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A Message from CAP’s 2012/2013 Board Chair
Happy 2013!

As a New Year commences it seems appropriate to tell you about what CAP’s New Year ‘resolutions’ are. We are excited about our immediate upcoming events, which include: A joint webinar with CAEL on Developing an Accelerated Program scheduled for February 27, and a Regional Workshop in conjunction with CALL (Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana) on March 6-7 in Baton Rouge, LA, entitled Accelerating Time to Degree Completion: Hybrid/Online and Competency-Based Models. CAP and CALL will team up again in late Spring to offer a webinar that will focus on Advising Adult Students. More information will be available soon! You don’t want to miss CAP’s annual conference in Denver, CO on July 30 – August 1 featuring Raymond J. Wlodkowski, Ph.D., & Margery B. Ginsberg, Ph.D. We hope you can be a part of one or more of these CAP events that we have planned especially for our members.


This past Fall many of you joined us for a webinar series facilitated by Dr. Royce Ann Collins, Dr. Patricia Ellis and me. We were lucky to have great partners in CALL who teamed up with us to offer these webinars to our communities. We thank all of you who were able to attend! CAP was also represented at both the CAEL and ACHE conferences this Fall when we facilitated a workshop at CAEL and a roundtable session at ACHE. Our Fall two-day Regional Workshop, hosted by our friends at Keuka College in New York, was a big success and allowed for great networking and learning. We are also very happy about our continued collaboration with ACHE – a great organization with a synergistic mission to CAP’s. CAP also has numerous consulting activities and institutional visits planned and completed. Dr. Royce Ann Collins has done a fabulous job visiting institutions around the country who are interested in benchmarking their practices with CAP’s Quality Standards and Model for Good Practice. If you are interested in learning more about this or wish to schedule a visit, contact Jeannie at (303)964-5253 or [email protected].

Here are some things to look for in the near future that will assist CAP in extending its mission:

  • A new CAP Website will be unveiled soon – hopefully by early Summer!
  • We will be sending a membership survey to you soon. Please let us know how we are doing and how we can help you!
  • Help us make our 2013 CAP Conference the best ever! Submit a roundtable proposal to share your expertise with your colleagues. The ‘Call for Proposals’ went out earlier this month but you can find details on the front page of the CAP Website at

Finally, thank you for being a part of our membership. CAP exists because of you and it continues to be our hope to be your voice and your resource in accelerated programs in higher education. We hope to see you soon.

Dawn Spaar, 2012-2013 CAP Chair

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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My Accelerated Experience
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Like so many people, I didn’t start out with a specific career in mind. An abiding interest in history and a love of travel eventually fostered an interest in international trade. After completing an associate’s degree at Genesee Community College, I worked as a sales assistant, responsible, in part, for paperwork requirements for international shipments. From that came more work in international trade and the potential for promotion to a management position. My lack of a bachelor’s degree was the only thing holding me back.


It was during this time when a former colleague told me about Houghton College P.A.C.E., a program that would allow a working adult to complete a bachelor’s degree in an accelerated format. For a single mom with two kids and a full-time job, this opportunity seemed too good to be true!

Houghton’s adult education program accepted my associate’s degree and allowed me to apply for life learning credit that incorporated my acquired knowledge about international trade. Finishing my degree at Houghton wasn’t easy, but with the help of my family, colleagues and fellow students in my cohort, I made it! After 18 months I received my diploma – and the promotion – and continued to work in the field I loved.

Throughout my private sector career, I collaborated with the U.S. Department of Commerce, Foreign and Commercial Service. The Commercial Service is an agency within the International Trade Administration that provides a range of services to help American companies export goods and services. Through a network of international and domestic offices, the Commercial Service helps U.S. businesses identify trade opportunities, find local business partners, promote products and services, obtain valuable market research reports, and protect American business interests. During a meeting with my local trade specialist, I learned that the Commercial Service would be looking for new officers – something that happened only once every two to three years. Working and living overseas was something I had thought about, and this was the push I needed. After a lengthy vetting process, I was sworn in during February of 2009. My first post was a domestic assignment with the Buffalo Export Assistance Center, and from there I was assigned to Warsaw, Poland.

It is hard to describe the work I do here as commercial attaché, because every day is so different. Perhaps the best way to relate my work is to walk you through a recent week on the job.

On Monday, I drafted remarks on corporate social responsibility for a speech that the ambassador was to give at a business event.

Tuesday, I met with a small-business owner who was in Poland looking for a distribution partner for the energy-saving building product his American company produces.

Wednesday, I conducted a performance review and then participated in a send-off celebration for a student intern who spent several months in our office learning firsthand about the role of government in the free enterprise system.

Thursday’s work included gathering information from an American firm that thought it might have been unfairly excluded from a public tender opportunity and advising it on the next steps it should take.

Friday, I attended an anniversary celebration and grand opening of a training center for a well-known American business where I spoke with local Polish leaders about the potential benefits of using American technology for upcoming projects.

In addition to these types of duties, it is my primary responsibility to manage the Commercial Service staff of eleven in their day-to-day work and interactions.

The management degree I obtained at Houghton College has proven invaluable to effectively interrelate with not only different personalities, but different cultures as well. I function as a liaison between our locally employed staff, the embassy community and the American businesses operating here in Poland and back in the States. I credit Houghton College with giving me the business and academic education to do this work. More importantly, however, I am grateful that my education also included ethical and interpersonal studies which gave me a solid grounding in my own values and belief system.

Like Thomas Jefferson, I have always believed in peace through commerce. From my earliest days working as an international clerk, to managing international sales for a global corporation, to my current position in Poland, it is clear to me that commerce is more than just a means of increasing wealth; it can also be a mechanism to build bridges between cultures.

My original motivation for enrolling at Houghton College was to earn my degree so I could be promoted within my company. The knowledge and experiences gained at Houghton created a whole new world of opportunities for me. Now, instead of helping one company export, I directly or indirectly help thousands – and best of all, I do this in service to my country and fellow citizens.

Despite long hours, homesickness and the stress that comes from being in America’s “Other Army” (the Diplomatic Corps), I am thrilled to be here. The work of commercial diplomacy is vital to our national prosperity, and I am driven by knowing the work I do helps American businesses, creates American jobs and presents America in a positive light to the world community. I never forget that while I am here in this country, I represent America. I never miss the opportunity to tell people that America is more than what you see in the movies. It isn’t just New York City or Los Angeles; it’s also a small town in Western New York – home to a college that gives life-changing opportunities to those who are willing to put in the hard work to achieve their goals.

Brenda VanHorn ’01 graduated from the adult education program (formerly known as P.A.C.E.). She was a member of the K3 cohort in Jamestown, N.Y.

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Reflective Writing in Accelerated Mathematics Courses

As a part of my teaching of Finite Math in the Accelerated Bridge to Education (ABE) program at Lincoln College – Normal for the past five years, I have incorporated reflective writing as a means of assessment. This type of writing uses a series of guided written reflections where students write a minimum of one paragraph for each question (five questions on each of four reflective writing assignments). There are four main themes identified for students and these are required at the end of Week 2, Week 4, Week 6 and Week 7 during the eight-week course. The questions are launched as a survey in the Lincoln College course management system, Angel, and incorporate the five essay questions for each reflection assignment.


One of the advantages in having adult learners complete reflective writing on various topics is that they are eager to share their experiences and seem to learn from these assignments. They will usually write a short paragraph without a prompt. A length policy was instituted to ensure there is some substance to their writing, specifically for the weaker students. As a facilitator, I am trying to get the students to see the interrelatedness of knowledge, especially in quantitative courses, and to think about their own learning and to see that they take responsibility for it.

The guided questions for the first reflection are especially important for adults in an accelerated learning format. Although students may have taken math courses that have placed them into a higher level class, it has often been many years since they last took a formal mathematics course. As adults reflect on their learning, they usually report that their perspective as learners has changed since their high school or early college years, and they will usually be willing to discuss those early experiences. Furthermore, I want them to think about how learning the material in this course may be different for them from learning in a different setting. The questions used here include the following:

  • How did you learn how to learn?
  • How do you think learning has taken place for you in this class to date? How was this different for the kind of learning that took place in another setting (another class or a job)?
  • When you say you have learned mathematics, what does that mean to you?
  • What evidence would you provide that indicates you have learned something new rather than reproducing what you already knew?
  • At this time, what do you think the necessary ingredients will be for you to learn in this class?

The second guided reflection focuses on the results of the first exam and making the needed changes if the results are not as desired. This is completed after the first exam has been taken and the grade has been posted. The changes that are considered are not necessarily changes that I will make but I have incorporated changes that the students have suggested. Adult students will tend to take more responsibility for their learning rather than expect the responsibility to be solely on their professor. Usually, they will focus more on the changes they will make in their study and preparation. Students describe the following information:

  • What did you do to prepare for the exam?
  • What might you need to do to prepare for future exams including possible changes or interventions, such as tutoring?
  • What sort of changes (if they could be made) do you think would benefit you for the remainder of the course?

The next guided reflection is a reality check on the amount of time the students spent learning and determining what is working and what is not. If I notice that a student is not spending an adequate amount of time, I will address this with the individual student. Throughout the course, the aim of instruction is for students to learn with understanding rather than a blind repetition of skills acquired. In this set of reflections, the focus is specifically for a mathematics course which utilizes exams and homework as the primary modes of assessment. Some of the questions included in this reflection are these:

  • Describe the time you have spent this week on the task of learning the material. Also, discuss when in the week you were able to do this.
  • Briefly discuss what is working for you with learning the material as well as what is not. Explain why you think some things are working and others are not. Address them as completely as you can.
  • How receptive are you to learning new ways of doing things? Name an instance (preferably in this class) where you learned a new way of doing things.

Finally, the last guided reflection topic has to do with learning with understanding rather than rote memorization. One of the questions asks them to describe what learning with understanding means to them versus learning without understanding. For faculty facilitation, this provides interesting insights as students think through this one with their reflective writing. Students have a variety of useful insights into the concept of understanding.

Even though students will sometimes complain about writing in a mathematics course, I have found that the writing provides useful insights for the students to think about their own learning as they navigate the course. Sometimes there are visible signs of changes that students have made to become more successful learners. However, a great side benefit has been the valuable information provided me as the instructor concerning the processes the adult learners go through: their struggles and successes as they work their way through an eight week accelerated mathematics course. I have been able to respond to some of the reflections to help the students with their learning processes and occasionally to correct some misconceptions. Overall, the written reflections provided by my students have helped me to be a better teacher and facilitator in the learning process.

John Hill, Associate Professor
Program Director for Liberal Arts and General Education
Lincoln College – Normal

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Grading Written Assignments
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My grandmother taught embroidery online, using a typewriter and the United States Post Office instead of Blackboard and the internet. It was called a correspondence class. Students prepared their lessons and sent them to her to review; she looked at what they had sent her, thought about it, and typed out her response on a typewriter. For generations, around the world, correspondence education was provided by people like my grandmother.

Now, in her footsteps, I teach law online for Stevenson University. Following are a few thoughts about how I grade assignments, as she did: assignments submitted by students whom I have not met. These are the three areas in which I find myself evaluating students’ individual written assignments:


  1. Technical writing skills: This category is both the easiest and the most difficult to grade fairly to the student. Many of my students, and I’m sure many of yours, struggle with some of the skills I expect from students at an institute of higher learning. I let them know my expectations in advance so there are no surprises; here is a quote from one of the first announcements in my most recent course:

In everything you write, understand that spelling matters. And punctuation matters and capitalization matters and word usage matters. Make your English teachers proud. My son is in seventh grade and he writes fairly well; I insist you all write better than he does.

Having written those words I hope they will not be surprised when I explain to them that periods and commas go inside quotation marks.
The most difficult assignments for me to assess are the ones in which a student exhibited poor writing skills but good command of the material or strong critical thinking. It is not easy to wade through a swamp of run-on sentences and try to find the one or two points that really demand careful attention, but I look for those points anyway. After all, technical writing skills are only part of the grade.

  1. Critical thinking skills: This category covers the quality of the analytical skills the student is bringing to bear. I’ve had many students, and I’m sure many of you have, as well, who wrote exquisitely and articulately about the subject matter, but completely missed the point of the question or compared an apple to an orange or otherwise failed to answer the question.

These assignments are fairly easy for me to grade. They demonstrate command of the material and good writing, but they don’t really answer the question. I’ll normally give them a B- to a B+ with a few remarks and move on to the next assignment.

  1. Subject matter: Has the student demonstrated command of the material? This category is probably the most straightforward. If the assignment calls for the student to discuss the legal concept of res judicata as we learn about it from the Supreme Court case of Payne v. Tennessee, and the student demonstrates familiarity with the concept and with the case, then the student will probably receive a high grade on the assignment.

A student who demonstrates command of the material will generally receive no worse than a B from me, and a student who demonstrates he or she has not done the reading or thought about the question will see his or her grade fall precipitously.

Taking these three categories together, it is important to remember they must be addressed proportionally and appropriately for your course. A student who has read the material and thought carefully about it would not, in my course, get a C because of a series of run-on sentences and misspellings and misplaced commas. Yes, I will write a few remarks about how that can be improved, I may cover the assignment in red marks from Word, but if I am teaching Criminal Procedure then my evaluation and the associated letter grade will focus on criminal procedure.

One thing my grandmother did was that she developed a relationship with each of her students. If I have a student consistently doing well in two of these areas but not in a third, I will try to work with that student to improve what’s lacking.

Or if a student consistently does well in all three areas, I sometimes offer some nuanced or practical commentary that’s beyond the ordinary scope of the course. I like to have something to add, even to the best and the brightest. They are the most challenging to teach, and that is as it should be.

Finally, if the paper has earned a grade of C or higher, you should find something nice to say. Some suggested comments: “I’m pleased to see you read and thought about the material,” or “Your assignment is well organized and easy for me to read,” or “I applaud your decision to stand up for a point of view that is not widely popular.” For such a paper, there is always something.

My grandmother was beloved in her community because she treated everyone, students included, with respect and good manners. I believe the worst thing you can do when grading is to be disrespectful to the student.

I hope this helps some of you as you grade your students’ individual written assignments.

Benjamin A. Harris
Online Law Instructor
Stevenson University

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Active Accelerated Learning
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For the last few decades, scholars and practitioners in the field have emphasized the importance of active learning when facilitating adult accelerated courses. The traditional practice of a lecturing faculty member who stands at a lectern in the front of the classroom and lets pearls of wisdom fall from his lips has been anathema to the modern facilitator who tries to use the combined knowledge and experience of the entire class to help students to learn the material.


When adults enter the classroom at the end of a long day of work, they are tired and often hungry. Lecturing leads to dozing. Active learning, on the other hand, gets students talking about the topic, comparing notes on how the theory has been or could be applied to their own positions or work environment, and in many ways raises the excitement in the classroom as students begin to see how they can apply something new when they go to work in the morning.

Active learning can include pairing students in dyads or using the entire class for discussions. (Depending on the size of the class as a whole, I personally favor groups of three or four.) They can debate about a case or solve a problem on any topic, from accounting to zoology. Many of our schools offer majors or programs in very practical subjects such as business, communications or criminal justice; the beauty of such disciplines is that facilitators can pull material from the daily news: “rip it from the headlines,” so to speak. Students themselves will bring in issues that they face in their own workplaces, discuss them in their groups, and sound brilliant the next day on the job when they offer a solution.

Other types of active learning include interactive exercises, role-playing, collaborative tests/quizzes/assignments and trial/failure opportunities with peer-support activities. While the students are engaged in these exercises, the facilitator should “hover” in each group throughout the evening if it is a F2F course or throughout the week if it is online. This allows for instant feedback and perhaps some guidance if necessary. As the tasks move from simple to complex, the students’ intellects will be stretched and their gratification at the amount they will have learned by the end of the course will be that much greater. Facilitators should make sure each student has the chance to present at some point during the session; everyone learns in a different way and if this is where one student excels, she should have the chance to exhibit that skill. In addition, many of today’s students prefer auditory learning to reading.

On another note, as we prepare for more and more millennials to enter our adult classrooms, we must recognize how differently-prepared they may be as far as the traditional skills of reading and writing. These students read less than those of us who are baby boomers; they write much less using formal styles but may text constantly. These two factors seem to have led to their lack of understanding of simple grammar and spelling rules, and their organizational skills for a lengthy assignment cause them to struggle to put a paper together. On the other hand, they may be bright and creative and view the world with originality and a surprising lack of skepticism (especially compared to someone like me who went to college in the ‘60s). Convincing them to write using normal conventions like subject-verb agreement and correct spelling can be quite a challenge sometimes, but well worth it for the quality of the final product. These students in particular may benefit from active learning since they appear to lack the skill of extended concentration.

Accelerated courses leave no time for “fluff”; every minute must be used to its full potential and this is why active learning is so important. Lectures are inadequate in this venue; interconnected activities lead to simultaneous learning and teaching as students work with one another. Good learning is social and students will retain better what they share with others than what they keep to themselves. As adults leave accelerated classes that have been filled with active learning, they will be able to use their new-found knowledge and skills as they arrive at work the next morning and as they move through their careers.

Patricia M. Ellis
2011/2012 CAP Board Chairman
Associate Dean of Accelerated Undergraduate Programs
Stevenson University

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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Could your Program or Institution Benefit from a Program Review based on the CAP Quality Standards?
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CAP unveiled its Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs in August of 2011. Since then, CAP’s Model for Good Practice in Accelerated Programs in Higher Education has assisted a handful of institutions by benchmarking the accelerated program/s/ against CAP’s Model for Good Practice. What does this process entail? Let’s take a closer look at Dr. Royce Ann Collins’ exemplary work in assisting these programs while sharing the details behind CAP’s Quality Standards:


  • The Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs and Model for Good Practice in Accelerated Programs in Higher Education were developed from best practices and research findings on accelerated programs for adult learners.
  • CAP member organizations are eligible to receive a Program Review according to the Quality Standards by an accelerated program expert. The Program Review includes a site visit and a report submitted to the institution according to the standards. The site visit is a 1 1/2 day event where the reviewer meets with the accelerated program director(s) and staff, the university leadership (including the President, Chief Academic Officer, and Chief Financial Officer), and liaison officers (financial aid, library, Registrar, career services, bookstore, student services), and faculty members and students. In addition, the visit should include an hour session observing a class session in the accelerated programs.
  • The institution’s accelerated program should complete a self-study according to the CAP Quality Standards and provide documentation for each of the nine areas. The materials should be prepared in a notebook and must be made available to the reviewer upon arrival the night before the site visit begins.
  • Within three weeks of the visit, the reviewer will send a report which will contain an evaluation of the accelerated program’s alignment with the CAP Quality Standards and suggestions for improvement (if applicable).


“We found the CAP Quality Standards review of our program to be extremely valuable. We received many helpful suggestions and feedback, and we would strongly recommend the process to other institutions. If you have an accelerated program and you are preparing for an accreditation report, you should contact CAP today and sign up for this review!”

Andra Basu, Ph.D.
Dean of Adult and Professional Studies
Albright College

“Mount Mercy University was one of the first schools to undergo the CAP quality standards review, and it turned out to be one of the best decisions we have ever made. The reviewer, Dr. Royce Ann Collins, spent two days with our school and staff members, learning and asking questions, and providing advice. The entire experience was not only affirming, but empowering and educational, as our efforts were recognized and reinforced, and our weaknesses were strengthened. The support we gained throughout the school, as a result of the review, has been tremendous. The senior administration and staff offices that support our accelerated program have developed a sense of pride in serving this student population, and we owe a great deal of credit to the CAP Quality Standards visit.”

Tom Castle
Interim Asst. Provost and Dean of Adult Programs
Mount Mercy University

If you are interested in scheduling a Program Review for your institution, please contact Royce Ann Collins at [email protected] or Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or [email protected].

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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CAP Research: Part-time or Adjunct Instructors Results
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CAP circulated a survey in November 2012 to find out how accelerated programs viewed the adjunct or part-time faculty who taught at their institution in the accelerated program. Twenty-nine institutions responded to the survey. The responding institutions represented five regional accrediting bodies: Higher Learning Commission (North Central), Middle States, Northwest Commission, Southern Association (SACS), and Western Association (WASC). The responses to the questions are discussed below.


  1. Many institutions with adult accelerated programs use faculty who are not full time employees. What do you name these faculty at your institution? (Examples: adjunct, part-time, associate)

79% just use the designation of Adjunct. Responses below:

Adjunct: 23
Part-time or Adjunct: 1
Affiliate Faculty: 1
Part-time: 2
Adjunct and Affiliate: 1
Facilitators, further designated by Adjuncts & Leads: 1

  1. Referring to the classification you listed above, does your institution give these faculty rank? (Example: assistant, associate, senior)

79% of the respondents do not give the adjunct/part-time faculty rank. Six institutions do give some kind of rank, as discussed in the question below.

  1. If you answered question #2 as Yes, would you please list the titles given?

The six respondents to this question have a variety of systems. Two simply use the ranks of Associate or Assistant. Two institutions use Instructor, Assistant, Associate, and Professor ranks. For one institution, the designation of Affiliate is higher in rank than Adjunct. Another institution uses the titles of Adjunct Instructor and Adjunct Professor. All the institutions discussed that the ranks meant a difference in pay or administrative responsibilities with the institution.

  1. Referring to the classification you listed above, does your institution classify this body of faculty as “part-time” employees eligible for benefits?

90% of the respondents do not classify adjunct/part-time faculty as eligible for benefits. Some regulated this by making sure that adjunct/part-time faculty do not work more than 1000 hours in a year or teach more than 9 semester credits in a traditional length semester. One institution stated that the adjuncts who “teach more a semester” may “BUY IN” to the health care benefits; however, the institution does not pay any benefits. Another institution stated that its adjuncts/part-time faculty were offered minimal input for retirement based on the amount of salary, but they accrued no sick leave and did not receive healthcare benefits. A couple of institutions allow adjunct/part-time faculty to take courses or faculty development workshops at no cost.

We greatly appreciate those who responded to the survey.

Food for thought: With the change in the healthcare regulations, it would be important for institutions using adjunct/part-time faculty to know exactly the number of credits taught and the estimated number of hours worked in a year.

Research conducted by, and article written by:
Royce Ann Collins, Ph.D.
Associate Professor – Adult Education
Department of Educational Leadership
Kansas State University
2012/2013 CAP Board Member & Former CAP Chair

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

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CAP Calendar 2013: Some Reminders from CAP’s Director!
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2013 has already started off as a very busy year for CAP! The CAP Board, the 2013 CAP Conference Planning Committee, and our partners at The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and The Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana (CALL) have been working hard developing and planning events that are relevant, timely, and important to you, our members and colleagues working in accelerated programs. Dawn covered many of these events in her Letter from the Chair above, and with so much going on in the next few months, here are some extra reminders to help you plan your time with CAP in the coming months:



2013 CAP Conference roundtable and workshop proposals are due on Friday, February 8th! Share your talent and expertise with members of your community! See for details.

CAP/CAEL Webinar – Developing an Accelerated Program, Wednesday, February 27, 2013, 1:00 p.m. – 2:30 p.m. Central Time. The link to registration can be found on the front page of the CAP Website.


CAP/CALL Regional Workshop – Accelerating Time to Degree Completion: Hybrid/Online & Competency-Based Models, March 6-7, 2013, Pennington Biomedical Research Center, Conference Facilities, Baton Rouge, LA. The link to registration can be found on the front page of the CAP Website.


Nominations for CAP’s 2013 Awards are due by April 1st! Don’t miss this opportunity to recognize Excellence in Teaching, Excellence in Innovation, and Excellence in Marketing. Winners will receive a complimentary pass to CAP’s 2013 Conference and will be awarded and recognized during the Conference Celebration Luncheon. This is one of my favorite CAP initiatives of the year!

Nominations for CAP’s 2013/2014 CAP Board of Officers will be due by April 30th. Please consider nominating a leader for this important role, or consider nominating yourself! For questions about what being on the CAP Board entails, call or email me at (303)964-5253 or [email protected].


CAP/CALL Webinar – Advising Adult Students. Date will be confirmed soon!


Sponsorship forms for CAP’s 2013 Conference are due by July 12th! Sponsorships begin at $150. Please consider sponsoring CAP in order to help CAP continue its service to members around the country! Sponsors are recognized at the conference, on the CAP Website, and in the CAP Newsletter. Sponsors are also listed in CAP’s Annual Report.

2013 CAP Conference – Navigating Acceleration: Use Assessment and Best Practices as your Compass! Pre-Conference Events: July 30th, Main Conference: July 31 – August 1st, Hotel and Hospitality Learning Center, Metropolitan State University of Denver. Opening Keynote Speakers: Drs. Raymond J. Wlodkowski & Margery B. Ginsberg, Constructing a Future for Accelerated Learning: A Motivational Architecture. The brochure and registration form will be available soon!

We hope to see you in 2013!

Jeannie McCarron
The Council for Accelerated Programs (CAP)
[email protected]

Posted by: Admin
on Tuesday, June 05, 2012

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CAP Unveils Model of Good Practice for Accelerated Programs in Higher Education
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This month CAP unveils its Model of Good Practice in Accelerated Programs in Higher Education that will assist accelerated programs with accreditation preparation and continuous program improvement. In a joint effort with two accrediting bodies, CAP has embedded its Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs in Higher Education into an easy-to-use resource that includes a self-evaluation grid and guidelines to assist program leaders in documenting and tracking progress in program evaluation. This Model allows institutions the opportunity to reaffirm their own good practices and to benchmark areas that may need improvement. The Quality Standards are broken down into nine critical areas:


  • Program Mission and Integrity
  • Leadership and Administration
  • Educational Offerings
  • Assessment and Program Evaluation
  • Faculty Appraisal, Support and Appreciation
  • Student Support Services
  • Planning and Resources
  • Facilities and Auxiliary Services
  • Program Marketing and Recruitment

Under the leadership of Dr. Royce Ann Collins, the next steps in this initiative will include conducting additional research about the Quality Standards and the Model of Good Practice. If you are interested in participating in this research, please contact Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or [email protected].

All current members of CAP will be receiving a copy of the Model of Good Practice by early February. Please look for a hard copy mailed to your address on file with CAP. Also, if you are in need of assistance in program evaluation or program improvement, CAP offers consulting services that can assist you in evaluating and implementing Quality Standards initiatives at your institution. Contact Jeannie McCarron for questions or additional information.

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, January 26, 2012

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A Practical Approach to Service Learning
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Service Learning was introduced into Regis’s academic conversation some 15 years ago. Fortunately, the term was broadly defined and examples covered a gamut, from group service learning projects to simple exercises, such as writing letters to editors. As faculty, we were encouraged to incorporate service learning into our courses, and I have done so ever since.


Now we have access to the rich resources of the CPS Office of Service Learning, capability directed by Amy Sheber Howard ([email protected]). The Regis website has links to “College for Professional Studies Office of Service Learning,” “Ignatian Collaborative for Service,” and “Volunteer Opportunities & Events in Denver.” The latter provides descriptions and contact information for 64 organizations. An excellent summary of the Regis definition of service learning, critical elements and faculty tips is found in a document on Insite by Bobbi Ewelt (May 2011), titled: “Service Learning Best Practices.”

Why Bring Service Learning into a Classroom?

Given that so few of my learners have heard of service learning, I imagine the question for many faculty members is why incorporate this form of intentional, experiential learning into a five-week or eight-week course? And, if faculty do, is it worth the effort?

I find service learning expands and enriches classroom experiences, grounds the Regis mission within the course, brings community into the classroom, engages active learning, enlivens a class – yes, even at 9 p.m. – changes lives, and provides an element of “surprise” in the course. Yes, it is worth the small investment of preparation time.

Introducing Service Learning into the Classroom

Working on the principle of “structured flexibility,” I recognize that our adult learners come to us at different phases of their lives, with varying demands on their time, and a range of personal and professional interests. For these reasons, I make service learning an option.

Discussion of Service Learning is an integral part of the course introduction during the first class meeting. I define and explain what service learning is, relative to the course, and the requirement for five hours, which must be divided into two sessions. This spacing of engagement allows added time for reflection on the community-based experience and the opportunity to return to the classroom with new questions.

I describe the expectations: framing the experience within the course concepts; learning from others in a community organization; accepting the assigned service duties of the group; reflecting about social justice issues in the experience; and tying specific experiential examples back into course content. I discuss the required structured service learning paper by providing a single-page handout on the writing requirements, sections, and points for this end-of-the-semester assignment.

A hard copy of the 64 organizations is made available to learners. I accept other groups that are often closer to learners’ homes. The major limiting criterion is that there can be no prior work and/or volunteer experiences with the selected organization. When asked about this limitation, I explain we are more attuned to our surroundings when walking into an unknown social environment than we are in a known environment. When a learner is accepted by one of the organizations, he/she completes the “Personal Safety & Property Release Form” (See above resources).

Balancing Fairness

Asterisks on specific weekly assignments show which ones are omitted if the service option is chosen. Trial and error is required to find the right balance in perceived fairness in the number of omitted written assignments with the required five hours of service learning.

What I recognize but do not emphasize is the added time and commitment it takes to make contact with the right person, set up a meeting, and, in some agencies, attend a short orientation. The additional time does not count towards the required five hours. The added time commitment does seem to increase the perception of worthiness of the service learning experience.

Coming Together

Students go out into the community, not as experts but as learners and servers. They enter into the life of the organization and the lives of some staff members and, sometimes, the lives of clients. Bringing their gained experiences and knowledge back into the classroom completes a pedagogical circle.

The structured service learning paper is equivalent in substantial grade points to a final course paper, or final case study, or project paper and must meet Regis’ standards of excellence. The required sections are specified, including one on social justice. The academic requirement is to reflect back on the experiences through the lenses of the course materials and articulate the linkages between experiences and course concepts. Citations to textbook concepts are required.

The service learning presentation is crucial and provides a type of peer-to-peer learning. It is impossible to share service learning experiences without discussing what the organization does, clients, and “case” examples. We all learn from the experiences.

Service learning presentations come alive in ways that typical course presentations do not. Quiet learners become animated in “telling the story.” Amazement, humor, pathos, and anger at policies are common reactions, as relatively privileged learners try to comprehend the lives of those who are struggling. In the presentations, respect is often paid to staff members who spend long hours with tight budgets helping so many.

As facilitator, I listen and ask questions, if necessary, to ensure a full presentation that includes: social justice (almost always covered), course content (“How did you relate your experiences to the course?); knowledge acquisition (“How did you get most of your information?”); and quality of the experience (“Knowing what you now know, would you do this again? Why?) I assess the quality of presentations including the depth and kinds of details provided.

Learner Motivations

Why do busy adult learners consider service learning? Motivations are mixed. There is the immediate desire by some to have fewer written assignments and/or do something different to earn course points. Other learners admit to being on the cusp about doing some sort of volunteering, and the service learning option is the incentive. Others have shared that they chose the option to set examples for their children. Still others have general knowledge of a particular group or organization, and the service learning activity provided a way to get inside and gain more information.

A Facilitator’s Reward

First-time adult learners approach the service learning instrumentally–a course assignment to get grade points. Few have any notion that the experience might change them, or others. Thus to hear a learner tell class members during the presentation, “I have signed up for additional hours and will be volunteering after the course ends,” or a class member state, “After listening to the presentations, I am going to do service learning if it is offered in a future course,” I know something transformative has occurred in the five or eight weeks. Driving home after the last night of class, I too can reflect that maybe, just maybe, the course had a small impact on lives of some learners–a facilitator’s reward.

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Returning to School: What Adult Students in Accelerated Programs Should Know
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As a professional undergraduate student advisor in an accelerated program, I am asked the same question over and over again from adult students who are returning to school to finish their education. Their question is, “What does it take to successfully complete an academic program?” It’s an appropriate question for a student who is embarking on a journey that could take up to seven years to complete. It is also one of the most challenging questions to answer accurately because there are so many variables that can thwart the noble intentions students may have about completing their education. Over the course of my career, I have found that the biggest challenge is that students oftentimes do not have realistic expectations about what’s really required to complete a degree program as an adult.


I have found that the best way to help students be successful is to be honest and direct with them about what it really takes to complete a degree program. I advocate a “Tell it like it is” approach during the first conversation with a new student so they don’t have any misconceptions about what it takes on the back end. I suggest to students that the key to completing a degree depends largely on how well they adhere to their academic program. After several years of being involved with these types of interactions, I have devised a set of talking points that I use to help the adult student understand what’s really required to successfully complete their education.

Talking Point #1: It takes as long as it takes.

Having a baby takes nine months. This is a process that cannot be sped up due to desire to get to the end result. Likewise, completing a 120-to-130-credit-hour program will take as long as it takes because you can only complete so many credit hours per semester. It’s not realistic to think that anyone can complete a 120-credit-hour degree program in 1 year. There simply isn’t enough time to accomplish such a task, given the time demands of jobs, family responsibilities and such. Helping students set realistic expectations is the first priority in putting them on the right track to successfully complete their programs.

Talking Point #2: Get your mind right.

Most adult students return to college with excitement and enthusiasm, as well as some apprehension about their abilities and skills. The one thing that is often lacking is the fact that it takes dedication and commitment to complete a degree. In other words, students can’t play softball, raise a family, maintain a job, and attend school—particularly not in an accelerated format. The reality is that students cannot do it all and expect exceptional results. Sacrifices must be made in order to be successful. Students should understand that it takes some time to study, read textbooks, write papers and attend classes. Schooling really can’t just “fit in” where one can find room.

Talking Point #3: Mind-reading doesn’t exist.

During the course of completing accelerated classes, students get frustrated that no one will call them when and if they are having a problem. Unfortunately, advisors haven’t learned to read minds nor do they have a crystal ball. Students should also not assume that they are the only student their advisor is assisting. Students need to know that the onus is on them to stay in contact with their advisor and to be willing to discuss any concerns with their educational experience.

This is also true of their classroom or online learning experiences. Adult students must take responsibility for reaching out for assistance—from their facilitators and/or their peers—when they are having difficulty.

Talking Point #4: Do not stray off the beaten path.

Each institution has designed a degree plan as a roadmap for students to follow to graduation. This road map is individually designed for students, based on a number of factors, such as chosen major, minor, transfer credits accepted and individual goals. It is not prudent for students to follow someone else’s academic program requirements even if it’s within the same major. The truth of the matter is that once students receive their academic plan they should follow it to the letter to ensure completing all requirements on time and within budget.

Talking Point #5: Change your major, change everything else.

Students often select their major based upon their current chosen career. Sometimes, as students progress through their courses, they discover that the academic program they’ve chosen doesn’t fit with their educational and/or career goals. This prompts an exploration into a different direction and possibly warrants a change of major. While changing a major can be as simple as flipping a switch, it’s important for students to understand that changing their major can impact their academic program requirements, costs, and timeline for graduation.

Talking Point #6: This is your degree; earn it.

Earning a degree as an adult student, particularly one in an accelerated program, takes commitment, dedication and perseverance. Grades can be a reflection of students’ commitment, dedication and perseverance. However, attending class regularly, completing and submitting assignments on time, as well as participating in discussions are just as important because actual learning comes from these activities. Students need to understand that sometimes they may not always receive a high grade for their work. But it’s just as important to have learned something new during the course.

Talking Point #7: Schedule time to plan.

Helping students understand their academic requirements is only the first step towards successfully completing a degree program. The second step is to help them understand and become familiar with the course schedule, particularly course offerings. To the dismay of most students, courses are not always offered when they want them. Encouraging students to make time to plan their schedules will ensure that they are able to enroll in the courses they need when they need them.

Talking Point #8: Not all instructors are the same.

I frequently hear students compare different instructors and they lament that they wish all instructors were like their favorite instructor. Students can learn to have an appreciation for their educational experience through a variety of instructors. Instructors have different expectations that students may or may not value. It’s also important for students to understand that they may not get along or agree with their instructor’s style of teaching. Nevertheless, it’s essential that students keep their educational experience in perspective. No one ever liked all of their professors; it’s just not possible.

Talking Point #9: The roof is not on fire.

Nothing ever goes as planned all the time. Problems are inevitable, but it’s important to convey to students that if they run into a problem, the best person to contact is their advisor and to do so sooner rather than later. During these situations, it’s best to take the “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” approach. In other words, students should tackle the problem head on when they discover the problem. This method will allow advisors to utilize every available option at their disposal as opposed to putting the advisor at a disadvantage because it’s too late to act.

Talking Point #10: My name is not on the diploma.

Finally, sometimes students get the impression that their advisor is completing the degree program with them. This is not the case. Students should keep in mind that their advisors are there to assist them, but not do the work for them. Students must take ownership and responsibility for their education. Since their name shows up on the diploma, they are required to do the work. Students demonstrate ownership by clearly understanding what’s required for them to complete their academic program. Similarly, students take responsibility if they deviate from their academic program.

George Bernard Shaw once said that “the single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” Having a direct and honest conversation about what it really takes to successfully complete an undergraduate degree as an adult and in an accelerated format will help to avert any misunderstandings. A frank discussion at the beginning of students’ educational journeys will help them to understand that, while they are completing their academic program on their own, they are not alone in the process.

Ramon A. Walker, M.A.
Undergraduate Advisor
Regis University, College for Professional Studies
Denver, CO

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Teaching Accounting in the Accelerated Learning Environment
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Accelerated learning programs were one of the fastest growing areas of higher education in the early 2000’s. These programs could be found in both non-traditional and traditional universities with faith-based universities taking the lead in the development of effective accelerated learning courses. These accelerated learning courses focused primarily on adult learners who needed to attain specialized training and advanced degrees in a short period of time.


Studies show that these adult learners brought a wealth of prior education, knowledge, and experience to the classroom. Combined with higher levels of focus and maturity than the younger traditional students, accelerated learning courses allowed them to achieve success at a faster pace. The higher levels of focus brought to the classroom by these students tend to be associated with the specific goals and objectives they have in mind when signing up for courses.

In accounting, students may or may not have prior experience in the field, may seek to become accountants or auditors, may come from the information systems area, and often seek to pass the CPA exam. In addition, a large number of accounting students seek to understand accounting in order to manage, consult, own or operate a wide variety of businesses, including non-profit ventures. To meet the needs of this diverse group of students, accelerated courses need be designed to provide knowledge and specialized skills in financial accounting, managerial accounting, and accounting information systems; taking into consideration specialized learning in taxation, auditing, non-profit, and governmental accounting, as well as other areas of accounting.

Successful accelerated accounting programs must to be designed and organized in a way that allows the instructor to cover the materials in the shortened time frame allowed, organized in a manner that reflects the way students will use the information, and provide an understanding of the current business environment where the learning will be used. Courses must provide students with competency over the course materials while providing sufficient practice (aka rigor) to allow students to use their skills in their daily lives while progressing toward long-term goals such as passing the CPA exam. In addition, as the learner progresses, the courses need to provide a review, new learning and practice, along with opportunities to strengthen critical thinking and analysis in “real world” situations.

The challenges associated with accelerated learning in accounting directly relate to the large amount of practice (rigor) required for students to have a thorough understanding of their topic, the complexity of accounting processes and regulations, the shortened time frame for absorption of the materials and practice, and the wide variety of topics that make up an accounting program. Some of these topics are found in all types of businesses, such as AIS, cost, payroll, revenue recognition, etc., with other topics such as non-profit and governmental accounting only utilized by accountants going into specific areas of accounting. Additional challenges include designing courses that provide learners with opportunities to apply this wide range of topics, with analysis and critical thinking, in a manner that prepares learners to make decisions and recommendations in volatile, unpredictable, and rapidly changing business environments. These challenges also provide exciting opportunities for the course developers working in accelerated learning programs and universities.

Wlodkowski, R.J. (2003). Accelerated Learning in Colleges and Universities, New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, Wiley Periodicals, Inc., 97, 5-15.
Barbee, R.F., Berkshire, S., Thiru, Y., Old Win in New Bottles, AIS at Warp Speed? The Adult Returning Student, Mesa State College and Alaska Pacific University.
Chia, R., (1996). Teaching Paradigm Shifting in Management Education University Business Schools and the Entrepreneurial Imagination. Journal of Management Studies, 33, 4, 409-428.

Dr. Mariteresa B. Glass, CPA
Affiliate Faculty , Accounting
Regis University
College for Professional Studies
Denver, CO

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, January 26, 2012

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2012 CAP Events!
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Please Join Us!


Option 1:
Speakers: Drs. Raymond Wlodkowski and Margery Ginsberg
Dates: May 3-4, 2012
Location: Edgewood College Deming Way Campus, 1255 Deming Way, Madison, Wisconsin.
For questions or to register, please visit:

Option 2:
Topic: TBD
Dates: October 8-9. 2012
Location: Keuka College, Keuka Park, New York 14478

For questions about any of the upcoming Regional Meetings, please contact Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or [email protected].


The Future of Accelerated Programs: Quality Standards, Technology and Innovation
August 3rd & 4th, 2012
Pre-Conference Events: August 2nd
Metropolitan State College of Denver


Quality Standards for Accelerated Programs: Research & Model of Good Practice
Dr. Royce Ann Collins
Assistant Professor – Adult Education
Kansas State University

The Future University: Key Components to Success that are Relevant to Accelerated Programs
Dr. Mary Landon Darden
Dean, San Antonio Center
Concordia University Texas

2012 Adult Student TALK Research
Dr. Brenda Harms
Associate Vice-President
Stamats, Inc.

Pre-Conference Workshop Topics:

Accelerated Programs 101
How to Effectively Recruit & Hire Faculty for an Accelerated Program
Faculty Development in Accelerated Programs
Marketing Strategies to Increase Enrollment
The Art of Teaching Adult Students
Data-Driven Decision Making for Quality Improvement
Integrating Technology into Accelerated Courses

For additional information, please visit the front page of the CAP Website at, or contact Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or [email protected]

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, January 26, 2012

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Toward Anxiety-Free Assessment
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Editor’s Note: Besides accreditation, one area of great interest in CAP as well as in all of higher education is assessment. All regional accrediting bodies and the DOE expect all of our institutions to have been assessing for some time now. CAP will continue to run articles on assessment in the future. Here are some thoughts about the topic from an institutional assessor.

I recently attended the 2010 Assessment Institute in Indianapolis, IN, where I had the opportunity to hear Linda Suskie (of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education) talk about the purpose of assessment. Among other things, she stressed the importance of assessment to find out what our students know and what they can do. And, if we are not satisfied with what our students know and can do, what are we prepared to do about it? To me, it was the exact message that is needed to help cut through the quagmire that assessment is often perceived to be.


Obviously, as a VP for MSCHE, Ms. Suskie is well aware of the need to assess in order to satisfy accrediting agencies. But the fact that her comments encouraged us to think about the real reasons that we assess spoke volumes for me. Too often we (or, our reluctant colleagues) think we are only engaging in assessment as we gear up for our next accreditation visit, or assume that we can take a respite from assessment once we have completed a successful accreditation visit. It is important to keep the assessment wheels on the tracks and moving forward.

What do our students know? What can they do? If we are not satisfied with that answer, what are we prepared to do about it? These questions in and of themselves go far in helping guide our assessment initiatives. In a time of limited resources, how do we know or how do we decide if a particular assessment effort is worth the time and money? We should ask ourselves what a particular assessment effort will tell us about what students know or what they can do, and if the information we’ll get from the assessment will help guide us to the next step. The quality and usefulness of the information we’ll get should be a significant factor in deciding which assessment efforts to spend our time and money on.

At Stevenson University, we engage in a number of regular practices that help us know what our student know, what they can do and how they feel about certain aspects of campus life. Some initiatives are campus-wide, some are specific to individual academic programs and administrative units, and some are specific to individual courses or initiatives within administrative units.

Campus-wide, we regularly use national surveys like the National Survey of Student Engagement or the Noel-Levitz Student Satisfaction Survey to gain insight on students’ perceptions of various aspects of student life. Our School of Graduate and Professional Studies currently has plans in place to use the version of the Noel-Levitz designed for adult learners in the coming semester. We also use the ETS Proficiency Profile to assess students’ levels of proficiency upon entering the institution and we administer it again at the midpoint of their academic careers. We tend to use these types of tools in alternate years to save on cost, to prevent overwhelming our students with too many assessments going on at once, and because – assuming no major changes in campus practices or policies – it is unlikely that we will see substantial changes from one year to the next.

At the program level, Stevenson University implements a regular cycle of program reviews, requiring each department to complete its own self-study every five years. And, annually, all academic departments and administrative units are required to submit an assessment plan and an end-of-year assessment reflecting on the success of their various projects that year.

Similar to many other colleges and universities, Stevenson uses on-line course evaluations to gather student perceptions about individual courses. These student ratings are, of course, above and beyond strategies employed by the individual faculty members to assess student success in their courses.

In 2008, we started hosting our annual Assessment Expo which is free of charge and open to faculty and staff of other colleges and universities in our area. We use the assessment expos to provide an anxiety-free zone for attendees to share their assessment experiences (successes and failures) and to share ideas. The first two were great experiences and we look forward to hosting our third expo in March of 2011. See our call for proposals here:

Happy Assessing!

Written By:
Jo-Ellen Asbury, Ph.D., Assistant VP, Academic Affairs
Stevenson University

Posted by: Admin
on Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Effective Enrollment for Adult Learners
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Written by Clayton Steen, Director of Enrollment for the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Stevenson University

The uniqueness of college enrollment for adult learners often requires a separate enrollment management team dedicated to this population. Adult learners select their college based on very specific criteria that can even be contradictory from one prospective student to the next. Features such as accelerated or online can appeal to tech-savvy Generation X working professionals handling multiple tasks while setting their own priorities. This can, however, be extremely unappealing to some Baby Boomers who want to update their skills but prefer the more clearly defined structure and team environment attributed to onsite courses.

These variances pose many interesting challenges for marketing adult programs. Marketing materials that are wordy, too high tech, or that have pictures of traditional-aged students may drive adults away to the next college. Many prospective adult students are comparing numerous colleges and universities at the same time and using the highlights from each institution. This knowledge has resulted in each institution’s declaring that its programs are adult focused, flexible, accelerated, and designed to prepare their students for tomorrow’s jobs.

Despite these strong assertions, many adult learners are even more concerned whether their current skills are sufficient enough to keep up, or if their past academic learning experiences have become outdated. They prefer to take courses with their peers confident that their opinions will be valued. Marketing materials that show traditional-aged students send the message that the adults will be the only non-teens in their classes, rendering their experiences useless or at least less valued.

Adult learners rarely express their apprehensions about returning to college, preferring rather to “choose with their feet” by applying to numerous colleges prior to making an informed decision. These adults then approach the enrollment process similar to how they purchase a home or car. Many of these applicants fall prey to the “he who contacts first wins” strategy adopted by many of the for-profit admissions departments. The enrollment discussion often becomes a negotiation of the number of transfer credits accepted, how quickly the degree can be completed or how easy they find the admissions process. Initially, these applicants succumb to the “remove all barriers” to buying rather than focusing on the substantive factors for selecting a college or university such as the quality of faculty, cost/value, or resources available. Adult learners, however, are also well-informed consumers, so the initial “sales” approach to enrollment management eventually loses out to the “customer service” approach adopted by enrollment counselors who learn to relate to the consumer.

As indicated earlier, adult learners select their college based on very specific criteria; therefore, an effective adult learner enrollment counselor has to be more of a counselor and follow the “80-20 rule.” This is accomplished by allowing the adult learner to speak 80% of the time while the enrollment counselor speaks only 20%. During this discussion, the adult learners will express their interest in learning more about the features of the institution but ultimately will select the college based on its benefits. For example, several different prospective students might express concerns about taking an online course. One adult may be worried about the technology involved, while another may have several small children at home. Adult learners will eventually select the college whose enrollment counselor has allowed them to share their concerns and who assures them that online technical support is available or that they can log on at anytime to do their studies. The effective enrollment counselor, therefore, must develop a rapport before explaining the admissions process, reviewing course descriptions, discussing the quality of the faculty, and informing the prospective adult student of costs and financial aid options.

Posted by: Admin
on Monday, June 28, 2010

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2010 CAP Conference, July in Denver!
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And here is more information about its content: The 2010 CAP Conference will focus on Implementing Best Practices in Accelerated Learning on July 22-23, 2010, at Metropolitan State College of Denver. This year’s exciting event will highlight four major themes:

  • Marketing Accelerated Programs
  • Prior Learning Assessment
  • Online and Affordable Textbook Solutions for Accelerated Learners
  • Preparing for Accreditation

This year’s event will also feature roundtable sessions that will focus on areas such as: Marketing/Recruitment; Academic Advising; Faculty Development; Retention; Assessment; Admissions/Student Services; Curriculum; Online/Hybrid Accelerated Learning; Technology in Accelerated Learning; and Research in Accelerated Learning.

CAP will also be offering two pre-conference workshops this year, both on July 21st, 2010. The first workshop, Accelerated Programs 101, will be a half-day workshop for those newer to accelerated learning who wish to attend a condensed ‘boot camp’ on the “how to’s” of accelerated learning. The second workshop, Faculty Development in Accelerated Programs, will be a full-day workshop that will address topics such as Accelerated Teaching Methodology; Hiring and Assessing New Faculty; Training, Continuous Development, and Evaluation of Faculty; and, Faculty Scheduling/Faculty Load.

From the Brochure: Plenary sessions and speakers:

As professionals who work with adult students, we all tend to wonder what is on their minds as they are selecting an institution to attend. In 2008, and then again in 2009, Stamats set out to answer that question, and many others, in its national survey of adult students. In this presentation, a review and comparison of the 2008/2009 Adult Students TALK™ study will be shared with participants in an effort to better inform those professionals who work most closely with them of the motivations and barriers that face this unique population. In addition, information regarding their use of social media, where they go to find out about their college options, and the college attributes that most influence their decision will be shared with participants to enrich the conversation about the opportunities they each have before them.

This session will be presented by Dr. Brenda Harms, an experienced higher education administrator and marketer who has built her entire academic career specializing in the adult student population. She offers a unique perspective having served this population in academic and administrative roles at a branch campus, as well as experience in classroom and online course development and instruction. Dr. Harms is active in the higher education community as a consultant to several institutions, a frequent speaker at national conferences, and author of the book Up to Speed: Marketing to Today’s Adult Student. As a Principal Client Consultant at Stamats, she leads the firm’s adult student marketing initiative.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) has recently completed a multi-institutional PLA research study. CAEL’s Diana Bamford-Rees will share the findings from 62,475 students at 48 postsecondary institutions that show 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.

Diana Bamford-Reese currently serves as Associate Vice President for The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL); she is based in CAEL’s Philadelphia office. Diana’s responsibilities include management of CAEL’s
Higher Education member services, including the annual CAEL International Conference, Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) training workshops and webinars, and higher education publications. Diana also serves as CAEL’s liaison to the CAP Board. Since the founding of CAEL in 1974, she has held numerous positions in the organization. Prior to assuming the position as Associate Vice President in 2004, Diana worked – for almost five years – as CAEL’s representative in South Africa where she provided technical assistance for the design and implementation of a comprehensive workforce development model for South African workers.

PLA can take several forms. Dawn Spaar from Elizabethtown College will share the “Best Practices” that have worked successfully for hundreds of adult learners as provided through one small liberal arts college. The EXCEL Program, instituted at Elizabethtown College, uses PLA in the form of course equivalency proposals or CEPs. The pros & cons of this program will be discussed and shared with participants.

Dawn Spaar, Associate Dean of the Center for Continuing Education and Distance Learning of Elizabethtown College in central Pennsylvania, is a specialist in assessment of adult student learning. For eight years, she has run the Center’s EXCEL Program, which is a degree-completion program for adult learners with prior learning experience in the field in which they are pursuing their degree. Learners receive credits for professional life-experiences. Since its inception in the 1970s, the EXCEL Program has graduated hundreds of adult learners and has provided an attractive alternative process for adults in a structured, yet flexible format. Dawn’s other responsibilities include the operations, strategic planning – including the development of new undergraduate programs, and curricular content for the Center which includes four regional locations and Internet-based courses. She manages course scheduling, facilitator course assignments, and the hiring, training and mentoring of part-time facilitators. She currently facilitates both business and liberal arts courses, including the capstone course. She holds both an MBA from Eastern University and an M.Ed. degree from the Pennsylvania State University.

Open content has been identified by business, education, and technology leaders as one of the most important near-term trends in education and technology, including a citation of Flat World Knowledge for key contributions in this area. Eric Frank, Founder and President of Flat World Knowledge, will examine the open content trend with a specific focus on the advantages for accelerated learners’ programs including:

  • Affordability: free online editions and low-priced digital &
    print editions for financially strapped students.
  • Accessibility: “always on, always available” content for
    busy students in accelerated learning programs.
  • Choice: multiple formats for the multiple learning styles
    of adult learners.
  • Convenience: end coordination problems with bookstores
    –books delivered to student doorsteps.
  • Flexibility: customize our textbook content to meet the
    unique course needs of accelerated courses.

This session will provide an update on the tremendous progress open textbooks have made during the last year—significantly impacting current textbook affordability issues with free, low-cost and open licensed textbooks that meet the needs of all constituencies involved in accelerated learning programs.

Eric Frank is co-founder and President of Flat World Knowledge, a venture capital-backed company publishing free and openly licensed college textbooks. Eric has 16 years of experience in higher education publishing, having held positions in sales, editorial, and marketing at Thomson (now Cengage) and Prentice Hall, a division of Pearson Education. Prior to starting Flat World, Eric was Director of Marketing for Prentice Hall Business Publishing. Eric is a frequent speaker at conferences on the subjects of college affordability, innovative business models, open-source publishing, and the transformation of the publishing and media industries. He has been quoted in the New York Times, USA Today, US News & World Report, Time, Wired, NPR, Publishers Weekly, and numerous other media outlets.

Panelists will share their experiences as accreditation evaluators and self-study leaders. This interactive session will provide a venue for questions and answers for accelerated program leaders who will be preparing for their accreditation visits. Those who have recently completed their accreditation process are also highly encouraged to attend in order to share experiences and best practices.

Prof. Patricia Ellis has her BA from Western Maryland College (now McDaniel), her MBA from Frostburg University, and her JD from Catholic University of America. She has chaired a division and designed a bachelor’s program, taught full time for about 15 years, and currently is the Associate Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies (GPS) at Stevenson University, formerly villa Julie College. Pat has published and presented at national conferences and elsewhere, including a CAP workshop for CALL on recruitment in 2009. She is currently the Vice Chair of CAP’s Executive Board, and she chaired the CAP Subcommittee on Best Practices and also the Awards Subcommittee in 2009. In 2007 she was granted one of the inaugural CAP awards for Excellence in Teaching.

Dr. J. Steven Jacobs, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, has held various leadership roles at Regis University over the past 22 years. After 18 years in the College for Professional Studies, which serves adult learners, Steve was asked to lead the ten-year reaccreditation of the University with the Higher Learning Commission, which occurred in February 2008 and resulted in another ten years of accreditation. He wears many hats today, including strategic planning, accreditation, academic governance and other projects within Regis and in concert with other Jesuit universities worldwide.

Dr. Jim Martin has been the Associate Dean of Academics at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College since October 2006. The Staff College is one of the Army’s two graduate institutions and responsible for the education of mid-grade officers throughout the Army. Prior to assuming the position as Associate Dean, Dr. Martin served as a member of the Staff College’s faculty, along with a stint on the teaching faculty at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Dr. Martin was an active duty Army officer for 22 years and since retirement has served as the Director of Instruction for Baker University’s School of Professional and Graduate Studies and then consecutively as the Associate Dean of the College of Adult and Professional Studies and the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs for Friends University. Professional activities include accreditation work for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association and the Joint Staff. Dr. Martin holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Kentucky and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in American History from The University of Texas at Austin.
Programs in Higher Education

The fees for the conference and pre-conference events are as follows:
Member Non-Member
CAP Conference $395.00 $700.00
CAP Pre-Conference AP101 $95.00 $149.00
CAP Pre-Conference – Faculty Dev. $175.00 $230.00
Attending Conference + AP101 $450.00 $750.00
Attending Conference + Faculty Dev. $515.00 $800.00

We hope you will join us for this singular opportunity to network, share ideas, and help advance and advocate accelerated education worldwide.

For questions or additional information, please contact Jeannie McCarron at (303)964-5253 or [email protected]. You can also visit the front page of the CAP Network Website at for additional information and periodic updates.

Posted by: Admin
on Monday, June 28, 2010

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The STATE of CAP: A letter from the Chair, Royce Ann Collins, Ph.D.
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CAP is off to a great start in 2010. We have fulfilled o­ne consulting request and are working o­n another to be delivered in a few months. The transition from having CAEL manage the membership to having CAP manage the membership has been very smooth. We thank Diana Bamford-Rees and Kelsey Irish from CAEL for valuable assistance and continued support through this step in the life of CAP.
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Comments from some members who attended the 2009 Annual Conference in Chicago
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The 2009 Conference was outstanding as usual. The plenary sessions on assessment and the future of accelerated programs were excellent. Undoubtedly the best things I take away each year are the content and conversations from the smaller breakout sessions. In these, we get to learn up-to-date and valuable information but more importantly, we get to establish and cultivate relationships with colleagues from across the country. This is what makes CAP such a great organization. I have also attended other specialized CAP conferences over the past few years and they have been a tremendous asset to my professional learning and practice. I am certainly looking forward to attending the National CAP Conference in July 2010! CAP has been an invaluable resource for me and I could go on even more about what a great group it is as well as the administrative team behind the scenes (Jeannie and company).

Gordon Jorgenson III, M.A.
Assistant Professor
Director, Human Development
Center for Adult and Professional Studies
Azusa Pacific University
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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THOUGHTS ON WORKING WITH ADULT LEARNERS – Written by Martha Kudak, Director and Chair, Adult Success through Accelerated Programs (ASAP), Inver Hills Community College
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I remember attending an adult learner workshop nearly 20 years ago. The most prominent tip I received was to be intrusive with this population. I have used that wisdom ever since and find it is one thing that adults in college need. These students are new to higher education or are returning after a long hiatus and do not have the confidence in themselves to survive. It is up to me as an educator to help them gain that confidence and help them find their voices, so that they will flourish in that educational environment.
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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2010 CAP Conference will focus on Implementing Best Practices in Accelerated Learning
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We are delighted to announce the 2010 CAP Conference, Implementing Best Practices in Accelerated Learning, July 22-23, 2010, at Metro State College of Denver. This year’s exciting event will highlight four major themes:

  • Marketing Accelerated Programs
  • Prior Learning Assessment
  • Online and Affordable Textbook Solutions for Accelerated Learners
  • Preparing for Accreditation
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Committee Highlight: BEST PRACTICES
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This past year was exciting for the BP committee, but first, some background. In 2006, CAP started several committees and this was one of them, headed by Cathleen Greiner. Besides having committee members trading ideas with each other, she wanted to offer the entire CAP membership a Handbook for Best Practices in Accelerated Learning that would be filled with Best Practices and ideas that we could share to make all of our programs the best they could be.
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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CAP Partners with Flat World Knowledge, Inc. to Provide Members Access to Affordable Online Textbooks
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In its continuous effort to provide access to higher learning to underserved learner populations, CAP has entered a partnership with Flat World Knowledge, Inc., an online provider of open-licensed textbooks. CAP’s goal with this partnership is to help students in accelerated programs overcome the cost barrier of attending college by offering affordable (including free) textbook solutions.
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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Most if not all of our CAP members work in degree-granting institutions of higher learning that are accredited by regional groups such as the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association, or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE).

Part of the Mission of the MSCHE, which appears on its website as well as in its publications, states that it “is a voluntary, non-governmental, membership association that is dedicated to quality assurance and improvement through accreditation via peer evaluation.” Such “accreditation instills public confidence in institutional mission, goals, performance, and resources through its rigorous accreditation standards and their enforcement.”

While such groups have been in place for almost a century, over the last decade, changes emanating from the US Department of Education’s Office of the Inspector General have put even these bastions of high standards and rigor to the test. Today, it is more important than ever for our regional accrediting bodies to ensure that our institutions are compliant not only with their Standards of Excellence, but also with federal and our own state laws and regulations. It is no longer enough to consider only if faculty can teach so that students can learn; we must be accountable for student outcomes as well as proper assessment of our entire organizations.

The following are three articles about accreditation from three points of view: chairing the Self Study committee as an institution prepares for the site visit, being a site visitor, and making the final decision about the institution’s accreditation.

Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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CHAIRING THE SELF-STUDY COMMITTEE FOR AN ACCREDITATION VISIT – Written By J Stephen Jacobs, Assistant Vice President for Academic Affairs, Regis University
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To be chosen to lead the ten-year reaccreditation institutional Self-Study study process is both an honor and a challenge. Have your doctor prescribe an ample supply of Xanax. Yet there are many rewards. Those asked to lead this task in the end have a superb view of the University and a privileged appreciation of the talent and commitment of its faculty, staff, and students.

As we all know, regional accreditation is increasingly important and stringent in our universities, with a renewed emphasis on assessment of student learning. I’m told that most of the follow-up visits and reports required by the Higher Learning Commission, as one regional example, focus on these areas of assessment. Furthermore, if there is one thing I would emphasize again and again – document, document, document. If you say it’s true, prove it. It also helps to have on your Self-Study team someone who is seasoned in accreditation visits to other institutions. Happily, Regis’ Academic Vice President and several deans had ample experience. These people will have good instincts as to what is needed and not. Also, gather other Self-Studies and talk to those authors as it will help your team decide how to proceed. Finally, we chose to have the chair be the final author of the document so that it would read as one voice, which received praise from the reviewers.

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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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BEING A SITE VISITOR ON AN ACCREDITATION VISIT – Written by Patricia M. Ellis, Associate Dean, Accelerated Undergraduate Programs Stevenson University, School of Graduate and Professional Studies
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Being a site evaluator for the last twenty or so years has been a wonderful learning experience! First was the training, then being chosen to be on a team, reading the loooonnnggg Self-Study documents and designing my questions. (At first, I had no clue what to ask! My Dean gave me guidance.)

My first experience on a site visit team was great, but another member kept saying, “At my school, we….” I was very upset since that was not our job; we were supposed to see if the school was doing what it said it was doing, not try to convince anyone to do it “our” way. My next experience was to check out a “for profit” department of a non-profit college. I had never heard of “for profit” in education! The representatives from that organization offered the team members jobs and wanted to do the same thing with our schools that they had done for this one. We turned them in.

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Posted by: Admin
on Thursday, March 25, 2010

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Azusa Pacific University Center for Adult and Professional Studies