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Higher Education Conference. The Adult Learning Focused Institution: Is Yours One? Judith Wertheim, Ed.D. Vice President for Higher Education Services.

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Presentation on theme: "Higher Education Conference. The Adult Learning Focused Institution: Is Yours One? Judith Wertheim, Ed.D. Vice President for Higher Education Services."— Presentation transcript:

1 Higher Education Conference

2 The Adult Learning Focused Institution: Is Yours One? Judith Wertheim, Ed.D. Vice President for Higher Education Services CAEL

3 3 Serving Adult Learners  CAEL is the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning  Non-profit, international organization; 33 years of experience  Headquartered in Chicago, IL with offices in Philadelphia, PA; Denver, CO; New York, NY; and Norwalk, CT  Nearly 700 college & university members; corporate membership in early stages and growing – primarily HR leaders

4 4 Serving Adult Learners CAEL’s Mission  To advance lifelong learning in partnership with educational institutions, employers, labor organizations, government, and communities  To remove barriers and expand lifelong learning opportunities for adults

5 5 Adult learner barriers  Institutional Policies and practices that impede and discourage adult learners  Situational Adult learner’s life situation or circumstances  Dispositional Adult learner’s personal concerns, beliefs, or attitudes

6 6 Emphasizing College Enrollment In his State of the State address (February 5, 2007), Governor Brad Henry continued to stress the importance of higher education in Oklahoma:  Though college enrollment is at record levels, Oklahoma “must…work toward producing more college graduates.”

7 7 Oklahoma’s Challenge Yet, as Chancellor Glen Johnson said:  “Currently, we are below the national average in the percentage of our population with college degrees, so there is much to do.”  “We must enhance our efforts to retain and graduate our college students at a higher rate.” January, 2007

8 8 Increasing Adult Enrollment ReachHigher  More than 69,000 Oklahomans have attended college for at least two years but don’t have a bachelor’s degree.  It was determined that a business-based degree, offered through a collaboration of universities across the state, was needed.  On February 8, 2007, ReachHigher: Oklahoma’s Degree Completion Program was approved by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education.  The program will launch in March at nine of Oklahoma’s public universities across the state.

9 9 Increasing Adult Enrollment Participants in ReachHigher will: take college courses in a flexible, adult-friendly (italics added) format earn the Bachelor of Science in organizational leadership be equipped with communication skills, leadership concepts and other knowledge and skills that are relevant in the workforce

10 10 Serving Adult Learners Main Factors Influencing Adult’s Decision to Enroll in Higher Education  Convenient time and place for classes  Flexible pacing for completing program  Ability to transfer credits  Reputation of institution  Requirement for current or future job

11 11 Serving Adult Learners Factors Influencing Decision to Enroll (cont’d.)  Credit for learning gained from life/work experiences  Availability of online courses  Availability of financial assistance  Tuition assistance from employer  Availability of child care

12 12 Serving Adult Learners CAEL’s Adult Learning Focused Institution (ALFI) Initiative:  ALFI helps colleges and universities recruit and retain adult learners through improved services and programs  One of CAEL's publications, Principles of Effectiveness for Serving Adult Learners, can help make programs more attractive and accessible to adults

13 13 Serving Adult Learners ALFI Project Origins  CAEL’s 1999 Benchmarking Study of six high-performing, adult-serving colleges and universities  Best Practices in Adult Learning, a CAEL book  Study findings distilled into eight Principles of Effectiveness  Assessment Tools released in 2004 Adult Learner Inventory Institutional Self-Assessment Survey

14 14 CAEL’s ALFI Project CAEL’s Principles of Effectiveness for Serving Adult Learners 1.Outreach 2.Life & Career Planning 3.Financing 4.Assessment of Learning Outcomes 5.Teaching-Learning Process 6.Student Support Systems 7.Technology 8.Strategic Partnerships

15 15 ALFI Principle #1  Outreach The institution conducts its outreach to adult learners by overcoming barriers in time, place, and tradition in order to create lifelong access to educational opportunities.

16 16 Outreach in Oklahoma Outreach  “Improved outreach is a major priority of the State Regents, and the Web is becoming an increasingly important method to provide vital information to decision makers, opinion leaders and the public at large.” Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. BrainGain. August,2006

17 17 ALFI Principle #2 Life and Career Planning The institution addresses adult learners’ life and career goals before or at the onset of enrollment in order to assess and align its capacities to help learners reach their goals.

18 18 ALFI Principle #3  Financing The institution promotes choice using an array of payment options for adult learners in order to expand equity and financial flexibility.

19 19 ALFI Principle #4  Assessment of Learning Outcomes The institution defines and assesses the knowledge, skills, and competencies acquired by adult learners both from the curriculum and from life/work experience in order to assign credit and confer degrees with rigor.

20 20 ALFI Principle #5  Teaching/Learning Process The institution’s faculty use multiple methods of instruction (including experiential and problem- based methods) for adult learners in order to connect curricular concepts to useful knowledge and skills.

21 21 ALFI Principle #6  Student Support Systems The institution assists adult learners using comprehensive academic and student support systems in order to enhance students’ capacities to become self-directed, lifelong learners.

22 22 ALFI Principle #7  Technology The institution uses information technology to provide relevant and timely information and to enhance the learning experience.

23 23 ALFI Principle #8  Strategic Partnerships The institution engages in strategic relationships, partnerships, and collaborations with employers and other organizations in order to develop and improve educational opportunities for adult learners.

24 24 ALFI Principle #9  Transitions The institution supports guided pathways leading into and from its programs and services in order to assure that students’ learning will apply to successful achievement of their educational and career goals.

25 25 All of the Principles The Principles of Effectiveness are:  Integrated – they work together  Indivisible – they form a whole  Imperative – not just “a good idea”

26 26 The ALFI Assessment Toolkit The ALFI Assessment Tools  Adult Learner Inventory (CAEL & Noel-Levitz) is an adult student survey based on ALFI  Institutional Self-Assessment Survey (CAEL & NCHEMS) is for adult degree program administrators  Both tools piloted in and released in 2004

27 27 The ALI Sample Questions from the Adult Learner Inventory  My program allows me to pace my studies to fit my life and work schedules.  I am able to obtain information I need by phone, fax, e- mail, or online.  Sufficient course offerings within my program of study are available each term.  I can receive credit for learning derived from my previous life and work experiences.

28 28 Institutional Self-Assessment Institutional Self-Assessment Categories  Institutional background  Mission, leadership, and organizational structure  Tuition and financial aid  Teaching and learning  Faculty recruitment and development  Student services  Key constituencies

29 29 The ISAS Institutional Self-Assessment Survey  Sample Item: To what extent does your institution partner with other organizations (community-based organizations, employers, other post-secondary providers) to deliver student support services:  Not at all  Not very much  Somewhat  A great deal  Almost always (provide examples on supplementary page)

30 30 Institutional Matrix Very Important Very Satisfied Very Unimportant Very Dissatisfied Copyright 2004 Noel-Levitz

31 31 Using the Tools Using the ALFI Assessment Tools  To date, nearly 60 institutions have used the ALFI Toolkit; nearly 24,000 students have completed the ALI.  In , 26 community colleges participated in a new pilot of tools created specifically for them.

32 32 Using the Tools How Institutions Have Used the Tools  Preparation for accreditation review  Internal program review  Development of strategic plans  Aligning resources to best meet the needs of adult learners  Creating recruitment messages

33 33 Using the Tools How Institutions Have Used the Tools (cont’d.)  Facilitating discussion & debate  Focusing attention on adult learner needs and issues  Helping with market niche reporting  Significant correlation between colleges doing well on ALFI assessments and retention of adult students

34 34 Additional Information For more information, please contact me: Judy Wertheim

35 35 Additional Information You can also visit CAEL’s Website:  Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)  ALFI  Membership  Conferences  Publications  White Papers

36 Higher Education Conference


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