College-level Chemistry I ought to be a fairly standardized course, with much the same content no matter what institution of higher learning offers it, right? Well, not necessarily.
Try sometime to transfer credit for college or university courses from one institution to another and you will see what we mean. It can be very difficult, sometimes impossible, to convince officials at one college to accept credit earned at another.
That can make higher education unnecessarily expensive. If, for whatever reason, a student decides to leave one college and go to another, he may find himself repeating courses he's already taken.
Students transferring to four-year degree institutions from community or technical colleges encounter the problem frequently.
West Virginia's Higher Education Policy Commission and the Council for Community and Technical College Education are cooperating on a statewide agreement to minimize the problem. Doing so - making transitions between institutions of higher learning at all levels as seamless as possible - would be an enormous service to Mountain State residents.
It can be done. Students at West Virginia Northern Community College already enjoy painless transfers to many institutions, both public and private. WVNCC has "articulation" agreements with West Liberty University, Wheeling Jesuit University, Bethany College, West Virginia University, Franciscan University of Steubenville and several others.
Of course, state policies on the matter will affect only state colleges and universities. Still, they would be a step forward - perhaps, dare we hope, to "articulation" pacts with institutions in other states.
Again, WVNCC has made it happen, as have some other colleges and universities. But rather than have to accomplish it on a piecemeal basis, institution to institution, a statewide program would be better. Perhaps using WVNCC and its partnering colleges and universities as a template, there is no reason why such a system should not be formalized quickly.