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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/.

Voting on National Louis University Campus Up in 2018

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.

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.

Surge Institute, Empowering Leaders of Color, Names NLU’s Perez a Fellow

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!

Find out more about NLU’s Undergraduate College

See the complete list of 2020 Surge Fellows.

James Beard Foundation Picks Kendall Alums as Awards Semifinalists

It’s always exciting for chefs, restaurateurs and food lovers when the James Beard Foundation Award semifinalists are released. This year’s crop includes two alums of Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University among the Chicago-area nominees.

  • The foundation named Kendall Alum Beverly Kim of Parachute as a semifinalist in the Best Chef: Great Lakes category.
  • In the Best New Restaurant category, the foundation named alum Jennifer Kim‘s Passerotto as a semifinalist.

See the complete national list of semifinalists here.

Learn more about the culinary arts program at Kendall College of Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management at National Louis University

 

 

P.A.C.E. Students To Sing, Perform in ‘Creative Slam’ Sat. Feb. 16 Performance sketches will tackle daily-life topics like cooking, dating, school

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 »

CBS-TV Chicago Quotes NLU’s Rich Schak on Criminals Gaming System Criminals found a way to evade electronic monitoring bracelets

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.

See the CBS Chicago video footage here.

Learn more about National Louis University’s B.A. in Criminal Justice program

Chasing the Stars [VIDEO] Alum’s mix of astronomy and education is out of this world.

Some people spend their whole childhood chasing after gold stars in school. Michelle Nichols ’02 wasn’t interested in the stickers on her tests — she was looking up at the night sky.

Nichols’ life-long passion for astronomy took off when she first saw the 1980s PBS series “Cosmos: A Personal Voyage,” narrated by American astronomer Carl Sagan.

“It changed my life,” she recalled.

Continue reading »

Governor Taps NLU’s Curda To Lead Illinois Dept. of Veterans Affairs Stephen K. Curda taught education and technology courses, led NLU veterans program

National Louis University students who took classes from Associate Professor Stephen K. Curda, Ph.D., might not have known from his welcoming demeanor that he has held a very distinguished career in the U.S. Army, or that he rose to the rank of Brigadier General before retiring recently.

Instead, students knew the tenured associate professor as a caring instructor devoted to his students, and also as the leader of National Louis University’s veterans program through his position as Special Assistant to the President for Veterans Education. Continue reading »