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‘Conversations With CAEL’: Adult Learner Alphur Willock

Posted by CAEL

Topics: Adult Student Success, Employee Motivation, career development, Adult Learning Success, Student Stories

In between raising six kids, thwarting carjackers (more on that later), and working full time, widowed father Alphur Willock (who goes by “Slim”) has somehow found time to take advantage of work-based degree programs. Recently, he completed a B.S. in computer science from Pace University, a Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) institutional member. It was just the latest step in a learning journey that intertwines career and coursework.

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Champion of Adult Excellence in Learning: Tony Hooker of Parkland College on Responsibly Recruiting Adult Students

Posted by Scott Campbell

Topics: Workforce Development, Adult Student Success, Adult Learning, Employee Training, Student Stories, Skills Gap, college recruiting

For this “interview style” blog, CAEL met with Tony Hooker, an adult learning advisor for Parkland College. The following is a summary of our conversation.

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Trauma Impacts Adult Learners: Here’s Why

Posted by Karen Gross, Author, Educational Commentator, and Senior Counsel at Finn Partners

Topics: Adult Student Success, Best Practices, Trends in Higher Education, Adult Learning, Adult Learning Success

We live in a world surrounded by trauma. There’s no doubt about it.  The trauma comes from a myriad of sources including childhood adverse experiences, natural disasters and shootings in locations commonly considered safe.   The fact is that trauma produces symptoms. While symptomology differs from person to person (even within the same family), it affects the capacity of individuals of all ages to learn and retain information.   

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My Learning Matters—Colleges and Universities Should Not Dismiss Diverse Learning Experiences

Posted by Sean Hudson

Topics: Adult Student Success, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learning, Adult Learning Success

As an adult, there’s a pretty good chance that you’ve acquired a decent amount of your knowledge and skills from experiences that took place outside the classroom. Whether you learned about software programming from helping your mother access her music on her computer or you’re a pro in Microsoft Excel from your years of designing pivot tables, the way you gained your abilities is derived from your life experiences. Many colleges and universities will give you the opportunity to demonstrate your existing skills through different methods of examination known as prior learning assessment (PLA). For example, you may take a standardized test (e.g., the College-Level Examination Program [CLEP] exam) to demonstrate your mastery in a particular subject, such as history. Or, you may put together a portfolio showcasing your years of work experience as, say, a researcher, to demonstrate that you don’t need to take a college-level statistics course.

So, imagine going back to school and attempting to get PLA credit for knowledge you already have, only to be told, “Sorry, that experience doesn’t count.” That would seem quite unfair, right? Well, that’s what’s happening for some native and heritage speakers of non-English languages.

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CAEL President Marie A. Cini Discusses the New Normal College Student

Posted by Brian Sorenson

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Adult Learning, Employee Training, Adult Learning Success, Skills Gap

Is it obvious to most observers that the way college is depicted on the silver screen is only a pale imitation of what higher education truly offers to learners, especially when it comes to so-called nontraditional students? (Think: Melissa McCarthy's character in the 2018 comedy "Life of the Party.") Hollywood continues to perpetuate the enduring perception that college is still merely a haven for young people to let loose, and that narrative comes at the expense of a rising tide with more and more adult students. We need to stop thinking of these students as fish out of water and realize that they represent the new normal of higher education.

CAEL President Marie A. Cini is responding to that narrative with one of her own.

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Florida group supports expansion of PLA across the state

Posted by Josh Klein

Topics: Adult Student Success, Best Practices, Trends in Higher Education, Prior Learning Assessments (PLA), Adult Learning Success

Complete Florida was created in 2013 to help the millions of adults across the state who have earned some college credit, but not a degree. The services offered by Complete Florida are completely free for participants, and they help individuals to complete a certificate or degree program. Ultimately, this boost can make it possible for participants to achieve employment in high-demand occupations.
 
Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) plays an integral role in the Complete Florida framework. Through assessments that evaluate students’ existing skill sets, the state of Florida recognizes the importance of adults being able to obtain credit for their years of on-the-job experience.

 

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Adapt and Pivot: Talking Strategy on the Eve of the Inaugural Latino Adult Student Success Convening

Posted by Rafael Pasillas

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Adult Learning Success, Adult Learner 360, Adult Learner Academy

In August 2018, CAEL launched an ambitious new project to improve outcomes for adult Latino students in higher education. The Adult Learner 360 Academy for HSIs is an ongoing initiative to work with 15 Hispanic-serving institutions from across the country:

Austin Community College, TX
Bronx Community College, NY
California State University-Sacramento, CA
Estrella Mountain Community College, AZ
Florida International University, FL
Lehman College, NY
Phoenix College, AZ
Richard J. Daley College, IL
South Texas College, TX
Texas A&M University-San Antonio, TX
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, TX
Union Institute & University, OH
University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley, TX
University of Wisconsin-Parkside, WI
West Los Angeles Community College, CA

Funded by generous support from The Kresge Foundation, Ascendium Education Group and Greater Texas Foundation, this three-year project, in partnership with Excelencia in Education, will help the participating HSIs identify areas where they can enhance their services. CAEL will provide professional development, tools and research to support the participants.

As part of the program, the partner HSIs will come together annually with CAEL and Excelencia in Education for the Latino Adult Student Success Convening (LASSC). With our first convening for the initiative on the horizon later in February, we asked our funders what drew them to this project and why they’re involved in the cause to support working adult Latino students.

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Is There an App for That? The New Age of Career Services Is here

Posted by Sean Hudson

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Student Expectations, Student Advising and Coaching, Advising Resource Center, Career Services

The old career services model—where students seek out help with job searches, resume writing and career preparation—was never all that exciting or engaging for students in years past, and chances are that many of the career services offered today haven’t changed much, other than using new high-tech tools and directing students to online job postings. The truth is that, historically speaking, colleges haven’t made career services a big priority.

Students can tell. In fact, according to a recent survey by the Strada Education Network and Gallup, nearly 4 in every 10 college students have never visited their colleges’ career offices or used their resources.

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What Happens When You Start Listening to the Adults in the Room?

Posted by Sean Hudson

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Student Expectations, Case Studies, Adult Learning, Adult Learner 360

We have been hearing more and more about “today’s students” and how they are much more likely to be older people who work and have significant family responsibilities. Some people also refer to these students as nontraditional, post-traditional or simply as adult learners. Regardless of what term is used, colleges and universities are starting to pay a lot more attention to these students, but many postsecondary institutions often wonder what they should be doing differently to meet the needs of today’s students.

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Accelerated Programs: A Critical Piece of the Adult Learner Equation

Posted by Jeannie McCarron

Topics: Adult Student Success, Trends in Higher Education, Adult Learning Success

Jeannie McCarron is currently the Director of Higher Education at CAEL and serves on the Executive Board for CAP. She'll join us as a featured speaker at the 2018 CAEL International Conference in Cleveland, which runs from November 13 to 16.

CAP officially joined CAEL on July 1, 2018.


I had the wondrous opportunity to work with accelerated program leaders, administrators and faculty when I served as Director of the Council for Accelerated Programs (CAP) for almost 12 years. I was continually struck by the sheer tenacity of this group—a group of resilient professionals whose work was often viewed as “lesser quality” compared to those working in traditional programs. I watched this group hold firm in their beliefs that these programs were of the highest possible quality and served a population of learners who needed this format to achieve their goals and earn the credentials they deeply desired. Although there were times of enhanced scrutiny due to new regulations and a focus on the credit hour and Carnegie Unit, this team of warriors held steadfast and kept going, improving, serving. These professionals kept their eye on the ball and kept playing—and achieving.

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