DeMatteis School of Engineering and Applied Science SEAS Dean's Update

Transfer Students Add Value

Photographer: FJ Gaylor Photography

I want to talk today about the contributions of transfer students to the DeMatteis School. In the yearly mobilization of efforts to craft an incoming class, they are often “the forgotten man” (to borrow a phrase from the Depression era made famous by William Powell in the classic 1936 movie My Man Godfrey). They can be overlooked in part because they enter programs as often in the spring semester as they do in the fall, and of course they bypass the early part of a curriculum which is designed carefully to prepare students for the presumably more demanding specialized coursework in the upper level of a curriculum.

But transfer students make up about 20% of our student population in the DeMatteis School. And because many of them come with 60 or more credits from other institutions, they may well constitute one third of the enrollees in a typical junior level course. They contribute greatly to the variety of skills and attainment levels that go into capstone design teams, Co-op jobs, and of course, ultimately, numbers of graduates and full-time employment placings. They represent us to the world every bit as much as the students who started here right out of high school.

Consequently, we are making every effort to ensure as seamless a transition to our four-year programs for those students who have matriculated in a two year program (usually designated as an Engineering Science or Computer Science track) in one of the many community colleges in New York State as well as other nearby states. One way we can do that is to enter into articulation agreements with some of these schools, especially the local ones. Last year we created formal agreements between our school and Nassau Community College and Suffolk Community College.

I am also pleased that the scholarship money made available by Hofstra to highly qualified applicants is quite competitive, and much more substantial than it had been in earlier years. But above and beyond those packages, we have just initiated a program to supplement them with scholarships of $2,500 to $5,000 for selected applicants in order to attract the best students, beginning with the Spring 2018 contingent of applicants. This money is being made available to us through the generosity of some of our major supporters. Some of them were themselves beneficiaries of both a community college two-year degree, followed by a four-year Hofstra degree in engineering or computer science.

One of the perks of being Dean is to be the recipient of reams upon reams of analytics produced by extremely talented people in our Institutional Research and Assessment office. So, at the tip of my fingers, I can look up, for example, how many transfer students pursuing a major in mechanical engineering entered our programs in 2009 eventually graduated. I can appeal to the numbers as a measure of our success, but for a general audience, which includes perhaps some readers who are themselves thinking of transferring here to finish a degree in engineering or computer science, the numbers that initially mean more are those related to whether the transition here is affordable. And I want to let you know that we here at the DeMatteis School are very cognizant of the added luster that transfers bring to our programs, and are doing everything we can to encourage more to apply and to join our educational enterprise to get that coveted four-year degree.


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