Student Tips for Competency-based Education

March 3, 2015

U.S. News and World Report published an article today about competency-based education and four factors prospective students should take into account before enrolling in a program. Both John Scafide, a recent FlexPath graduate, and Kim Pearce, Capella’s academic quality analytics and accreditation director, were interviewed for the piece.

FlexPath BS in Business Grad, John S

John Scafide (featured previously on the podcast) had positive things to report about his experience with competency-based education and valuable advice for prospective students, saying, “If you have that mentality, that you want to learn, you will learn and you will learn a lot.”

PEARCE_Kimberly

Kim Pearce discussed the importance of support services for students enrolled in a competency-based program. “They need to know if there are academic advisers or tutors – they should expect a high level of service even though they get to maintain the pace of their progress.”

Check out the article here.

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Countdown to commencement in D.C.

March 2, 2015

Next weekend we will be hosting our 28th commencement in Washington, D.C. at the Washington, D.C. Hilton hotel. Like I’ve said in previous blog posts about commencement – speaking with graduates and hearing their stories is one of the best parts of my job.

I’m also really excited about the speakers at each of our ceremonies. This year, we will be having four ceremonies. Speaking at the first two ceremonies is Melody Barnes, CEO of Melody Barnes Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm, and Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives and Senior Fellow at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. Speaking at the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Science ceremony will be veteran political strategist Donna Brazile, an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist and television political commentator.

Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who represents Illinois’ 8th Congressional District, will be speaking at the School of Public Service Leadership & School of Nursing and Health Science ceremony Saturday evening. Congresswoman Duckworth will also be celebrating her own graduation from Capella – she is graduating with her PhD in Human Services!

This will be one of Capella’s largest commencement ceremonies, with more than 1200 graduates planning to attend. They are part of a graduating class of almost 4000 students; including the United States, 6 countries will be represented, and 44 states and 6 territories/military addresses will make up the U.S. attendance.

School of Education Commencement Ceremony & School of Business and Technology Commencement Ceremony

9:00 am EST / noon EST

Melody Barnes

Melody Barnes

Addressing the School of Education and School of Business and Technology graduates will be Melody C. Barnes, CEO of Melody Barnes Solutions LLC, a domestic strategy firm, and Vice Provost for Global Student Leadership Initiatives and Senior Fellow at the Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service at New York University. Ms. Barnes also serves as a Senior Director at the Albright Stonebridge Group, a global strategy firm; Chair of the Aspen Institute Forum for Community Solutions; and on the Board of Directors of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Year Up, and Ventas, Inc. From January 2009 until January 2012, she was Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council.

Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Science

2:30 pm EST

DonnaBrazile

Donna Brazile

Addressing the Harold Abel School of Social and Behavioral Science graduates will be veteran political strategist Donna Brazile, an adjunct professor, author, syndicated columnist and television political commentator. Brazile’s passion is encouraging young people to vote, to work within the system to strengthen it, and to run for public office. Since 2000, Brazile has lectured at over 125 colleges and universities across the country on such topics as “Inspiring Civility in American Politics,” Race Relations in the Age of Obama, Why Diversity Matters, Women in American Politics: Are We There Yet.”

School of Public Service Leadership & School of Nursing and Health Science

5:00 pm EST

Duckworth

Congresswoman Duckworth

Addressing the School of Public Service Leadership & School of Nursing and Health Science graduates will be Congresswoman Tammy Duckworth, who represents Illinois’ 8th Congressional District. In her first term, Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran and former Assistant Secretary of Veterans Affairs, was appointed to the Armed Services Committee, Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi. She introduced various pieces of legislation, including bills that assist veterans in their transition to the private sector, cut waste and fraud at the Pentagon and throughout government, extend maternity leave for women serving in the military, reduce fines for federal paperwork infractions made by small businesses and eliminate abuses in the veterans benefit system. Duckworth continues to be a strong voice for her neighbors in Congress, advocating for the practical solutions and cooperation that is needed to move our country forward.

Capella holds commencement ceremonies twice each year: in Minneapolis each August, and in another major U.S. city each February or March.

Capella will provide live and archived webcasts of the ceremony (www.capella.edu/watchcommencement) for graduates, family and friends who are unable to attend in person. Join the celebration using the hashtag #CapellaGrad. 

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(PODCAST) Jacob Sullivan: Advice on succeeding in the FlexPath program

February 25, 2015

In my latest podcast, I speak with another FlexPath learner, Jacob Sullivan. Jacob recently graduated with his bachelor’s in in business administration through our FlexPath program and is walking at our commencement in a week and a half. He is also currently enrolled in the FlexPath MBA program.

Jacob Sullivan headshot

Jacob earned his associate’s degree at a community college before transferring to a traditional 4-year university. Like so many students, the traditional program was not a good fit for him and he stopped progressing with his education. Jacob works full time and needed to be able to stay in his career while earning his degree, so his goal was to find a program where he could get the education he needed at his own pace. That’s when he found Capella.

In today’s podcast, Jacob gives great advice to those who are thinking about enrolling in a FlexPath program or who are already in the program but may need a little guidance. He also talks about the value he’s found in Capella’s community, and how the MBA program is going so far.

You can find the podcast here.

Transcript

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Education for Mid-Career Transitions

February 23, 2015

Richard Eisenberg wrote an article in Forbes last week about how colleges are failing to create degree programs for the baby boomer generation. Instead, the vast majority of higher education institutions offer programs primarily geared to 18 -21 year old students. He argues that programs marketed toward adults are often expensive and elite (at Harvard and Stanford, for example) or are an offshoot of a program that is still geared toward youth and doesn’t meet the needs of an adult learner. Eisenberg’s article really drives home that what we think of as “the average student” is changing rapidly.

Eisenberg mentions that offering credits to adult learners for “knowledge areas and skills they’ve picked up” would be an important innovation for a population that doesn’t have time or money to waste on skills they already know. Capella’s competency-based FlexPath program is designed to do much of what Eisenberg discusses. It allows a motivated professional adult the ability to demonstrate and get credit for what they know and fill in the gaps that they need for a new degree.

What makes FlexPath and the other degree programs at Capella even more dynamic and well-suited to the baby boomer generation is the support that we provide to learners. As mentioned in the article, this particular generation is going through a transition: a new career, or a new way to contribute to the community. Capella, of course, has career-specific resources, such as career counseling, but we also provide coaches and academic advisors to all enrolled learners. Part of a coach’s role is to help students explore their interests, set goals, and serve as a resource for them as they move through their degree program. What I hear most from our FlexPath learners especially is how much their coach has helped them throughout their time at Capella.

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(PODCAST) School for the Working Adult: Tracy’s FlexPath Experience

February 17, 2015

In my latest podcast, I speak with FlexPath learner and soon to be graduate, Tracy Dudley. Tracy will be attending our commencement in March in D.C.

Photo of Tracy Dudley

Tracy has worked for the Department of Veteran Affairs for over 26 years and decided to go back to school to get her degree because she felt professionally incomplete without one. Tracy speaks about how FlexPath was a great fit for her as a working adult and how she was able to move at her own pace toward degree completion. She discusses that even with over two decades of professional experience; she still learned new competencies that translate to her day-to-day work. Tracy also talks about the support she received in the program that helped her achieve her goal of graduation. Check out the podcast here.

Transcript

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