Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Educational Leadership and Policy Studies

First Advisor

Larry Ebbers

Second Advisor

Janice N. Friedel


The new reverse transfer has emerged in recent years as an innovative pathway for degree completion. The term, once used to refer to students who transferred to a community college from a four-year institution, has undergone a contextual change (Hagedorn & Castro, 1999; Townsend & Dever, 1999; Yang, 2006). The term today has a new application and references a different pathway, which refers to students who transfer credits from a community college to a four-year institution and retroactively earn a two-year degree with their newly earned four-year college credits (Bragg, Cullen, Bennett, & Rudd, 2011; Friedel & Wilson, 2015; Marling, 2012). The reverse transfer pathway has emerged as community colleges pursue innovative opportunities to serve students and improve completion rates. President Obama's Completion Agenda and state accountability measures are also contributing to the need for innovative completion programs. To explore the growth and implementation of reverse transfer programs, a case study analysis was conducted in a Pacific Northwest state with an urban, multi-campus community college, a public liberal arts university, and their respective state higher education agencies. The case study analysis sought to understand the factors that influence the implementation process of the new reverse transfer and the challenges and support mechanisms that influence the implementation of the new reverse transfer program in the Pacific Northwest state. The data were coded, analyzed, and arranged into four emerging themes: (1) measures of success, (2) influence and stability, (3) responding to something new, and (4) benefits outweigh the cost. The findings revealed that strong working relationships between colleagues at each institution were a cornerstone to the successful implementation. Campus administrators and state higher education agencies support are important contributors to the implementation and future stability of the program. Flexible and forward-thinking campuses are important attributes in successful implementation. Finally, a focus on student achievement and a belief in the program were revealed as characteristics of a successful program. A discussion of the implications for practice, policy, and research are also presented.


Copyright Owner

Sarah Lynn Wilson



File Format


File Size

139 pages