College Planning & Management

MAR 2013

College Planning & Management is the information resource for professionals serving the college and university market. Covering facilities, security, technology and business.

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COMING AROUND AGAIN Old dogs are learning new tricks as adult students return to colleges to enhance their careers or springboard into new ones. However, to attract these dedicated, engaged scholars there's one question you should definitely NOT ask. Written By AMY MILSHTEIN "Can everybody hear me ?" seems like an innocuous icebreaker; a way to start a new class, particularly when posed by microphone-shy faculty member who would rather not amplify his or her voice. It is, however, a terrible way to greet adult students. This fast-growing group of learners is returning to college in great numbers seeking skill enhancement, career change, and community bonding. They bring life experiences, commitment to the class, and an eagerness to share their skills. However, they don't want to be singled out for presbycusis. Age-induced hearing loss aside, colleges are seeing an uptick in adult learners. The American Association of Community Colleges responded by creating the Plus 50 Initiative to serve this growing group. "A recession always brings more people to community colleges," says Norma Kent, senior vice president of communications, American Associate of Community Colleges (AACC). "Between 2007 and 2011, we saw a 20 percent rise in enrollment with a significant portion being adult learners." The Plus 50 Completion Strategy kept track of these learners from 18 different community colleges for the last two years. The results would warm any teacher's BACK IN MY DAY… Adult learners often heart. The primary goal of the Plus 50 Completion Strategy was to serve 9,000 Plus need time to become familiar with current technology, such as tablets, laptops, 50 adult students across four years, with 3,600 (40 percent) completing a degree, and netbooks. certificate, or not-for-credit certificate. To date, the colleges have exceeded this goal, serving 9,292 Plus 50 students with 4,243 (46 percent) of these students completTOP PHOTO SUPPLIED BY AND PROPERTY OF BENEDICTINE ing a degree or credential. Four hundred (9 percent) of these students have secured UNIVERSITY; ABOVE PHOTO COURTESY OF WISCONSIN LUemployment since completing their program. THERAN COLLEGE, PHOTOGRAPHER: ERNIE MASTROIANNI 20 COLLEGE PLANNING & MANAGEMENT / MARCH 2013 WWW.PLANNING 4EDUCATION.COM

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