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NLU Is Highlighted for The Continuing Effort in Supporting Prior Learning Assessment & Adult Learner Lifecycle

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.

NLU’s Viola provides Keynote address at China Community Psychology Conference

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/.

NLU Faculty In Action: Gates Foundation Data-informed Instruction Case Study Supports Underrepresented Students

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.

Case Study: NLU Data, Team Helps Students Make Breakthroughs Coaches, instructors team up to monitor data for early stumbles, reach out to help students

As a National Louis University team of instructors and success coaches met for its weekly review of students’ data, they noticed that the A and B grades of one sophomore in the Pathways at NLU program had begun to drop. After conferring quickly around the table, they decided this student’s coach should reach out to the student.

The coach discovered that the student did not have a stable home and was also struggling with having a dependable job and income. Many Pathways students come from under-resourced families in underserved Chicago-area neighborhoods, so they face realities such as having to work full-time, pay rent and care for family members.  In this case, the coach worked with the student to find stable housing and employment. Without such intervention, the student would likely have dropped out of higher education.

This anecdote appears in the newly-released Case Study of Pathways at NLU, an explainer on how the Pathways team uses thoughtful data techniques, human mentoring and other strategies to help disadvantaged students enter and persist in college and graduate with four-year degrees. The team continuously refines these methods in order to improve outcomes and share the most effective techniques with other educators.

The case study highlights Pathways’ ultimate goal of educating students who might not otherwise have gone to college and preparing them for fulfilling careers and economic mobility. In the 2017-18 class of Pathways’ students, for example, 82 percent were eligible for Pell grants, 82 percent were the first generation in their families to attend college, were 94 percent underrepresented minorities and had an average high school GPA of 2.7.

Now in its fourth year, the program is succeeding on measures of growth, academic progress and retention. Enrollment has grown from the original 85 students to more than 1,000. In terms of academic performance, the number of “on track to graduate” students has grown from 60 percent for the first cohort to 76 percent for the 2017-18 cohort. The retention rate between years one and two for the first two cohorts was 70 percent, outperforming the 53 percent persistence rate for Chicago Public Schools students with similar academic profiles at other higher education institutions.

Many factors contribute to helping Pathways at NLU and its students succeed. These include an affordable $10,000 tuition rate, which is covered by grants for many students, personalized learning technology and two-day-a-week blended class schedules.

However, Pathways’ two most important weapons against failure have become people, in the form of student success coaches and instructors, and data, or more specifically, smart ways of using data to gain insights into how students are doing.

The case study explains how NLU’s Pathways team uses data to track students’ progress weekly, to help give instructors a big-picture view of how students are doing so they can adjust coursework if necessary, and identify trends or challenges in the courses and course sequences so that the team can make improvements.

Some of Pathways’ most notable successes have taken place when coaches and instructors gather weekly to go over student data, notice something that stands out, confer among themselves and then reach out to a student to offer supportive assistance. As in the story at the beginning of this post, sometimes this outreach makes the difference between a student continuing in college or dropping out.

These small successes are usually unheralded, but they are deserving of fanfare. They are the places where the “rubber” of life challenges meets the “road” of academic work, and a university prepared to help students navigate this juncture is better able to see them through to graduation. While National Louis University’s team members continue to refine methods and strategies, they are gratified at the successes so far and willing to share and expand their findings with educators, researchers, funders and others interested in closing the opportunity gap for students who face an uphill climb toward their college diplomas.

View the case study here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Weekend Center Launches; Earn a Degree One Saturday Per Month Students can earn Master's or Ed.D.; in-person classes supplemented by online learning

National Louis University Lisle campus.

Earn a master’s or Ed.D. degree by attending class one Saturday per month at the Weekend Center at NLU. The monthly Saturday classes are supplemented by online learning between sessions.

You’re busy. You have to go to work, take care of your family and keep your household running. Still, you want to earn an advanced degree to boost your career, advance to a fulfilling position and improve your family’s situation for the long haul.

National Louis University has created a solution: the Weekend Center at NLU. By devoting just one Saturday a month to attending a class and completing the balance of coursework online, students  can earn one of the following master’s or doctoral degrees: Continue reading »

National Louis Wins 2018 Eduventures Innovation Award NLU shows 'true thought leadership,' Eduventures leader said

A jury of higher education leaders and advisors selected National Louis University as a winner of the 2018 Eduventures Innovation Award. NLU’s Aarti Dhupelia, vice president for strategic initiatives, and Stephanie Poczos, associate dean of general education and Pathways, accepted the award in Boston at the Eduventures Summit June 14. Eduventures is a research and advisory firm focused on higher education. Continue reading »

Braven At NLU Prepares Students To Get Degree-Worthy Jobs Program Gets Sophomores Thinking Seriously About Careers

On a recent Wednesday evening, seven students in a National Louis University classroom were scanning resumes of job candidates posted on the whiteboard. The students, all from the Pathways at NLU program, scribbled the positives and negatives of each candidate on sticky notes. Two adult volunteers, both working professionals, guided them through an exercise in which the students had to act as hiring managers, deciding which of the fictitious job candidates to contact for an interview. Continue reading »

NLU Offers A Google Certified Educator Course Will help teacher candidates boost their resumes, apply techniques when they student teach

 

Knowing the latest education technology (edtech) can help future teachers better manage their classrooms when they start student teaching. It also makes their resumes stand out to potential employers.

That’s why National Louis University’s National College of Education is offering a Google Certified Educator professional development course this winter and spring. Pre-service teacher prep candidates are flocking to sign up for the course, which will prepare them to incorporate the “G Suite,” a range of Google apps formerly called Google Apps for Education, into their student teaching field placements. Continue reading »

NLU’s Dhupelia Named to Top 30 By Center for Digital Education She leads the Pathways program, which uses personalized technology

Aarti Dhupelia, National Louis University’s vice president for strategic initiatives, was named to the Center for Digital Education’s Top 30.

The Center for Digital Education, a national research institute specializing in education technology trends, has named National Louis University’s Aarti Dhupelia to its Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers across America.

Dhupelia, vice president for strategic initiatives, won because NLU’s Pathways program, which she oversees, uses adaptive courseware and extensive data collection and analysis to support learners through the program. Continue reading »

NLU’s McCormick Center Launches Tool to Compare States on Early Childhood Standards See which states rank best

As states around the nation try to boost the quality of early childhood education so that that young children (birth through age 8) have the greatest chance to be successful in school and in life, the McCormick Center at National Louis University has just created a tool for measuring states’ efforts.

The McCormick Center developed the tool, called the  Leadership Education for Administrators and Directors (L.E.A.D.) Early Childhood™ Clearinghouse, as a source for information about early childhood program leaders. It is part of the L.E.A.D. Early Childhood™ Collaborative, which was launched in 2016 to identify and close the gap in  preparation for early childhood program leaders. Continue reading »