The program aims to train a new generation of equity-minded business leaders by promoting women’s entrepreneurship.
In the Fall semester of 2020, National Louis University will launch a brand new Master of Science program in Design Thinking and Entrepreneurship. Aiming to capitalize on the recent growth of women-owned businesses and start-ups, particularly among African American and Latina women, while also recognizing that significant gaps in funding and opportunities continue to exist between female business owners and their male counterparts, the curriculum, experience, and activities of the program will be geared specifically toward women’s entrepreneurship.
As the events of the last month have made abundantly clear, COVID-19 is shaking up our entire way of life. Right now, even as the emergencies of the present consume our attention, we must not lose sight of the future.
A recent report
shows the national gap in graduation rates between Black and white students at
25%; between Hispanic and white students it is 15%. The disruptions this
pandemic is introducing are poised to exacerbate an already troubling college
completion gap. Students from minority backgrounds are more likely to
experience severe challenges to their persistence and eventual graduation.
If we are in fact entering a “new normal” of remote learning,
what can educational leaders do to advance equity and help disadvantaged
students flourish in a radically unstable moment?
Above all, this means going the extra mile to ensure our
students have everything they need to maximize their chances of success in
extreme circumstances. This is even more urgent for our students who live with
social and economic stressors ranging from care for family and extended family
to tenuous economic stability. During this uncertain time, basic fears for
health and safety are now added to the list.
National Louis University is already invested in taking
these important steps to ensure that all students have access to college
Some students may not have a suitable remote learning platform available at home. Moreover, they may be in a household with no steady income as a result of the economic impact of the virus. National Louis University has developed an emergency fund for current students who have been affected by the ever-changing economic situation. The goal is to assist students as much as possible across the whole range of needs, from technology acquisition, to tuition assistance, to food and income support – meeting these basic needs are vital to student success and are quickly eroded in a crisis of this magnitude.
To date, about $60,000 have been raised through the Emergency Fund and is being awarded to current students who apply for the aid. The application process ensures that funds are delivered with an equity lens, upholding fairness while making sure students’ basic needs are met. Also, in order to provide further relief to students during this time, NLU has partnered with mRelief to help with food resources for students and their families.
Going forward, students will need personalized, empathetic
attention more than ever. In short, ensuring equity is paramount. But how do we
put the ideal into practice amidst a raging pandemic?
It is critical to be flexible enough to accommodate students’ unique technological and personalized learning needs. National Louis University has launched a Continue Learning support center for students that provides resources on how to adapt to successful online learning, counseling services, and learning support.
Students are also encouraged to utilize the new virtual Student Support Help Desk, a single point of contact to help students quickly find the specific help they need. The Help Desk is staffed during regular business hours. As a kind of virtual concierge service, this will allow students to have one place to go that will direct them to the specific person or department they need to speak with.
One of the most urgent tasks right now for any school is to
continue nurturing a sense of belonging. Remote teaching methods are critical
here. The feeling of being with others in the same space, even if only
virtually, is essential to maintain that intangible but vital feeling of
participating in a community of learning. For underserved students, especially,
some level of synchronous learning is very important to maintain.
National Louis University students continue to meet
virtually with their classmates and professors, as well as with advisors,
student services, enrollment, coaches, and student finance representatives.
This connection is essential for helping students maintain their relationship
with NLU and for preserving the feeling of participation in a thriving
community of learning. Radical hospitality on the part of NLU staff and faculty
can drive belonging and continued togetherness, even though we are apart.
Ultimately, we are dealing with a shift to a new educational
paradigm. Acting on equity at every level can help ensure we adapt to this
challenge nimbly. Every student deserves an equal shot at success – and, above
all, we don’t want to lose any students who might have gone on to invent a
vaccine for the next global pandemic.
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.
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!
Dating is always complicated, but it can get even more perplexing for young adults with multiple disabilities. On Saturday Feb. 16, students in National Louis University’s P.A.C.E. program will perform sketches about their lives, including dating, cooking, school, internships and more in Creative Slam, a fundraising event. Continue reading »
The court system sentences some convicted criminals to electronic home monitoring as a way to reduce the jail population. And while the bracelets are supposed to ensure the convicted individuals are confined at home, some found a way to hack the system by unplugging the bracelets from their home and plugging them into a power source in their cars.
CBS-TV Chicago reporter Brad Edwards came to National Louis University’s Richard Schak, director of the Criminal Justice program, for expert commentary and analysis of the situation.