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AN AGGIE LINE: USU cheerleaders perform during the Aggies' final exhibition game. It's time to cheer for basketball. / Photo by Brianna Mortensen

Today's word on journalism

Friday, November 10, 2006

Q&A with Ed Bradley:

Q: What single issue should be covered more at CBS News?
A: Foreign news.

Q: Have you ever been assigned a story you objected to? How did you deal with it?
A: When I first started in New York at WCBS radio, the assignment editor automatically assigned any story that had a minority in it to me. I objected to being typecast and told him if I didn't get a variety of stories -- as other reporters did -- then I would take it up with the news director.

Q: If you were not in news, what would you be doing?
A: If I had the talent, I'd play bass guitar and sing in a kicking band.

--Ed Bradley, reporter, "60 Minutes," died yesterday of leukemia at age 65 (2006)

Student finds credits evaporate in transfer, virtually starts over at USU

By Irene Gudmundson

October 6, 2006 | When Preston Elizarde moved back to Utah in 2004 to get his bachelor's degree he had no idea he would have to start over at Utah State University.

Elizarde has an associate's degree in computer engineering technology from Vermont Technical College and transferred to USU as a junior with 85 credits accepted by the university. He came to USU enrolled in the industrial engineering computer systems major that has since been cut from USU. He must complete 101 more credits at USU to get a bachelor's degree in computer science.

"I believe the transfer department should be responsible to decide which program or options should be made available to the student so the student can decide the best course of action," Elizarde said.

There is no separate office dedicated to transfer services at USU, said Mindy Christensen, program coordinator for articulation. "If students have questions we refer them to the specific department," she said.

The articulation office receives transcripts from students' previous colleges and universities and then uses a list of acceptable credits from 17 in-state, accredited schools, who have worked out an agreement with USU for acceptable credits.

"We're basically the record-keepers," said Christensen.

The articulation office makes no decisions about whether a class from a previous school counts for USU credit and when the previous school is not on the list of 17, Christensen sends the transcript directly to the department the incoming student is planning to join and the department goes through class by class and decides if and how the credits will transfer.

When a school is not part of the 17, the biggest complaint is about the length of the process, said Christensen.

After returning from a deployment with the U.S. Army to Germany, Elizarde complains that he didn't know key things before he got back to USU He and his wife (who had graduated from USU in 2001) came back to USU under the pretense that Elizarde would receive in-state tuition, which he could not get because his wife moved back to Vermont after graduation, canceling his residency here in Utah.

"I . . . know some of the laws have been changed that would have benefited me, but I was never informed," he said.

In a letter he plans on sending to USU, Elizarde lists the exceptions to Utah's residency laws for education purposes-dependents of full-time employees in Utah; certain individuals transferred to Utah with full-time employment; and special allowances for military personnel.

Instead of starting school right away, Elizarde had to work for two years to gain residency and just recently started classes at USU. Elizarde also received short notice that his major had been cancelled in a letter that followed him out to Utah during the move from Vermont.

"I was advised to go into the computer science program here. But . . . when everything is said and done I will [have] to complete 101 credits, while 85 were accepted," he said.

When his adviser did the requirement sheet, five credit classes from Vermont Technical College counted only as three-credit USU classes and he was forced to take classes with the same information he already learned in Vermont a second time at USU.

Because the articulation office deals only with the record keeping of transfer students' transcripts, departments and assigned advisors are the ones who work one-on-one with students. Departments also have to decide what they will and will not accept as credits from other universities, which becomes very difficult and time consuming when the university is not on the list of 17 schools with transfer agreements, said Christensen.

Despite recent changes to the organization of the transfer department Christensen has not heard many complaints from students. "Generally our transfer students are happy after the articulation [process]," she said. "They're transferring for a reason, so they've checked it out."

Elizarde has now checked out Weber State University in Ogden, where an adviser contacted him about transfer credits and future classes. He will be a transfer student there in the spring.

For students interested in transferring to USU, the transfer students' services Web site offers this advice:

* Meet with a Transfer Advisor/Counselor

* Identify a Career Path

* Research Transfer Policies

* Research Scholarships, Grants, and Financial Aid

* Attend Transfer Days and Fairs

* Access and Utilize Electronic Resources

* Request Information - ASK

* Visit

* Question to ask Admissions

* Learn Application Procedures Christensen said the transfer office is also working on several programs that will be set up by the end of the year to better help incoming students.

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