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At Nashua Community College, This Program Is ‘All’ About Adult Learners

CAEL recently published the Adult Learner Leaders for Institutional Effectiveness, or ALLIES Framework. The Framework provides guidance on meeting the needs of adult learners within today's digitally dependent learning environment and challenging labor market. Key findings highlight the qualities most important to adult learning success. They were culled from established and emerging practices during an extensive analysis of top-performing adult learning education and training providers. Unsurprisingly, these qualities are abundant throughout CAEL's membership, and Nashua Community College is no exception. One example is NCC’s Accelerated Lifelong Learning program.

NCC launched ALL, which is dedicated to working adult learners, in 2019. ALL combines flexibility and an accelerated pace to create degree and certificate pathways with minimal conflicts with work and family schedules.

ALL's hybrid of synchronous, asynchronous, and in-person courses delivers a structured but student-friendly schedule. It includes evenings, Saturdays, and, of course, when it comes to asynchronous portions, anytime students wish.

Meanwhile, the program's condensed cadence sees students enrolling in two accelerated classes every eight weeks. This establishes a baseline completion rate of 20 months for an associate degree and half of that for a certificate. But ALL students can complete even faster than that.

That’s because NCC embraces credit for prior learning and awards transfer credits, good news for the many adult learners who have completed some college but no degree or for those who have accrued college-level learning through military or work experience.

NCC has established proactive partnerships with several regional colleges and universities. It also offers students multiple routes to CPL. The college also integrates CAEL's Credit Predictor tool into its website. The technology solution, which includes a complimentary option for CAEL members, helps students more seamlessly inventory their potential CPL sources. To further help students configure their ALL experience to their greatest advantage, NCC staffs an adult education coordinator who is dedicated to supporting the success of NCC’s adult learners.

Faculty are supportive too. Jennifer Palmer, a 52-year-old single mom who recently earned a business management associate degree through ALL, credited her professors for their mentorship and motivation. "You know how there's that one person who motivates you and encourages you from beginning to end? Professor [Tricia] DiLorenzo was that person, she is an outstanding professor," she said in a success story featured on the NCC website.

NCC currently offers ALL in its business administration: management; business administration: small business; entrepreneurship; and psychology associate degree programs. It also offers the ALL program in several certificate programs, including data analytics, addiction recovery support worker, early childhood education lead teacher, accounting I, human services, paralegal, spreadsheet, and small business management.

NCC offers 33 associate degree and 21 certificate programs. It is working to configure more of them within the ALL structure. The latest information on the ALL program is available at www.nashuacc.edu/all.

It's a pleasure for CAEL to share the great work CAEL institutional members like Nashua Community College are doing for adult learners. You can learn more about the progress the CAEL community practices and champions at our many membership and other events. Interested in publishing your own adult learning success story? Contact cael@cael.org.



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