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By Gina Muscato (August 28, 2007)

Building a Community Within a Community

Kelly Burke
Kelly Burke (Photo by Mark Schmidt)
Enhancing the experiences of its growing population of transfer students is among UAlbany's top priorities. To that end, the University is debuting a new position this semester -- transfer experience coordinator.

"Part of the challenge is that there's not one 'face' to transfer students," said Kelly Burke, who is taking on the role of UAlbany's first transfer experience coordinator. "Some have completed just one semester, some have 90 credits, some have families at home, some are working full-time. So, when you're planning, you have to take that all into account, and that's what I'm trying to do."

"I'm still figuring things out as I go along. But it's definitely something that's needed," said Burke. "Transfer students are becoming such a big population here that a central office is an important component. If they have questions about transferring credits or problems with anything, we'll have someone who can point them in the right direction."

That someone is Burke, who will be collaborating with other University offices that already offer transfer student services, including the Division of Student Success, Admissions and the Department of Residential Life.

"My role is to see how I can help unify these efforts, as well as expand and enhance the existing offerings," said Burke, adding that she can provide a central outlet for publicizing transfer-related services and events. "I really hope to be a resource to students and make them feel like we're building a solid community here at UAlbany."

Burke -- in cooperation with residence hall directors on Alumni Quad -- is already working on implementing a series of workshops on Tuesday nights this fall. Topics will range from campus involvement and career development to time management and internship opportunities.

She has also compiled an impressive list of initiatives and goals for the 2007-2008 academic year. Burke said she will be creating a Web site specifically designed for UAlbany transfer students and is also looking into peer mentoring opportunities. In addition, she expects to launch UAlbany's first chapter of Tau Sigma, the transfer student honor society, which Burke views as a "jumping off point" for community-building activities. She hopes to have it up and running by the spring semester.

"I hope all of these initiatives will help create a more welcoming and cohesive atmosphere for UAlbany's growing transfer student population," said Burke.

This fall, the University will enroll more than 1,400 transfer students after receiving a record 4,800 applications, a three percent increase over last year.

"Transfer students are unique in that they come from different schools, backgrounds, and experiences. I'll be working to make sure that they know about the variety of academic and campus life opportunities, so they can take advantage of all that UAlbany has to offer," said Burke.

To contact Burke, send an e-mail to or call (518) 442-3548.


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