Policy Briefs and Reports

As part of our broader efforts to enhance transfer pathways—and reduce barriers faced by transfer students—ONCAT staff routinely perform policy analysis and research. Often, this work includes scans of policies or other innovations in jurisdictions with differentially structured transfer systems. This work informs various activities, ranging from the funding of pilots to the advice that we provide to system stakeholders and other strategic initiatives. This page houses policy reports and shorter articles written by either ONCAT staff or externally funded actors that we deem of potential interest to the broader Ontario post-secondary education (PSE) sector.

Exploring University Faculty Perceptions on Curriculum Evaluation: Sociology as a Case of First-Year Transferability

by Rod Missaghian, ONCAT | July 2021

Studying faculty perceptions about curriculum evaluation and transfer can be tremendously useful for policy development, as it has long been a ‘black box’ (Hyatt & Smith, 2020). At a provincial level, by exploring faculty decision-making, we can learn more about potential pathways and barriers for college-to-university transfer. Understanding disciplinary norms in faculty decision-making is an important but understudied face of transfer research. By focusing on a single discipline, we can develop our understanding of the transferability of a high-demand course/elective, like sociology, offered in many college programs. More importantly, we hope this framework is replicable to other fields of study, allowing transfer stakeholders to assess comparability and alignment in course content with faculty perceptions.

In this brief, we address these gaps in faculty/transfer studies by interviewing Ontario university faculty in sociology to explore disciplinary evaluation processes and their potential relationships with transfer. We complement faculty interviews with content analysis of college and university introductory course outlines. This unique design aids in our understanding of faculty decision making in curriculum assessment, the intersection between content creation in practice versus perception, and its implications for vertical transfer.


Is There a Transferable Sociology ‘Core’ in Ontario Colleges? A Content Analysis of First-Year Course Outlines

by Rod Missaghian, ONCAT | January 2021

Regardless of how a transfer system operates, it is fair to conclude that curriculum assessment—the process through which faculty members evaluate and contrast course outlines—plays a key role. ONCAT is interested in learning more about how faculty make decisions on transfer credit and how that evaluative process plays out. To develop a better understanding of faculty’s role in transfer, in the summer of 2020, the research team at ONCAT decided to explore the curriculum assessment process. Our overarching goal here is to develop insights that could inform upcoming ONCAT-funded interview- and survey-based research projects focused on faculty members’ role in transfer.

For this exploratory exercise, we chose first-year introduction to sociology college courses offered in Ontario and taught as part of General Arts and Science diploma/certificate programs.

Policy Innovations in Transfer: A Look across the United States

by Rod Missaghian, ONCAT | August 2020

Policy Innovations in Transfer: A Look across the United States
Acknowledging the extensive and varied American experiences with transfer, ONCAT recently performed a scan of statewide transfer policy innovations across the U.S. We conducted a comprehensive review of scholarly and policy-oriented articles and reports while focusing on statewide guaranteed transfer of Associate's degrees, statewide reverse transfer, common lower-division courses, and common course numbering. Our goal was to identify useful practices that merit consideration for Ontario. Rather than attempt to push the sector in any direction, we hope to kick-start fruitful conversations about potential strategies to improve the Ontario transfer system.