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NISTS to host 14th transfer student conference

NISTS conference 2016
New transfer students mingle outside the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students on the University of North Georgia's Dahlonega Campus. These events serve to help transfer students acclimatize to their new campus and meet faculty and staff as well as peers in similar areas of transition.

The National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) will host its 14th annual conference in Atlanta Feb. 3-5 to discuss initiatives centered on collegiate transfer students. NISTS is based at the University of North Georgia's (UNG) Dahlonega Campus.

Founded in 2002 by UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs in response to a lack of professional development opportunities and research literature focused specifically on transfer students, NISTS's annual conference has grown to include nearly 500 attendees from more than 200 institutions representing 38 states and two provinces in Canada.

"Transfer continues to be at the forefront of national discussions on college affordability, accountability and access," Dr. Janet Marling, executive director of NISTS, said. "The NISTS staff, advisory board and I are honored to host such an amazing group of professionals once again. We have gathered speakers who will provide a national perspective and context around current transfer-related conversations and initiatives."

Featured conference speakers include Stephen J. Handel with the University of California system, who has been an advocate for the transfer process for more than 20 years. Handel will discuss the history and future in terms of fully realizing the potential of supporting student access and success in the conference's opening session, "Transfer Nation." David Pelham from the National Student Clearinghouse (NSC) will update attendees on "reverse transfer" from a national perspective, as well as share a summary of the most recent NSC research on transfer student trends in the conference's plenary session.

This year, NISTS will award the Bonita C. Jacobs Transfer Champion Award to E. Elaine Moore in recognition of Moore's career-long support of underrepresented community college transfer students. The award is given to spotlight those who have demonstrated exceptional advocacy and leadership in the development and implementation of transfer-focused activities, making a significant contribution to the improvement of transfer student access, persistence and success. In 2013, Moore retired from El Camino College in California after serving for 31 years as a counselor, where she also developed a transfer agreement program for students seeking transfer to Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

Also, NISTS will introduce five transfer student ambassadors who, according to Marling, have demonstrated excellence in leadership, public speaking and student advocacy.

NISTS exists to improve the lives of transfer students. Through research, education and service, the center supports professionals who directly serve transfer students, as well as those who create transfer policy and conduct transfer-related research. The institute bridges knowledge, policies and practice by bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to explore the issues related to the transfer process in order to facilitate student success and degree completion. NISTS partners with two- and four-year institutions, state agencies, higher education associations, foundations, and others committed to transfer student success.

"More and more institutions are realizing that serving transfer students well is important to providing access to more students and helping them succeed," Judith Brauer, assistant director for NISTS, said. "Many professionals are asked to step into a transfer-related role without much training or support. The NISTS conference equips these professionals by bringing national experts and fellow practitioners together to share the latest information about relevant policy, research and best practices."

Since NISTS first began hosting the conference 13 years ago, the organization has fostered the national conversation about transfer students by offering grants to support transfer-related research, recognizing and awarding outstanding transfer professionals as well as offering exclusive content to NISTS members.

For more information on the NISTS Annual Conference or to register to attend, visit the NISTS site.

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