An Innovator For The Next Generation

Angela Pernisco, a Psychology major, just completed her PLA portfolio for 15 credits, all in Communications topics:

  • CCM 320 Public Presentations
  • CCM 323 Effective Listening
  • CCM 324 Nonverbal Communication
  • CCM 346 Conflict Management (with the grade of “A”!)
  • CCM 356 Intercultural Communication

Angela wrote this in her final Reflection Essay:

When I began the PLA process, I thought that this journey would focus on demonstrating how my previous experiences reflected the skills that would have been taught in a classroom setting. However, this experience has been much more than that. I have learned a great deal of academic theory relating to what I’ve been practicing for years in the “real world.” . . . This process has transformed my thinking by demonstrating that there is a significant difference between academic learning and experiential learning. On-the-job training provides us the competency to complete a task, whereas academic learning provides us with a history of why we do things as we do. This additional history is what transforms us from being process-oriented participants to innovators for the next generation.

In this video, Angela shares her thoughts about the PLA program in addition to some great writing and time-management tips:

CONGRATULATIONS ANGELA!

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She Established A Rhythm

Victoria Hurlock recently completed her PLA Portfolio with 27 credits. Victoria’s major is Communication, and the topics she wrote for were:

  • CCM 321 Small Group Communication
  • CCM 323 Effective Listening
  • CCM 325 Communication of Self-Esteem
  • CCM 337 Gender and Communication
  • CCM 346 Conflict Management
  • COL 340 Organizational Communication
  • COL 426 Team Building
  • MSD 130 Creative Problem-Solving
  • RE 100 Introduction to Real Estate

Here is what she has to say about it all:

From the very beginning, the PLA process helped me to see how much I had learned and applied during my 20 year career. The detailed evaluative process in LRN 150 affirmed my ability to apply college level concepts in my everyday life. I was surprised to see how many credits I could have written for based on my prior training, experience, and education. I opted to write for only 27 credits.

The process itself was challenging in the beginning, but once I established a rhythm and process to follow, it became easier. It was an enriching experience and I learned a much more about each topic as I wrote each paper.

For anyone considering it, don’t let a 25-30 page paper intimidate you. There are many resources available and the staff is amazing to work with. I am so grateful for having had the opportunity to complete the PLA process at Marylhurst. I would not have had as rich of an experience without it.

Congrats Victoria! 27 credits well-earned!

Let’s Achieve Good

Yesterday I attended the Continuums of Service conference here in Portland, Oregon.  Several hundred people from several states were in attendance — all of us focused on service-learning, social action, and social justice work within higher education. It was an amazing group to be in and I felt privileged to be in the presence of so many who care and who spend their time trying to make making a difference.

One thing I learned about — from the keynote speaker Sean Stannard-Stockton — was The Girl Effect, created by The Nike Foundation. Watch the video here:

The Nike Foundation explains:

We sought out where we could make the greatest impact. We found it in adolescent girls. Invest in them, the theory goes, and you will unleash a powerful ripple effect.

As Stannard-Stockton pointed out, true social change does not come about by doing good things; it comes about by achieving good. As we begin Spring Into Service, let’s focus on what we collectively will achieve toward understanding and reducing food insecurity in our state.

Starting with the Opening Reception on Tuesday, April 6th, please Spring into Service and join us in achieving good.

Spring Into Service

One year ago…

Only a year ago…

A year ago I wrote a grant for AmeriCorps*VISTA funding through Oregon Campus Compact to launch the Marylhurst Service Program.

We received funding.

We posted the job description.

And we hired someone great!

And now, one year later, we are launching our first major campus-wide service activity, the Spring Into Service project.

April is Spring Into Service month at Marylhurst.

Please join us to raise awareness of and support for alleviating food insecurity in the state of Oregon and beyond.

Click HERE for details about how you can participate.

Many thanks to Amanda Baker for her great work on this project!

This Could Have Been At Marylhurst

Remember back a few posts ago when I said that sometimes we need help to learn? And it’s true that most times, as adults, we don’t want to ask for it.  Which is silly, right? Right?!

RIGHT??!?!?!

Well, a student shared this video with our Mentoring and Peer Coaching class last night.  She thought it nicely represented many of the concepts that we’ve been studying this term — that to learn, we can benefit from a coach, a cheerleader, some outside help, some more outside help, scaffolding, feedback, support, more support, and ultimately, we will be able to do it on our own.  Success!

I couldn’t agree more!

Plus, this could have been at Marylhurst:

Marylhurst Squirrel Entering BP John Lobby (1 of 1,000,000)

It’s About So Much More Than Credit

Bell Tower, Marylhurst University

CAEL, the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, published a study last week about PLA — Prior Learning Assessment. What is PLA? Here’s a nifty synopsis of it from the Introduction to the study:

Prior Learning Assessment, or PLA, is another important and often overlooked strategy for helping adults progress towards a degree. PLA is the process by which many colleges evaluate for academic credit the college-level knowledge and skills an individual has gained outside of the classroom (or from non-college instructional programs), including employment, military training/service, travel, hobbies, civic activities and volunteer service. PLA recognizes and legitimizes the often significant learning in which adults have engaged in many parts of their lives.

The summarized results of the study speak to some of the tangible benefits for students:

The data from 62,475 students at the 48 postsecondary institutions in our study show that PLA students
had better academic outcomes, particularly in terms of graduation rates and persistence, than other
adult students. Many PLA students also shortened the time required to earn a degree, depending on the
number of PLA credits earned.

For more information about the study, you can read the article in Inside Higher Ed titled The ‘Prior Learning’ Edge. In the comments section of the article, Tom Flint (formerly from CAEL) references one of my favorite studies about PLA:

…the Fall 2002 article in the Journal of Continuing Higher Education by Maryanne LeGrow, Barry Sheckley, and Marijke Kehrhahn, “Comparison of Problem-Solving Performance Between Adults Receiving Credit via Assessment of Prior Learning and Adults Completing Classroom Courses.” The findings of this study point to enhanced meta-cognitive skills of PLA completers, in that they were found to be able to develop more complex solutions in problem-solving situations than their classroom-educated peers.

Marylhurst University first awarded PLA credit in 1976 — that’s almost 35 years ago! What we’ve found is that while the time and cost savings are certainly appreciated by our PLA students, earning PLA credit is about so much more.

Here are links to Marylhurst’s PLA students talking about their experiences — as you will hear from them, the credit is quite often the icing on the cake: