New college puts emphasis on adult students

September 2, 2010 | News, UToday
By Meghan Cunningham

A new college has been created at The University of Toledo to meet the educational needs of adult students.

The College of Adult and Lifelong Learning will welcome and support the growing number of adults seeking higher education for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is the state of the economy requiring retraining for new careers.

The college offers educational services, degree completion, and career and life planning specific to their needs for academic achievement, said Dr. Dennis Lettman, dean of the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning.

The Office of Educational and Lifelong Learning Services will offer ways for adult learners to earn college credit through life experiences. This system of documenting college-level learning, called prior learning assessment, uses portfolios, standardized testing and industry certification to determine college credit. University faculty are involved in the process.

“Prior learning assessment is a key component and a high priority for adult students,” Lettman said. “It gives credit for life experience through work, volunteerism, military and more through which people have learned skills and competencies. To be clear, it’s not giving away credit. University faculty are the content experts who help evaluate and match learning outcomes.”

The Office of Career and Life Planning provides additional services for adult students to make a smooth transition to college and overcome barriers unique to returning adults. The staff can help adult learners identify goals, explore career options, and work through academic and life management issues. Specific services also are available for veterans and senior citizens.

University College, which has served nontraditional students since 1970, will be transitioned into the new College of Adult and Lifelong Learning.

“This is an important evolution of University College as we continue to reach out to our community and assist everyone interested in higher education to achieve their goals,” said Dr. William McMillen, interim provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “In today’s world, more and more adult students need similar attention. This is our conscious effort to assist those adult students interested in what our University has to offer.”

Students already in University College will have no changes to their programs or requirements during the transition, and the change will have no effect on their ability to graduate in their current program, said Lettman, who previously was dean of University College.

The College of Adult and Lifelong Learning will serve and support adults currently enrolled or interested in attending UT. They can choose to study in the existing individualized degree program or adult liberal studies undergraduate degree programs in University College, or enroll in another UT college that meets their interests and goals.

So who would be considered an adult student best served by this college? Adult students are considered those who are financially self-supporting, have been out of high school or college for at least one year, have military or veteran status, or are 25 years or older.

For more information, contact the College of Adult and Lifelong Learning at 419.530.3072.

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