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U-Michigan, Henry Ford College launch innovative transfer student program for humanities majors

ANN ARBOR—Community college students will have greater opportunities to transfer to the University of Michigan to study the humanities under a new program that streamlines the process and creates more tailored support for transfer students.

U-M and Henry Ford College (HFC) in Dearborn have received $1.6 million in grant funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan — an innovative collaboration designed to increase the number and success rate of humanities students transferring from HFC to U-M's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts (LSA).

The grants will fund a three-year project to streamline the path from HFC to U-M for humanities students. The program will lead to similar LSA collaborations with Grand Rapids Community College and Schoolcraft College and is expected to create a new model for humanities majors who intend to transfer to U-M from community colleges across Michigan.

"Henry Ford College and community colleges across Michigan are doing tremendous work attracting and teaching talented humanities students," said Angela Dillard, associate dean for undergraduate education at U-M's College of Literature, Science, and the Arts. "These students want the opportunity to continue their liberal arts education at the University of Michigan. We know they have the academic ability to succeed here; this funding will create greater access and better resources for in-state transfer students to make that dream a reality. We're grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its generous support and can't wait to get started."

"Ultimately, establishing transfer protocols on both sides will make these two educational institutions stronger, more innovative in teaching and learning practices, and more responsive to the needs of this distinctive population of students. Most importantly, it will provide the opportunity for students to complete a first-rate educational journey," said Jennifer Ernst, dean of the HFC School of Liberal Arts and co-principal investigator of the grant.

For students, the Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan program will create more access to and greater success at LSA through core program elements such as:

The HFC U-M transfer program is part of a larger Mellon Foundation initiative. Through its Community College-Research University Partnership initiative, the Mellon Foundation offers targeted support for students and faculty at community colleges and four-year institutions in order to help more students succeed at obtaining an impactful humanities education. "Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan and similar programming that helps more community college students transfer successfully is an investment in the future of humanities scholarship, higher education, and American democracy," said Mariët Westermann, Mellon Foundation's executive vice president.

This three-year pilot project is expected to double the number of HFC transfer students to LSA's humanities programs and create a new model which will be replicable for humanities majors at community colleges across the state of Michigan. To accelerate this, LSA is providing more than $400,000 to launch new transfer bridges with Grand Rapids Community College and Schoolcraft College.

LSA and HFC have created a steering committee and will formally launch program planning in February, with a conference planned in May and the program open for student participation as early as summer 2018. For prospective students interested in learning more, visit hfcc.edu/transfer-bridges.