It’s clear higher-education isn’t on spring break this week. I am seeing a lot of news covering everything from competency-based learning to financial aid. Capella is in the news as well – take a moment to read through this week’s top stories:
- Capella was mentioned in Paul Fain’s piece today in Inside Higher Ed for our participation in the Gate’s Foundation study on adaptive learning.
-Capella’s education partner Sophia was featured by eSchool News as a free resource for flipping the classroom.
Online students have many different needs, expectations, and priorities than more traditional students. Transparency and accountability are critically important in higher education—especially for adults going back to school. Adult students usually have many other time commitments, so they need to know exactly what they’ll learn, how they’ll be able to use that knowledge, and that the investment they’re making in their education is worth it.
When you’re talking about the best moments on the job for a Capella faculty member or employee, it’s hard to beat a Capella commencement.
Capella commencement: A Family Affair
Every year, we have summer commencements in July or August at our home in the Twin Cities. Every spring, we hold a commencement ceremony at a rotating location for our widely dispersed graduates. Last weekend, the Capella community descended on Long Beach, California for one of the largest commencement ceremonies in our history. What a weekend it was!
It began with a chance for graduates to spend time with the professors who have worked with them along their journey at a meet-and-greet reception on Friday afternoon. For some learners and faculty, this was the first time they’ve had an opportunity to see each other face-to-face. It was a special experience to see graduates connecting with the faculty who have guided and supported them along their educational journey. I saw a lot of smiles from graduates and a few tears from faculty members. The faculty meet-and-greet was followed by a reception for our military graduates where Capella University President Scott Kinney announced a plan to support current Capella learners who are having their military tuition assistance eliminated as a result of federal budget cuts.
A proud Capella family
On Friday night, graduates and their families gathered with the Capella University Board and faculty for a dinner and celebration—complete with music and a mini-commencement ceremony for the children of our Capella graduates. It’s hard to go to a commencement and not be struck by the unique make-up of Capella’s learner population, by and large, working adults juggling family, career and dreams. I’m especially proud to be part of an institution that has commencement activities for the children of the graduates. It is another testament that the educational journey of our graduates is truly a family affair.
Capella’s commencement ceremony in Long Beach, Calif.
Saturday was the big day—it was time for the commencement ceremonies. Our commencement speaker was Jeannette Walls, author of the memoir, The Glass Castle. She delivered a poignant message about overcoming life’s challenges, staying true to who you are, and reaching behind yourself to help others along their journey. It hit the perfect note for Capella’s adult graduates.
Our CEO Kevin Gilligan likes to say that when someone is truly happy, they smile with their eyes. We saw a lot of people smiling with their eyes on Saturday. I was especially touched by the family of April Folgert, who sat behind me at commencement. Her husband, son and daughter had traveled from Milwaukee for the event. They spotted April as soon as she processed in, kept careful tabs on her as she made her way to the stage, and cheered as loudly as they could when she walked across the stage and received her doctoral degree in Education. When we spoke afterwards, they were filled with pride for their mom and her accomplishment.
Meeting with Capella graduate, Laurie McIntosh and her husband after the ceremony
The best part of the ceremony for me was going outside afterwards to see the graduates reunite with their families. Many smiles and tears. I especially enjoyed connecting with Capella graduate Laurie McIntosh with the Society for Human Resources Management. We kept finding different things we had in common (including the fact that her husband and I are both Creighton graduates who are going to be pulling for the Jays this weekend!).
I also had the pleasure to meet with graduate Tharinia Dukes Robinson, a California local who overcame many obstacles on her journey to complete her PhD degree in Criminal Justice. She shared exciting news that shortly after completing her degree, she was offered a faculty position with Piedmont College in their Criminal Justice program.
Capella graduates reuniting with their families after the commencement ceremony
It is truly remarkable to have the opportunity to capture and witness so many touching stories of joy and perseverance. I took more pictures than I can possibly post, but I’ve shared a few throughout.
Finally, a HUGE “thank you” to the commencement leadership team, volunteers and social media team. It was a very special weekend to be part of the Capella family.
Capella has been working on a number of innovative methods to positively impact our learner population. Two stories were highlighted today in the media:
-Paul Fain’s article “Beyond the Credit Hour” discusses the work Capella, and a small handful of other institutions, are doing with direct assessment. Capella’s work on direct assessment has the potential drive innovations leading to more affordable, flexible options for adult learners, saving both time and money.
-In response to the decision of the Marine Corps, Air Force, Coast Guard and Army to suspend their tuition assistance programs due to budget pressures, Capella will cover the TA funding for the spring quarter 2013 for military students who have been impacted by the suspension. The story was covered today in the Pioneer Press.
Today’s guest blog blogger is Jeff Baidoo, New Learner Experience Coordinator for Capella University and Capella’s first Commencement Champion. Jeff was selected as part of the Commencement Champion Competition held in January, and he will represent Capella staff at commencement. He will share his journey and experience live from commencement via Twitter. While in Long Beach, Jeff will join the Commencement team, faculty and academic leadership to create a celebratory experience for Capella graduates and guests, and he will help engage virtual grads through social media.
Jeff Baidoo, Capella’s Commencement Champion
For those who don’t know, Capella’s next commencement is this Saturday in Long Beach, California. And I am so proud to have been voted by Capella University staff as Capella’s first “Commencement Champion”! I will serve as an ambassador in Long Beach, California, and represent Capella staff and faculty at the commencement ceremonies. I encourage you to follow all the excitement by following me on Twitter at @CapellaJeff, as well as the #CapellaGrad hashtag.
I’m elated to watch all the hard work, dedication and personal motivations of our learners come to a celebratory end at commencement. The culmination of the perseverance and will of our learners to overcome obstacles and unexpected challenges, as well as the extraordinary effort to achieve success, is truly remarkable. As the child of parents who immigrated to Canada from Ghana to pursue their higher education, I have the deepest respect for those who make sacrifices to further their education. That is why I am so proud to be Capella’s Commencement Champion.
Please join me in offering a heartfelt congratulations to all of the Capella graduates!
This blog is designed to be a forum for both internal and external audiences to highlight education issues and educators that matter to Capella. It will feature interviews and discussions on a wide range of topics. My hope is for it to be provocative, informative and occasionally entertaining. Feel free to offer thoughts on issues you’d like to see addressed.