Dr. Keith Shaw, director of Transfer, Veterans and Non-Traditional Student Programs at Princeton, received the Transfer Champion Rising Star Award in December from the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students (NISTS) .
NISTS annually recognizes transfer advocates who engage in the promotion of policies and practices intended to assist transfer students.
The Rising Star Award recognizes individuals who have worked diligently to create meaningful change and awareness of the transfer experience, but who are relatively new to their transfer-related roles. Fellows have generally held their positions for three to five years. Shaw has served as director of the transfer program since its inception in 2017.
Recipients are recognized for designing new programs or strengthening existing programs to improve transfer student experiences. “Handover champions cover a wide range of roles, responsibilities, and functional units,” according to the NISTS website.
Rising stars use “best practices and theoretical frameworks to design, implement and evaluate their efforts and use the resulting data to guide future work,” according to the award’s website. They are committed to cooperative and collaborative practices to educate the wider community about the transfer student population and are “not afraid to challenge the status quo.”
Launched in 2017, Princeton’s transfer program sought to put in place policies that would allow transfer students to be admitted to Princeton because “we hadn’t done that since about 1990,” Shaw said in an interview with the Daily Princetonian. In 2016, before the transfer program launched, Princeton had “exactly one veteran student on campus, and that was something we wanted to rectify,” he added.
The transfer program was recreated as an access and inclusion initiative, according to Shaw.
“We were trying to figure out — by looking around campus — what kind of students weren’t there and how we could create a program that would bring them in,” Shaw said. “[We concentrated] on low-income first-generation students and community college students who, by definition, couldn’t come unless there was a transfer program.
Shaw has been an advocate throughout his time at the University for policies and initiatives to improve the transfer student experience at Princeton. For example, he pushed for the development of a stronger residential living experience for transfer students who may be much older and/or have spouses or children and who have struggled in the past to manage the accommodations.
Working with the administration, Shaw has also encouraged the University to expand its traditional residence requirement and provide alternative residential experiences, including on-campus apartments.
“The housing situation had to work not only for them to be in a comfortable place, meeting their needs and allowing them to be the best academics possible, but also for their family members,” he said. to the ‘Prince.’
In addition to his efforts to increase the accessibility of alternative housing options, Shaw has held many other roles aimed at providing greater resources to transfer students and ensuring their integration into the Princeton community.
Shaw acts as an advisor for the Princeton Transfer Association, teaches a writing seminar – titled “Everyone’s an Expert” – designed for transfer students, and has conducted writing seminars and workshops as part of the Warrior-Scholar Project, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping recently discharged and enlisted veterans pursue higher education.
“I’m so grateful to the students and the Princeton Transfer Association and Xander de los Reyes ’24 and Alejandro Garcia ’22 who nominated me for this,” Shaw said of his recognition. “On the other hand, I also feel a bit reluctant because I don’t think it’s fair to take individual credit for something that was largely a group project. The transfer program is a success through the efforts of many people,” he said, referring to campus partnerships between the Princeton Transfer Association and the College Dean’s Office, financial aid, admission, housing, catering and the writing program.
Garcia, who is president of the Princeton Transfer Association, again congratulated Shaw.
“Dr. best in the country,” Garcia told the ‘Prince.’ “We are thrilled with this award as it is representative of Dr. Shaw’s ability to exceed all expectations and set a new bar of excellence as program director.”
Transfer Champion award winners will be celebrated at in-person and virtual NISTS conference events.
Alexa Marsh is a news writer for the “Prince.” She can be contacted at [email protected]