Credit for Prior Learning

On October 2nd the Provost Challenge #92: Giving Credit Where Credit is due held their 12th project team meeting.  As with all Provost Challenge projects, the initial idea was conceived by faculty and staff and remains faculty/staff-driven.  The project now involves close to 100 individuals and dozens were in attendance at the meeting.  Some have been working on the project since its inception, while others came to learn for the first time what the effort is about.

Shelly Chabon, Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and project #92 lead, kicked off the meeting.  Mark Jones, Professor of Computer Science and project team member “introduced us” to a 2020 PSU graduate who had just earned their degree by taking advantage of our credit for prior learning (CPL) policy.  Note: The PSU Faculty Senate approved a CPL Academic Policy Statement in April 2014.
Vice Provost Sukhwant Jhaj and I had been invited to the meeting for a conversation around questions that have emerged as the team has done their work.  Team members were concerned about potential impacts on departmental loss of SCH for courses taken for CPL.  How extra workloads/compensation might be handled for faculty/departments? Would we charge fees and how? Would there be centralized support and administrative budget priorities for CPL?
 
These are all great questions, however, the answers are not found through PSU’s past practices. CPL should not be thought of an isolated activity that needs to pay for itself or one that will take away from other activities, but rather as part of a larger eco-system of program delivery designed to ensure high-quality, affordable, accessible degree completion.  Just as CPL forces us to think differently about the curriculum, it should also have us thinking differently about what this opportunity means for students, faculty and staff.   For example, data shows that there is a significant population of adults that we are currently not serving that might be interested in CPL. CPL has the potential to improve retention for certain students.  It should not be a given that CPL is an add on—it could very well replacement what we are currently doing.

No doubt, there will be many more questions that arise for those units wishing to use CPL.  The questions should not present barriers, but rather help us figure out what we need to do to achieve the goals we have.  The reTHINK roadmap can help frame the conversation and help us decide what and how we do things. The roadmap asks us to articulate the outcomes we wish to achieve, determine the gaps that might exist, and to see how disruptive work plays out in our organization in order to understand what actions make sense to implement.

The Giving Credit where Credit is Due team will benefit from a continued campus dialog on this topic. You can follow the work of the CPL group through their project plan and share your views either on this blog or directly with team members.

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