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CAEL Pathways Blog

Member Matters October 2021

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

Creative Credentials

An alternative to the 'all or nothing' model of postsecondary attainment can create new pathways in both education and employment, especially for the more than 35 million Americans who have completed some college but no degree. 'Credential as You Go: Transforming the Credentialing System of the U.S.' is a grant-funded initiative that SUNY Empire State College is conducting to 'develop a recognized incremental credentialing system for U.S. postsecondary education that will improve academic and labor-market outcomes for students.' It will guide postsecondary institutions and systems in the strategic use of microcredentials, short-term certificates, badges, and other incremental credentials (The Record).

University of Maryland Global Campus, is partnering with the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) on a specialized non-credit course that SHRM members can take to ready themselves for two SHRM certification exams that support career development within the HR profession. The online course is 'designed specifically for adult learners and includes a structured learning experience with a SHRM-certified instructor' (University of Maryland Global Campus).

New certificate programs at Kennebec Valley Community College will 'provide an avenue to training in high demand occupations at no cost to the student.' The certificates cover medical assisting, advanced medical emergency technician, and health science (Kennebec Valley Community College).

To address a 'growing need for foundational business skills,' Utah State University 's College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences is offering a 'small firm management certificate,' which is earned after completing four three-credit courses in accounting, small-firm management, agricultural law, and analytical methods in applied science (Utah State University).

Proactive Partnerships

The Austin Community College District (ACC) is introducing a new training program through a partnership with Toyota Motor that will create new career paths to Toyota and Lexus. The Technician Training & Education Network, or T-TEN program, launching in fall of next year, will offer degrees and certificates in automotive technology (KVUE).

Purdue University Global's latest partnerships are addressing critical workforce needs in two industries. In Cincinnati, where local industries are creating heavy demand for corporate and logistic flight services, Purdue Global is teaming up with the Lunken Flight Training Center to add options for students in its aviation program (WBIW). And in Columbus, Neb., it is partnering with Columbus Community Hospital to offer tuition discounts to employees and immediate family members to help further careers in 'nursing and in other key areas within the health care organization' (Purdue University).

South Central College has joined the United States Department of Education's Title III Strengthening Institutions Program and will use the grant-funded initiative to 'advance guided learning pathways for adult learners age 21 and over and underrepresented students' (KTOE).

Colorado State University Pueblo is partnering with StraighterLine to offer competency-based, low-cost education to create new postsecondary pathways for students unable to matriculate under traditional admissions requirements (Colorado State University Pueblo). The university also has joined Colorado's 'COSI' initiative and will apply a grant to support learners who 'return to higher education in order to become workforce ready' (Colorado State University Pueblo). 

The U.S. Department of Education's TRIO program will help Grand Valley State University support Michigan's 'goal of increasing the number of Michiganders who have college degrees.' The university will apply a grant toward the opening of the GVSU Laker Educational Opportunity Center, where adults who 'want to enter or continue a postsecondary education program' will be able to find both academic and financial support (WXMI).

Metallica's All Within My Hands nonprofit foundation partners with the American Association of Community Colleges to highlight the value of career and technical education, leveraging the band's prominence to advocate for the 'dignity of professional trades and community colleges that prepare students.' The foundation will fund work at Pima Community College to develop apprenticeship opportunities in several disciplines, including automated industrial technology, building and construction, plumbing, carpentry,  IT/cyber security, automotive, and more (BizTucson).

Economic Impact

According to a recent study, Albany State University added $181.9 million to the surrounding economy in fiscal year 2020. The tally includes the support of 2,328 jobs in eight local counties. Of the anticipated $2.7 billion in lifetime earnings its class of 2020 will accrue, $866.8 million will be creditable to the degrees they earned (Albany CEO).

In Service of Veterans

Shasta College is opening the Veterans Support and Success Center, a 3000-square-foot facility that will serve the 'veteran student population with work-study programs, veteran community referrals, and enhanced college awareness' (Action News Now).

In Their Own Words

SHRM interviewed John Woods, Ph.D., chief academic officer, and provost for the University of Phoenix. He discusses the university's focus on working adult learners, career navigation, and the impact of COVID-19 (SHRM).

In an op ed, Elgin Community College president Dr. David Sam reflects on the pivotal role community colleges play in helping people enrich their lives through education (Daily Herald).

Awards and Other Recognition

Tony Allen, president of Delaware State University, has been selected to chair President Biden's Board of Advisors on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (Delaware Online).

Northern Michigan University has been recognized as having a top graduate school program by Abound, a 'college guidance system for degree-seeking adults' (Northern Michigan University). 

'INSIGHT Into Diversity' is the 'oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education.' It recently announced the winners of its 2021 Higher Education Excellence in Diversity (HEED) Award, which 'recognizes colleges and universities that demonstrate an outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion.' Several CAEL members received a HEED reward, including (all sources are institutional):

East Carolina University

Grand Valley State University

Rochester Institute of Technology

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville 

The University of Memphis

UNC Greeensboro

Academic Influence, 'a team of academics and data scientists,' also compiles lists of praiseworthy institutions, and Kennedy-King College made it as one of the top 10 community colleges in the country (City Colleges of Chicago).

George Mason University recently made two lists, the Academic Rankings of World Universities and the Times Higher Education World University Rankings (George Mason University). The University of Memphis also placed highly on the Times list (University of Memphis).

Finally, several CAEL members made lists at 'U.S News & World Report' and The Princeton Review. For details, visit U.S. News Best Colleges and The Best 387 Colleges:2022 Edition

The Art of Articulation

Noting 'a shortage of adults in Northeast Ohio with college degrees and the skills needed for current and future jobs,' Cuyahoga Community College is collaborating with Cleveland State University (CSU) on 'Future Vikings,' which streamlines transfer procedures and makes it easier for students to complete a bachelor's degree at CSU following an associate degree at Cuyahoga Community College (Cleveland State University).

Grand Valley State University (GVSU) announced its second agreement with an HBCU since April, this one with Saint Augustine's University. The arrangement will create a pathway to a master's degree in advanced computing or engineering fields that Saint Augustine's University students can complete in as few as five years. GVSU said the arrangement furthers its work toward a more-diverse enrollment while addressing employer needs. In April, GVSU reached a similar agreement with Fort Valley State University (GVSU).

Niagara County Community College has 'hundreds of established transfer pathways for students seeking admission to 4-year institutions after they complete their degree program requirements.' It recently added to those through a partnership with  Keuka College that will create transfer options for students in its human services and health studies programs (Niagara County Community College).

Lehigh Carbon Community College and Aspen University have reached a an agreement allowing LCCC associate in applied science in nursing graduates to receive 90 credits toward a B.S.N. at Aspen University's program (Lehigh Carbon Community College).

The University of New Haven (UNH) and Gateway Community College are partnering to allow qualifying Gateway students with an associate degree to transfer to the university, where they will be eligible for a merit-based transfer scholarship worth as much as $24,000 per year (WTNH).

An articulation agreement between Siena Heights University and Owens Community College (OCC) will create a pathway to a bachelor's degree for OCC, allowing them to complete on online degree in applied science, business administration, or community and human services with Siena Heights University. At the same time, the agreement adds discounted tuition at the university for employees of OCC (The Daily Telegram).


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