The University of La Verne was nationally recognized last week through the publication of a USA Today article that commended ULV as being a leader in the accommodation of transfer students.
G. Jeffrey MacDonald, freelance reporter working in conjunction with USA Today, contacted ULV after examining the 2008 results of the National Survey of Student Engagement regarding transfer students. The survey found that 40 percent of 190,000 college seniors were transfer students.
“The NSSE identifies schools where transfers are at least as academically engaged as their native classmates, thanks in large part to their schools helping them make a smooth transition,” the article read.
NSSE also observed that transfer students felt more engaged at the University of La Verne than other institutions.
Charles Bentley, director of public relations, and Rusty Evans, assistant director of public relations, organized the interview and relayed pertinent information and concepts from Provost Alden Reimonenq to the reporter.
Aghop Der-Karabetian, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, and Stephen Lesniak, dean of regional campus administration, were interviewed.
Lesniak said that through ULV’s nine regional campuses, nearly 28 percent of the undergraduate students at the main campus are transfers, and 95 percent of the CAPA and regional campus students are as well.
Der-Karabetian said that the number of non-traditional transfer students” sky-rocketed” in the past 10 years, so it is key that ULV serves students in many ways, via extended learning, night classes, or face-to-face classroom sessions.
“ The article did not distinguish between traditional and nontraditional students, which is important because they are two distinct populations,” Der-Karabetian said.
Der-Karabetian stressed the distinction is important because both have different needs; a traditional undergraduate student requires different learning than an adult CAPA student, which ULV recognizes and caters toward.
Before the publication, the four involved were uncertain yet optimistic about the extent of La Verne’s coverage in the article due to the length and involvement of the topics discussed with the reporter. MacDonald concluded the phone interview after almost an hour; a sign of encouragement after a planned 20-minute conference call that was scheduled for Oct. 27.
“ This was our one chance to do this interview well, so we had to make sure our points were refined and important,” Lesniak said.
The article, published Nov. 11, proved to be somewhat abbreviated in comparison to the interview. Mention of ULV was short, nearly 60 words in the last paragraph of the article that also mentioned several other institutions. Lesniak’s quote,” They can bring their war stories with them, and find out what could have been if the decisions had been different,” was cut from the print version and remains only on the Web version of the article.
The article alluded to ULV’s nine satellite campuses and the fact students are” encouraged to draw on their own life experiences when analyzing real-life problems that professionals and organizations face.”
Regarding the brevity of the article, Der-Karabetian understood that USA Today articles are generally broad.
Nevertheless, in terms of the new marketing strategy for the University of La Verne, such coverage is a great way for the La Verne name to be extended in the area.
“ There are so many schools students can choose to attend, so this article gives us an identity,” Bentley said.” People will recognize that the University of La Verne is a quality institution, and that they do something well.”
In the lengthy interview with the reporter, Lesniak and Der-Karabetian stressed other important strengths of the University that did not make the publication.
One point is that the ULV faculty strive to connect with students as much as possible.
“ Students feel more supported,” Lesniak said.
The intimate class sizes and interactions inside the classroom contribute to engaging students more than other larger schools, Lesniak said. This interaction with a wide variety of different minds strengthens the diversity.
“ ULV emphasizes active learning strategies in the classroom where they discuss situations rather than listen to lectures,” Lesniak said. Also, ULV shows reflective learning, which is provided through programs off campus.” Students take the knowledge they are obtaining and apply it the next day in their life or in their work, which reflects personal values, ethics and responsibility,” Lesniak said.
The article was an important step for ULV because it advertised the achievements of the school, and that the school strives to fit needs of different levels of transfer students. Bentley said the University does not generally” boast” about its success.
“ It says what we already know about our school, but what should be known by others,” Der-Karabetian said.” We don’t do enough to inform other administrations of other universities what we have to offer.”
Lesley Michaels can be reached at email@example.com.