesters, then it should be granted.”
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