A new partnership between the University of Michigan and Henry Ford College (HFC) is already showing great promise to increase the number of community college students transferring to the University of Michigan to study humanities at LSA. 

The innovative program linking these two institutions is Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan (TB2H) — a project launched in 2017 by LSA and HFC with a $1.6 million Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. TB2H was formed to create a supportive and direct pathway that would increase the number of HFC humanities students who transfer to LSA.

Even before transferring to LSA, Henry Ford students who join the program are immediately connected with comprehensive support as well as LSA advisors to help navigate the complex and potentially confusing transition between institutions. Students who join the TB2H program gain access to a wide range of opportunities at U-M while they are still enrolled at HFC, including workshops, events, internships, and funding through the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program (UROP), optiMize, the LSA Opportunity Hub, Newnan Academic Advising Center, and more. 

Now in its second year of supporting students, TB2H is already starting to realize its goal to increase transfer students. Last year, five students in the program transferred from HFC to LSA. This year there are already 20 students signed-on, and, with many more expressing interest, that number could grow even larger. As a customizable program committed to serving each student’s unique needs, applications are welcome year-round.

The services these programs offer to Transfer Bridges students are a part of a larger LSA commitment to recruiting and welcoming more transfer students from across Michigan. 

LSA Associate Dean for Undergraduate Education Tim McKay is excited by the new opportunities TB2H provides.

“This new partnership has given LSA the opportunity to work closely with students, faculty, and administrators at Henry Ford College on the design of student-centered transfer programs,” says McKay. “Their expertise has helped us see how important personal attention before, during, and after the transfer process can be.”

The coordinated program also ensures that TB2H transfers are able to take full advantage of what an LSA experience offers.

“Too often in the past, transfer students would be unable to participate in the rich array of extracurricular activities at U-M such as optiMize, UROP, and the Honors Program,” says McKay. “TB2H has given us all an opportunity to focus on opening these doors, and the results have been very exciting.” 

“Throughout the time that HFC faculty and staff have been on this project, we have heard from many students, including students who have already transferred successfully, that they never pictured themselves as scholars at an elite institution like U-M,” says Dr. Jennifer Ernst, dean of Henry Ford College’s School of Liberal Arts. “Without Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan, they never would have tried to apply. Yet so many of our students are smart, capable, and intellectually curious. Now we can give them a clear pathway that does not subject them to a huge penalty of non-transferable credits.”

TB2H is able to provide this kind of seamless student-centered support because of LSA’s commitment to establishing a physical presence at HFC and both institutions’ focus on developing meaningful and fruitful connections. Nick Turinsky, a transfer recruiting coordinator in LSA, spends at least one day a week at HFC. Every week on “Michigan Monday,” students can find him in the lobby of HFC’s Liberal Arts Building answering questions and explaining the benefits of the Transfer Bridges program.

“My first goal was to really connect with as many resources as possible at Henry Ford College to convey why we’re here and really just to be as open and flexible and accessible as possible — not just to students but to the faculty and staff and community as a whole,” says Turinsky. “After this past year we’ve established some fantastic relationships. I’m proud of those relationships, and I hope that we keep furthering our message.”

“TB2H signals that LSA is accessible to transfer students and that this program is just part of our efforts to create a more transfer-friendly culture in LSA,” says Michael Hartman, assistant director of transfer initiatives and partnerships in LSA. “TB2H creates a robust program that involves multiple U-M and Henry Ford offices and faculty in improving the transfer student experience.”

“I knew people when I got here,” says Keirra Scott, who transferred from Henry Ford to U-M through TB2H and is now an LSA junior majoring in sociology with a law, justice, and social change subplan. “I knew people I could reach out to if I had questions concerning my application. And I had mentors I could reach out to if I didn’t understand how a process went.” 

Learn more about the Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan Program.