MCALLEN, Texas – South Texas College and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley signed an updated memorandum of understanding (MOU) on Wednesday, designed to make the student transfer process smoother between the two institutions.

The MOU, which was last amended in August 2015, included renewed articulation agreements for 22 degree programs. The agreements state which courses at STC are equitable to those at UTRGV. This way, students avoid retaking classes they have previously completed and minimize their chance of accumulating non-transferrable credits.

Dr. Kelli A. Davis, director of STC’s University Relations, Transfer and Articulation Center, says that most course numbers are uniform between the two schools. However, revisions to the articulation agreements are needed regularly as each campus expands their curriculum.

“As their number of programs and our number of programs grow, and every time there’s a new program, we try to match it with a program here so that we can have a seamless transfer for those students,” said Davis.

When course designations differ, specific substitutions and/or supplemental classes are agreed upon. Davis illustrated this by using a math course at STC as an example. At STC, the course was listed as a 2000-level class, while UTRGV had it listed as a 3000-level. Math faculty from both schools agreed that an STC student transferring to the UTRGV wouldn’t have to take the course again but would have to fulfill a certain number of math classes at the 3000 or 4000 level to satisfy program requirements.

While making concessions is not uncommon, Davis says that she and her counterpart, Luzelma Canales, UTRGV’s Senior Associate Vice President of Student Success, try to keep the process positive and productive as STC is UTRGV’s largest transfer partner. Their students making up about 65 percent of UTRGV’s incoming study body. Currently, only about a dozen programs remain in ongoing talks, and both are committed to making them work.

“We decided between Kelli and I that we should make this go beyond articulation, that we really should make this about constant communication between the two institutions and really have our faculty go deep in thinking about alignment issues at the course level,” said Canales. “And, so, it’s really wonderful because we had a room full of people … really looking at the course level and beginning to say ‘what do students really need to know? What do students need to do in order to be successful in these courses and make the transition?’”

Canales says these agreements are so crucial to the success of Valley students as 80 percent of them stay and enroll in one of the four regional institutions of higher learning.

“They all go through the university at some point,” said Canales. “Whether they start at South Texas College, Texas Southmost [College] or TSTC or somewhere else, they end up at our doorstep. So, I would say the majority of them get impacted.”

She continued, “It’s really important because we have so many first-generation students. As you know … 39 percent of our adults still have less than a high school diploma or GED, so they can’t guide their kids.  … So, the more that we can remove barriers, the more the community can trust that we are working on their behalf.”

The articulation agreements renewed are in the following areas:

  • Anthropology
  • Business Administration
  • Chemistry
  • Civil Engineering
  • Communication Studies
  • Criminal Justice
  • Drama
  • Education
  • Electrical Engineering
  • English
  • History – Social Studies Composite with Teacher Certification
  • History – Social Studies Composite
  • History with Teacher Certification
  • History
  • Manufacturing Engineering
  • Mathematics
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Music
  • Philosophy
  • Psychology (Psychological Science)
  • Social Work
  • Sociology

For more information, please visit the UTRGV or STC transfer websites:



Editor’s Note: The main image accompanying the above news story shows South Texas College President Shirley A. Reed and UT-Rio Grande Valley President Guy Bailey exchange articulation agreements. (Photo courtesy of South Texas College’s media relations department).