UT chosen for adult education initiative

July 10, 2014 | News, UToday, — Adult and Lifelong Learning
By Lindsay Mahaney

The University of Toledo is one of 14 institutions selected to be a part of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning’s Competency-Based Education Jump Start initiative this fall.

Dr. Dennis Lettman, dean of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning, said he is honored the college was chosen to be a part of the program that will provide training and assistance on the impact that competency-based education will have on the institution and how to structure and implement that program.

Competency-based education measures a student’s success based on having met certain objectives or competencies in a class or program, rather than by how many hours he or she spends learning in the classroom.

“When we received the notice that we were chosen, I was very pleasantly surprised,” he said. “It tells me we must be doing something right. What we’re doing is resonating well with others and that made me feel really good that we’re on the right track.”

According to Lettman, UT was selected because it offers an exceptional program focusing on adult students and has a strong prior learning assessment program that measures learning based on previous experiences through work and volunteer or military training.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, which is an organization that addresses the needs of adult students with tools and methods to help them succeed at the university level, is teaming up with the Lumina Foundation, a private foundation that works to expand student access and success in education beyond high school, on the competency-based education initiative.

“It’s definitely a new way of looking at higher education,” Lettman said. “It’s something that is just in its fledgling stage right now. There are certainly lots of things to be ironed out with faculty and others before we embark on this journey. This program will help us understand and address these issues.”

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning will provide on-site training for each institution to help faculty and staff understand how the program works and how to properly implement it. Training dates at UT have not yet been set.

Lettman said competency-based education could be a very positive experience for all students, but especially adults because it could potentially decrease the amount of time and money they would spend obtaining a degree.

“To adult students, time is as important, if not more important, than money because they’re so busy,” he said. “We try to provide our programs to students to fit into their lifestyles, rather than make them change their lifestyles to fit us.”

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