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Exploring Transfer, Summer 2019: June 20-July 27

About the Exploring Transfer Program

As Exploring Transfer enters its 34th year, we pause to re-articulate our mission as a summer intensive learning opportunity for community college students seeking classroom and residential experiences at a four-year liberal arts college. Over the previous three decades, we have sought to provide students with a rigorous academic environment that engages their hearts and minds in an experience in line with the mission of Vassar College.

Exploring Transfer acknowledges its place as an initiative designed to increase access to a four-year college degree by historically underrepresented students. In fact, Exploring Transfer is one of the programs at Vassar College positioned to increase and support its own rapidly diversifying student population. Indeed, Exploring Transfer alumnae/i, all of whom are drawn from populations underrepresented in higher education and all of whom are the first generation to college, have gone on to complete bachelor’s degrees at the State and City Universities of New York, as well as Vassar College and other private institutions.

Our goal is to immerse Exploring Transfer students in both intellectually and academically rigorous courses and a residential environment that acknowledge and value diversity, inclusion, difference, equity, and justice. Students study the broader contexts of economic inequality, racism, sexism, and human rights (for example) to better understand the complex interplay between their social identities and sense of agency as they navigate their worlds. Emphasis is placed on honing student reading and writing skills (quantitative reasoning is incorporated to the degree possible within the courses offered in a given summer).

The courses offered through Exploring Transfer are known for their innovation and engagement with complex contemporary issues. The courses are:

  • Interdisciplinary (allowing students to approach questions and study historical debates and contemporary issues through multiple lenses);

  • Team-taught (introducing students to multiple perspectives, various teaching styles, and models of collaborative work necessary for collective action in a democracy);

  • Committed to promoting “analytical, informed, and independent thinking and sound judgment; encourag[ing] articulate expression; and nurtur[ing] intellectual curiosity, creativity, respectful debate and engaged citizenship” as promised by the Vassar College mission statement.

  • Themed (Courses often explore a common theme such as “racial justice,” “home,” or “origins”. These themes attempt to support student engagement with current political reality.)

Pedagogically, as a program, we embrace and value academic growth, collaborative learning, project-based learning, small group work, intergroup dialogue (and dialogic, critical pedagogies generally), and constructivist approaches. In Exploring Transfer, learning does not end at the classroom door. Students engage with their peers, professors, and residential teaching assistants about course material over meals, in residence halls, and office hours.

As well, we encourage Exploring Transfer students to view the campus itself as a classroom  to frequent, for example, the art gallery, library, farm, and observatory. Throughout the program, Exploring Transfer students have access to all that Vassar College has to offer students for their academic growth. To this end, each accepted student receives a scholarship to the Exploring Transfer program that covers completely their tuition, room, board (meal plan), books, and most supplies.

Interested in the Exploring Transfer Program?

For information, students at the following Community Colleges can contact the coordinators:

Other interested students, please contact us directly.