Joseph Levy, Executive Director of Assessment and
Accreditation and Tracy Costello, Assistant Director of Prior Learning Assessment
of NLU believe that adult students need to feel validated and know their
experience and knowledge has value and worth. Consequently, they are taking the
proper steps to ensure these students are acknowledged. In The EvoLLLution online newspaper, Levy and Costello’s discuss
considerations for ensuring student success through PLA programs, while also
highlighting example practices at NLU. Prior Learning Assessments (PLA) allow a
student’s experiential learning to be evaluated for potential credit award
while recognizing and validating the non-traditional learning they bring with
them to college.
Through trial and error and finding the right balance of support, Levy and Costello have developed effective PLA options for undergraduate and graduate students such as credit by exam, credit by portfolio, credit by licensure and certifications, and course by arrangement to support students’ whose experience surpasses the coursework needed for completion of certain courses within some programs. These assessments are described in detail in the article and more information can be found on NLU’s PLA website.
With student support in place, Levy and Costello also
created outreach initiatives that support and encourage adult learners
including a PLA video showcasing students of PLA,
redesigning the NLU
website to provide testimonials, and program specific information
fact sheets to demonstrate the PLA process (e.g., undergraduate examples here). By doing so, these efforts educate
and reinforce PLA programs to students, faculty and staff, and are excellent
examples for other institutions to consider. “At NLU, our institutional legacy
is defined by its mindfulness in ensuring access to a diverse student body.
With this in mind, we have made it our mission to provide equitable PLA
opportunities for all students, supporting their unique individual backgrounds”
state the innovative creators Levy and Costello. Read the article in The
EvoLLLution online newspaper and learn more about NLU’s PLA
services at https://www.nl.edu/pla/.
These results, as well as other workshops from various adult
education groups will be discussed at the CAEL (Council for Adult and
Experiential Learning) Conference “Plug in: Energize Adults Pathways to Success”
at the Palmer House on Wednesday, November 6 to help support and promote the
continuing efforts for PLA options for adults in and around the Chicagoland
area. NLU is sponsoring the event, and the conference is opened to anyone would
like to attend. More information can be found here.
After two faculty members from China attended the Society for Community Research and Action (SCRA) conference hosted by National Louis University in June, they were enthusiastic about asking Associate Professor, Dr. Judah Viola, to attend and present as the keynote speaker at the 5th annual National Conference of Community Psychologists at Hebei Normal University in Shijiazhuang, China. The keynote address, How Community Psychologists Support Health and Wellness in the United States and What Relevance this has for Community Psychology in China summarized the range of applied research and action that U.S. based community psychologists are involved in today and presented community-based research findings from Dr. Viola’s work in Chicagoland and across the country.
(Dr. Judah Viola with Dr. Houchao Lyu, Southwest University and Dr. Jiehua Huang, Guangzhou University in Shijiazhuang China)
The address described the health and social issues
of chronic disease prevention and management in a variety of settings ranging
from government agencies and universities, to private companies. Dr. Viola
provided an overview of the work happening across the United States in
collaboration with coalitions to prevent obesity, training people with
disabilities and their parents to partner with schools and local officials to
more fully include people with disabilities in community settings, and
supporting men who are coming out of drug treatment or jail to rebuild relationships
with their children. The presentation provided quantitative and qualitative
data that will help China-based community psychologists to design, evaluate,
and adapt similar projects described in Dr. Viola’s presentation. The research
collaboration begun this summer aims to support relevant cultural, social, and health
related issues across the globe.
“I was thrilled to represent NLU and U.S. community psychologists as we had a vibrant exchange of ideas with colleagues from across over 20 universities in China. The visit will continue to bear fruit as I collaborate with Chinese community psychologists on cross-cultural research and engage National Louis students in this work going forward,” Dr. Viola stated regarding this opportunity for collaboration. Dr. Viola exemplifies NLU’s mission by sharing innovative ways to engage in the support health and wellness locally and globally. You can learn more about Dr. Viola’s research and scholarship here: https://works.bepress.com/judah_viola/.
National Louis University, along with 1,000 other
institutions, participated in the National Study of Learning, Voting, and
Engagement (NSLVE) through the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education. The study
provides reports to participating colleges and universities, like NLU, which
use them to support political learning and civic engagement, as well as to
identify and address gaps in political and civic participation. National Louis University reported that
student voting on campus was up in last year’s election, increasing to 47.9
percent in 2018 from a rate of 39.1 percent in 2014. The full campus report can
be viewed here.
The report is part of the
National Study of Learning, Voting, and Engagement, or NSLVE, conducted by the Institute for Democracy & Higher Education (IDHE) at Tufts University’s Tisch College of Civic Life. The study
shows that nationwide,the voting
rates at participating college campuses doubled on average compared
to the previous 2014 midterm. In 2018, the Average Institutional Voting Rate
(AIVR) among campuses in the study was 39.1
percent, nearly 20 percentage points higher than 2014’s average turnout rate of
19.7 percent. Turnout increases
were widespread, with virtually all campuses seeing an increase over 2014.
This report is
vital to NLU, indicating an increase in the dedication and engagement of the
political sphere by our students. The report
provides NLU administrators the data review to implement innovative ways to
engage students on a deeper, larger level. National Louis University is
committed to educate, promote, and support students’ engagement and commitment
to vote. To learn more about this study and other NLU civic engagement within
the community, visit the NLU Civic Engagement Center.
Five National Louis University faculty members partnered with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in a new case study that explored instructional strategic “best practices” and “strengths-based approaches” for supporting students inside and outside of the classroom using data informed learnings. Tara Bryant-Edwards, Lisa Downey, Bethany Harding, Doug McCoy, Margeaux Temeltas, and Stephanie Poczos contributed their expertise to the study.
The case study spotlights the usage of data to support teaching, including faculty content meetings that help with instructional planning to meet learning objectives, individualizing instruction, and interventions to promote success with at-risk students. The case study uses specific data such as the “early-warning sign data” to provide critical support for students to persist towards graduation. These data points promote collaboration amongst other colleagues and departments to give undergraduate students the best chance at success.
The data described in the case study support faculty intervention and allow for intentional adjustments in best practices for the classroom, while also assisting in reaching students on a holistic level. The data provide faculty members the ability to make accommodations in the classroom lectures, to utilize resources on campus in the classroom such as the writing support team and student success coaches, and to create individualized plans to help break down assignments in manageable sections.
This case study led by NLU faculty and sponsored by the Gates Foundation is another step the institution is taking to support undergraduate students, ensuring the best practices are being applied in and outside of the classroom. The methods described in the case study support the use of technology, data-driven instruction, individualized instruction, faculty collaboration, interaction with students, and active classrooms. The case study can be found here.
Jason Stegemoller, Associate Professor and chair of ESL/Bilingual Education, has been appointed as part of the Illinois Advisory Council on Bilingual Education through the Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE). The purpose of the Advisory Council on Bilingual Education is to advise the State Superintendent of the ISBE on issues which relate to the educational needs of students whose first language is not English. With NLU as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and Professor Stegemoller’s major aspect of work at NLU, teaching and serving as chair for ESL and bilingual education coursework, the advisory council position aligns well.
“I accepted this position because I am proud of the policy context for bilingual education in Illinois,” stated Professor Stegemoller. “I am excited to be part of the council that advises on policy and rules on bilingual education in a context that recognizes the assets of bilingual students. We have upwards of 400 students taking ESL and bilingual endorsement courses each term. I hope to have an impact on policies related to teaching emergent bilingual students, and preparing educators to teach them.”
The Advisory Council consists of 17 members whose experience or knowledge of the various programs of bilingual education are instrumental within the community and in institutions of higher learning. The goal of the Council is to review educational issues including certifications, finance, and special education within a bilingual setting. The group will meet 4 times a year to review, discuss, and rules pertaining to bilingual education within the state.
More information, including reports, other members, and public comment policy can be found here.
Alison Regalado Perez, Associate Director of Undergraduate Enrollment and Partnerships in the Undergraduate College, has been named a 2020 Chicago Surge Fellow through the Surge Institute, whose mission is to educate, develop, and prepare leaders of color in the field of education.
The Chicago-based Surge Institute selected 25 young leaders, including Perez, for its yearlong program, which includes executive skill training, leadership development, and exposure to respected leaders and policymakers in education. Fellows will develop their own leadership and advocacy skills and will also complete individual capstone projects.
Perez joined NLU UGC Enrollment team in May 2017, and has since been working to increase enrollment by establishing strong partnerships with college access focused organizations within high school districts. According to Perez, her goal with the partnerships is to “increase awareness of NLU and of all the fantastic supports we offer to students so that they feel confident that NLU is a good fit for them.”
The Surge Institute will deepen Perez’s skills for her NLU career. Perez indicates that she is looking forward to everything she will learn at the institute. “I want to grow my professional skill set and develop my voice and executive presence so that my work can have a deeper and more meaningful impact on students,” Perez said. “I am also looking forward to gaining the resources and supports to meaningfully show up for students every day on every project and be part of a community that supports and guides me to build an education system that will change the lives of young people.”
Congratulations and good luck on this new endeavor, Alison!