BCCAT Then and Now
In 1989, BCCAT was established and charged with the mandate to oversee the BC Transfer System. The BC post-secondary landscape has evolved dramatically since then, and the work of BCCAT has expanded accordingly in response. This past year introduced a significant milestone for BCCAT: on September 30, 2011, the Council convened its 100th meeting. To commemorate the occasion, four guests shared with Council their reflections* on the history of BCCAT and the BC Transfer System:
Dr. John Dennison (former Council Co-Chair and Professor Emeritus, Administrative, Adult & Higher Education, UBC) provided some background on the earliest years of the BC Transfer System (pre-BCCAT); in particular, the extraordinary novelty of the concept of “credit transfer” when the college system was first established in the early 1960s.
“It is useful to reflect upon the fact that, although today
transfer credit is accepted as routine, the practice
was initially approved after much debate and some controversy
as a new and as yet unproven practice in BC.”
Dr. Frank Gelin (Executive Director Emeritus, BCCAT) spoke of how the Council was able to address momentous challenges through system-wide consultation. As a result, consultation and evidence-based decision-making have become hallmarks of the Council’s approach to policy development.
“Consultation with BC post-secondary partners as a first step
for informing and shaping policy development is a vital component
of the Council’s approach.”
Dr. Dan Birch (former Council Co-Chair and Vice-President Emeritus, Academic & Provost, UBC) outlined the role of BCCAT in supporting and sustaining the BC Transfer System through a variety of services and resources.
“The active participation by members of the BC Transfer System
with BCCAT’s interactive information technology resources
in support of student educational planning
has enabled BC post-secondary institutions and BCCAT
to maintain a constantly evolving transfer system
that functions efficiently for the benefit of students.”
Ms. Finola Finlay (former Associate Director, Transfer and Articulation, BCCAT) reviewed a few of the extensive changes the BC Transfer System has seen over the years, noting the responsive approach of the Council in addressing those changes.
“The evolving nature of the BC post-secondary system
has brought a steady stream of changes.
Throughout these changes, BCCAT has remained
one of a few constants; in fact, it has emerged
as the only persisting system-wide agency during its existence.
The Council’s work has been heavily influenced by the need
to respond to change, while keeping our eye on the main prize –
supporting the mobility and transfer of BC students.”
*These reflections are provided in more detail in BCCAT: Then and Now.
As fresh challenges emerge, BCCAT continues to respond in innovative and efficient ways to enable transfer in BC. The projects and activities outlined in this review are examples of the Council’s ongoing imperative to sustain and support transfer in the context of a changing post-secondary system.