Your Change is Working

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Marie Cini As the New Year kicks off, the stories about higher education enrollment declines and student success challenges keep coming. Indeed, clickbait catastrophe-predicting stories continue to fuel edu-news-site traffic and increasing institutional angst. Marie Cini, President of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), has a message for you interested readers and institutional leaders trying to tackle these twin targets: your change is working. Put simply, if change in higher education is driven in large part by the diverse mix of students coming our way, then our change is working. It’s also getting older, getting younger (think dual enrollment and P-Tech), first generation, going part time, struggling with basic needs, and very interested in finding ways to make the journey not just valuable, but doable. As Louis Soares at the American Council on Education (ACE) has argued, we need to better understand and address these changes if we want to help more and more diverse students be more successful on their pathways through higher education—embracing the post-traditional learner as he calls it. The president of Lorain Community College, Marcia Ballinger, calls this the challenge of making our institutions “student ready” rather than always insisting that our students be “college ready.” In the podcast conversation that follows, we welcome Marie Cini to the fold to explore three big changes: (1) changes at CAEL, i.e., their recent move to the Strada Network of innovators; (2) changes in the student populations moving to and through higher education; and (3) changes in policies and practices at institutions that are thriving by better serving this diverse array of learners. If you’re ready to move beyond the days of reaching out to “adult” students by simply offering your traditional courses at night, this conversation is for you. If you’re challenging your Pathways reform work to look hard at your data and be more inclusive of post-traditional students not able to attend in a full-time, traditional format, you’ll definitely want to learn more. From the significant challenges working students face to integrate learning and earning to the real struggles so many of our #RealCollege students face in meeting very basic needs—think housing insecurity, food insecurity, transportation, text book costs, childcare, etc—Marie sounds the call for greater innovation, sharing, and focus on the change at hand. Take the time to listen in and learn why if we want our change to work, we may need to accept that our change is working! For those interested in listening on Apple Podcasts, click here:               For those who want to access the podcast on SoundCloud, click here:

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