Birnbaum, Matt

Committee Member

Guzman, Tobias J.

Committee Member

Morgan, Thomas L.

Committee Member

Cardona, Vilma


College of Education and Behavioral Sciences; Department of Leadership, Policy, and Development: Higher Education and P-12 Education


University of Northern Colorado

Type of Resources


Place of Publication

Greeley (Colo.)


University of Northern Colorado

Date Created



250 pages

Digital Origin

Born digital


This interpretivist descriptive case study examines how community college academic advisors understand and use Colorado statewide transfer articulation policy (STAP) in their work with transfer students. Using systems theory to analyze data collected through 28 semi-structured individual interviews, document review, and field notes, I describe how academic advisors at a selected two-year institution understand and use STAP. The final product includes a rich and thick description of the findings presented through a systems theory framework. Among this study’s primary findings is that academic advisors’ understandings of STAP affects the ways they use articulation. Participants understand that STAP can improve advising by creating pathways, providing assurance, protecting credits, standardizing the transfer process, and supporting state goals. Based on these understandings, advisors use STAP to providing guidance and build confidence in their work with transfer students. My analysis of interview data reveals that advisors’ understandings emerge through their use of STAP in the daily work of problem-solving with students. Using systems theory analysis allows for a discussion of findings and provide recommendations for future research. Implications of this study include recommendation for policy makers, institutional leaders, faculty, and academic advisors iv responsible for creating, updating, and implementing statewide transfer articulation policy.

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Copyright is held by the author.