Published on Brock University (http://brocku.ca)
It was a big rant that turned into an even larger research interest.
Brock MEd graduate Christine Arnold remembers the day, during her third year of undergraduate studies, when she walked into the office of Education Professor Michael Kompf and started to vent.
Arnold unloaded to her professor the story of a friend who relocated to Florida due to family reasons after completing a year of undergraduate studies at Brock. When he enrolled at the University of Florida, he was informed that the university would grant him only two credits from his previous year at Brock.
“I was angry and upset,” she says. “Professor Kompf said to me, ‘you need to research this, it is becoming a hot topic and you’re fuelled about it – a student writing about this for the sake of students would be a good thing.’ ”
And so she channeled her outburst toward researching university transfer credits – first as an undergraduate student, then during her master’s degree and now as a doctoral student at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education.
The overall goal of Arnold’s research is to contribute to the ongoing development and improvement of policies and systems around academic transfer credits, particularly in Ontario – changes that would benefit many students.
Her PhD work involves talking with students to find out what they know, or don’t know, about transferring credits when switching institutions within Ontario’s post-secondary system. Arnold hopes it leads to recommendations toward setting up public information resources to assist students.
“Making information public, updated, and current is important,” she says. “One example would be the expansion of the online Ontario Transfer Guide to include an updated, current, and guaranteed credit bank that serves as a place where students can look when first considering transferring.”
Arnold’s master’s research took her to Vancouver to conduct a study of the British Columbia Council on Admissions and Transfer, the organization that oversees the post-secondary transfer system in the province. The study resulted in modelling a best practice guide for Ontario. There was a certain irony to her B.C. experience as she found
herself in the position of a transfer student.
“I ran into some issues when I applied to take a course at the University of British Columbia,” she said. “It ended up working out, but I lived the experience – it became data for my research.”