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CAEL Member Matters May 2021

A Monthly Lookback at Some of the Good Work in the CAEL Community

Removing Barriers to Completion


A seamless transfer program at Alamo Colleges is saving students time and money. Since the program, which includes career pathway advising, launched five years ago, the time to complete an associate degree has decreased by a year. Alamo Colleges estimates participating students save up to $40,000 to $65,000 per year. The ability to transfer 100 percent of Alamo Colleges credit, even after a prolonged period, is proving to be a major benefit for adult learners. One, a 30+ mother of two, is now enrolled at the University of Texas at San Antonio 20 years after attending Alamo Colleges. She eventually plans to earn a Ph.D. (Alamo Colleges)

The world of adult learning is full of such success stories involving the pursuit of education after long pauses. Lisa Modenos, a “high school dropout turned anthropologist and professor” not only was a nontraditional student herself but also has dedicated her career to serving them. In recognition of that dedication, the University Without Walls senior lecturer recently received the 2021 Distinguished Teaching Award, which the University of Massachusetts has presented annually since 1961 (UMass Amherst).

George Mason University has been recognized for countering a “downward trend of Black enrollment.” A new report notes that from 2010 to 2019, overall national enrollment declined by 9 percent, with enrollment of Black undergraduates falling by a much steeper 20 percent. However, during the same period, first-time undergraduate Black enrollment soared 73 percent at the university (George Mason University). 

Student veterans at Washburn University will have seamless access to services at the Topeka VA Medical Center, including on-campus clinical counseling, through a partnership between the two institutions. The program, aimed at adding support for mental health for the university’s student veterans, will help veterans “complete their education and move on to their civilian career” (Washburn University).

Meeting Adult Learners Where They Are

Valdosta State University has created a new online college focused on career advancement via “one of the most affordable programs in the nation.” Offering weekly enrollment options and eight in-demand bachelor’s degrees, the model includes faculty who will “provide personalized ongoing support to students” (WTXL).

The Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC) is adding two health care degrees in a 100 percent-online format to “expand its reach beyond its local borders” and support career advancement (CCBC). 

In a story shared by the University of Cincinnati, a flight nurse who works in remote areas explains how the university’s online program in its college of nursing allowed her to complete training from afar, enabling a career change into family care medicine (University of Cincinnati).

Linking Learning and Work

Continuing the nursing theme, St. Francis College is partnering with New York-Presbyterian Hospital to provide students on-the-job experience and meet increased demand for health professionals. The program is a reprise of a successful initiative to support hospitals earlier in the pandemic (News 12).

In Cleveland, Chamberlain University and University Hospitals are partnering on a bachelor of science in nursing that features a degree hybrid option to help working professionals in the health care industry, such as EMTs and paramedics, pursue a career in nursing. A hospital official noted that many such professionals are often limited in their pursuit of educational pathways to nursing careers because of schedule demands and a lack of flexible educational options (University Hospitals).

With an eye on the looming retirement of the more than 1 million nurses who are aged 50 years or older, Herzing University is launching an online bachelor of science in nursing program. Offering on-demand and real-time courses, the program is aimed at non-nurses and seeks to increase access to education, especially in rural areas. Enrollment is now open in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, South Carolina and Wisconsin (Career Education Review).

Rural education talent pipelines also face challenges, which the University of Wisconsin-Platteville is doing its part to address. More than 80 percent of its education graduates enter rural school districts, and the university is adding classes that specialize in teaching in these settings (WMTV).

Peirce College is partnering with JetBlue’s employer-sponsored college degree program, which “provides the airline’s crewmembers with the flexibility to learn at their own pace and uses high-quality alternative college credit options.” The college’s president and CEO noted that the arrangement will add “degree programs and student services designed for working adults that provide personal guidance and instruction and the ability to earn credit for college-level knowledge students already possess” to the airline’s program (JetBlue press release).

A state-of-the-art technology lab will offer students at Florida International University hands-on experience in construction-industry solutions, thanks to an arrangement with Trimble, which noted that the university is “the first predominately Hispanic Serving Institution to join the Trimble Technology Lab program in the U.S.” (Trimble press release).

Colorado State University Pueblo is accelerating students’ exposure to hands-on learning, injecting experiential learning aligned with their field of study into the first-year experience. Program participants will receive a monthly stipend of $200 while working to complete 16 faculty-designed research projects (CSU Pueblo). 

Western Governors University has a series of webinars devoted to the topic of workforce development and postsecondary education. Each session is worth one professional development credit toward SHRM-CP(®) or SHRM-SCP(®) certifications (Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce).

Wilbur Wright College is teaming up with the Discovery Partners Institute to support greater diversity in tech talent in Illinois. The partnership, which begins this summer, will focus on data science and computer career pathways, with workshops fostering connections to technologists, entrepreneurs, business, and civic leaders (Lawndale News).

Diversifying tech talent is also the focus of recent efforts at Miami Dade College (MDC), which is partnering with SoftBank and Correlation One in the Data Science 4 All (DS4A)/Empowerment initiative. Launched last year, DS4A/Empowerment is dedicated to educationally empowering at least 10,000 people from underrepresented communities over the next three years to access economic opportunity through pathways in high-growth industries (Miami Dade College press release).The college also recently announced a partnership with IBM to help students from diverse backgrounds prepare for success in advanced tech fields like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cybersecurity, and quantum computing. The agreement will bring $10 million in assets over the next three years, employment opportunities for MDC students, and IBM “academic ambassadors,” who will serve as counselors, mentors, and guest lecturers (Philanthropy News Digest).

The Art of Articulation

A partnership between HBCU Fort Valley State University and Grand Valley State University is part of Grand Valley State’s work to diversify both its population and the region’s workforce. Under the arrangement, STEM students who earn their bachelor’s degrees at Fort Valley State will be able to complete graduate degrees at Grand Valley State’s Padnos College of Engineering and Computing (MLive).

Syracuse University and Alfred State College (ASC) have completed several articulation agreements to create seamless pathways for ASC graduates into six Syracuse graduate programs. Participants will receive a $10,000 scholarship ($25,000 for the pathways’ M.B.A. program) and are eligible for additional awards (Syracuse University).

Benedict College is offering its graduates of its relatively new cybersecurity program a pathway to a graduate degree at ECPI University. Benedict’s cybersecurity program launched in 2018 with just four students (Carolina Panorama).

Students who earn an associate degree at Waukesha County Technical College (WCTC) in supply chain management and business management programs at WCTC can take advantage of a new transfer agreement to continue their studies at Marquette University’s College of Business Administration (Marquette University).

DeVry University and Interactive College of Technology have partnered to create a transfer pathway for associate degree students to complete a bachelor’s degree at DeVry. The arrangement includes tuition discounts and a free college success course (joint press release).

Indiana State University and Ivy Tech Community College have completed a transfer agreement allowing engineering graduates of Ivy Tech to continue their education in Indiana State University’s bachelor of science in engineering program (Ivy Tech).

A partnership between Joliet Junior College (JJC) and Southern Illinois-University Edwardsville (SIUE) will allow students to apply their JJC associate degrees in nursing toward an online bachelor’s degree in nursing at SIUE. The agreement will “offer a flexible, entirely online format to accommodate the needs of working registered nurses” who can “begin a job in their profession while working online to obtain their bachelor’s of science in nursing from SIUE” (The Herald-News).

Delgado Community College is providing a 100 percent-online path to a B.S. in business administration for its associate of science in business administration students, thanks to an agreement with Louisiana State University of Alexandria (Delgado Community College). Delgado also has completed an articulation agreement with the University of Holy Cross allowing associate of applied science in radiologic technology students to apply their credits toward a bachelor of science degree in health sciences (Delgado Community College).

Thanks to an agreement with Central Texas College (CTC), military students from more than 100 sites around the world will be able to apply up to 60 CTC associate degree credits toward any of eight bachelor’s degree programs at Post University. CTC becomes the 13th institution to be included in Post University transfer programs (Post University).

South Central College is implementing the Early Childhood Education Transfer Pathway degree, which allows its students to complete their bachelor’s degree at five Minnesota state universities (KEYC).

Valdosta State University has a new articulation agreement with Wiregrass Georgia Technical College that allows students to maximize transfer credits in pursuit of a B.S. in engineering technology at Valdosta State. The agreement is part of the institutions’ efforts to address South Georgia’s workforce needs (Valdosta State University).

Waukesha County Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee have completed an agreement allowing the seamless transfer of credits from the technical college’s associate programs in business and supply chain management to the university’s bachelor’s in business administration. The agreement joins similar arrangements between the two institutions covering design, engineering, health science, social work, and criminal justice programs (Waukesha County Technical College).

In Their Own Words

In an opinion piece for Higher Ed Dive, Sharon L. Gaber, chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, stresses the importance of college completion and discusses the university’s initiatives to smooth the transfer process (Higher Ed Dive).

Karen Pedersen, dean of Kansas State University Global Campus, participated in a Q&A with Inside Higher Ed regarding the shift toward online learning (Inside Higher Ed).

Sheila Ireland, who is a trustee of the Community College of Philadelphia and deputy secretary of workforce development at the Pennsylvania Department of Labor & Industry, also participated in a Q&A, covering the workforce importance of postsecondary education, challenges to community colleges, and her leadership perspective (Pennsylvania Commission for Community Colleges).

In an interview with Diverse: Issues In Higher Education, Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, president of Benedict College, talks about her work leading an HBCU in Columbia, South Carolina, including helping learners during the pandemic (Diverse: Issues In Higher Education).

President of Central Carolina Community College Lisa Chapman shared her thoughts on the role of community colleges in supporting economic and career needs (Capital Analytics).

2Gen Graduation

Finally, a mother-daughter duo are making news for graduating together from Fayetteville State University. The mother’s successful postsecondary completion comes years after she was forced to leave high school as a teen mom. In the interim, she prioritized education for her children (her oldest daughter and graduating partner is receiving her master’s degree). Fittingly, the two are graduating on Mother’s Day weekend (KABC).   

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