Are you curious to know more about Granite State College faculty? Follow this link to an example of the unique individuals who teach for this wonderful adult-focused institution of higher education.
John Gianforte built an observatory near his home, and brings enthusiasm and insight to the courses he teaches at our NH State College. This "Sky Guy" is teaching Introduction to Astronomy (SCI 512) this Fall at our Rochester NH college campus.
Are you curious to know more about Granite State College faculty? Follow this link to an example of the unique individuals who teach for this wonderful adult-focused institution of higher education.
I was an idealistic 18-year-old with grand schemes of living the traditional 4-year college experience, relishing the excitement of living in a dorm with my peers, inspired by the prospect of exploring fascinating subjects accessible only through higher education, and looking forward to a shiny new degree with a shiny new career that was sure to follow.
Well, "best laid plans," right? Life happened. I found myself thrown into the nose-to-the-grindstone working world, taking whatever job or two that I could get so that I could pay the rent on my tiny apartment and keep the electricity on. But I didn't completely tuck away those college schemes. The idea was to keep on keeping on, and "someday" I'd be able to bring the schemes out into the light, unroll them and lovingly lay them back across the drawing board, dust them off, and build the life I had envisioned. Someday.
Out of necessity, "someday" kept being put off. That plateau that would serve as a resting place in life where I could stop, breathe, think for a while, gather my resources, and put my schemes into action just never seemed to come. Months whirled by, then they blurred together and spun into years. Suddenly, I was 24 years old. No degree, no prospects, no direction, no ideas how to get unstuck. I was surviving, not living--and certainly not anywhere close to the life that I'd seen for myself years before.
I was working in retail at the time. One day, a woman who was temporarily working in the store for a few days, idly initiated a conversation with me. For some reason, the topic of college came up and I only happened to mention how much I wished I could go. This woman-- a random, complete stranger to me-- said I should consider the College for Lifelong Learning (the former name of Granite State College), and explained how it's a school that offers affordable college study and continuing education degree programs. My life has never been the same.
Read my new blog post to find out what happened next!
In 1990 I decided to enroll in College. I was 30 years old, had two children, a mortgage and a full time job at a busy police department. Even though I knew I needed to obtain a degree, I was really dreading it. The only brick and mortar school in my area was the Berlin NH college, or as we called it, "The Vo-Tech". This really wasn't a realistic option as the drive was too far, and the time commitment to large. A friend of mine was involved in adult education services at our local high school and mentioned the night school they held there for adult learners. Back then it was known as the College For Lifelong Learning. My first thought was "how would they fit that title on a diploma?" It didn't sound very enriching but it was the only real option if I wanted to get any level of career college training in my area.
I reluctantly went down to the local C.L.L. office and met some wonderful people. I am guessing that Gail Paine and Beth Beyerle had met the likes of me before as they quickly stripped away all the preconceived obstacles I felt stood between me and a degree. I was left with only one real option, jump in with both feet! I can still remember how helpful they were in taking me from looking in from the outside to actually being a real college student.
Back in 1990 our college offered a much more limited plate of degree choices and options. Although a police officer, the school had no criminal justice classes to offer. As far as delivery method you had the choice of face to face or face to face! That's right Gen-xer's the Internet hadn't yet been applied to commercial use for distance learning universities. I picked a degree that I though would help me in the higher ranks of police work. It was a business offering called a Business and Professional Studies Degree, only offered at the Bachelor's level. So here I was, signed up with the School For Lifelong Learning in a Business and Professional Studies Degree Program (like I said, imagine the size of the diploma!), and starring down the barrel of at least 6 years of school ahead of me. So with great trepidation I walked into my first college classroom, at 6:00pm, in my old high school, with my old English teacher. I thought to myself "was this really going to work?"
Next blog I'll discuss how GSC made the impossible possible for me!
She has recently moved to Greenville, SC and I am just thrilled to have one of my children close by. Looking back on all her struggles with school and her determination never to give up, is just inspiring for me and many of her friends. She had started school about 6 years ago in Columbia TN and got dismissed a few times from the nursing program, it is a very hard program to get through, and found herself out the door. She kept at it and finally fulfilled her dream. She is a nurse and a wonderful nurse at that. Determination to succeed is inherited gene from her mom. I was so determined to get mine, nothing would have held me back. Not even a move from one state to another. With my schooling at Granite State College, I have found that the professors work with you so well, there is always help if you ask. They don't want you to fail, they want you to succeed and learn the information and how it applies to everyday life.
Amber had no problem getting a job even in these tough times, she is now working for the Greenville Hospital System in Powdersville, SC. I am still at Ford Motor Credit enjoying my job and looking forward to other opportunities that may open, thanks to my Granite State College Adult Degree!!
As a mom of a newly-minted high school graduate, I now understand the difficulty parents experience when it comes to letting go of their college-age children. As parents we dedicate so much time and energy to taking care of our children, guiding...helping. It is hard to recognize when we cross the boundary into new territory where the most helpful thing we can do is to let our children help themselves and make their own decisions.
I have been comparing notes with friends whose children also just graduated and are on their way to various New Hampshire Colleges and Universities this fall. Many have already attended orientations where the children are herded off to one session, the parents to another. The parent orientations talk about financial aid, what we can expect from our children once they are in college - but the main focus seems to be on teaching us to let our children have their own academic experience, complete with poor decisions and the occasional failure - and for us to resist the urge to do everything for them. Point taken.
Even though GSC is known for Adult Higher Education, we are seeing more and more traditional age students. As an Academic Advisor at Granite State College in Conway, NH, I have been in the position to gently point out to parents who are emailing or calling me for course suggestions, that perhaps it might be better for the student to communicate with me directly. Of course, there are also laws that prohibit advisors from sharing adult student's information.
For parents of new Granite State College students, however, it is a somewhat easier transition. Because we are not a residential college, the student is still living at home. Also, unlike many other colleges, Granite State College employs full time academic advisors who are designated student advocates. Parents can take comfort in knowing there is someone there to provide guidance and help when needed.
So, fellow parents, join me in learning how to let go so we can watch our children learn to soar.
This month we learned the identity of the incoming president of Granite State College. Dr. Todd Leach will assume leadership of the college upon the retirement of President Karol LaCroix on June 30th. Dr. Leach was selected after an extensive search and joins us after a successfully guiding the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University since 2007. Dr. Leach brings with him a wealth of experience in providing access to higher education for adult learners and non-traditional students. If Dr. Leach’s history at Northeastern is any indication, students can look forward to new courses and degree programs; all based on the current and future needs of NH’s adult students. The next few years should prove to be exciting for the Granite State College community.
That being said we must take a moment and look to the past and express our appreciation to President LaCroix for six years of leadership. With her hand to steady the helm, Granite State College experienced consistent growth and developed a reputation as New Hampshire’s “go to” college for online learning and easy access for the State’s working adult student population. Through Karol’s leadership, GSC now provides a balanced matrix of courses and a student-centric organizational ethic that both encourages and supports our non-traditional learners. For those of you who have been, or are currently in this situation, you know how difficult it can be to manage multiple life priorities while attending classes. President LaCroix’s stamp is firmly imprinted into the history of this institution and through her hard work we are better prepared to tackle new academic challenges and move the college forward.
Thank you Karol!
As I mentioned before, there are several websites that I visit regularly, almost daily, and I get excellent and reliable information from them that is either just for my own geeky benefit or for a very practical purpose, or both.
For my unabashed love of maps, I rely heavily on Google maps at maps.google.com/maps . That maps will show any square mile of the Earth's surface that you want, and I have on several occasions used it in real time, as recently as yesterday, to guide a lost or uncertain friend or student to a particular destination.
In fifth grade, I was accused of reading the dictionary for fun. Although it started out as a joke (I think?), it was also persistent interest to know what particular big words meant, so that I eventually did flip to random pages of a nearby dictionary just to see what was there. For several years now, I have regularly visited dictionary.com to check on spelling, definition, and etymology of all kinds of words. It even has a Translator on there, which although imperfect can still give you a pretty good idea of what is written in another language.
I have something of a love-hate relationship with wikipedia.org. While I am in it all the time, I am bummed that it suffers from such a bad reputation in higher education. It seems pretty clear now that it's not a good idea to rely on wikipedia for research papers, but it can still point one in the direction of scholarly research, indisputable information and trivia, and for conventional wisdom, too.
Other things I have been into lately are:
ted.com/talks - Interesting lectures on a variety of topics
www.aldaily.com - Recent articles, criticism and essays in all kinds of scholarly subjects.
This where we bring it back to Granite State College. Much like going online to figure out the difference between a frittata and quiche, and what's the temperature going to be like tomorrow, an online school for adults can be the answer that you didn't know where to find, or that you didn't know you were looking for at all. As part of the New Hampshire University System, we make sure to have our stuff together and the our credits are as reliable as looking up a word in the dictionary.
One last thing - I am not a salesman. If GSC doesn't have quite the right program or degree you're looking for, I and any advisor here could point you in the direction of a school that does. As I tend to say in emails to my students: Let me know what you think. Thanks.
Most folks that mention this on talk radio and other media do so with overt disgust and contempt. The cost of higher education is portrayed as an extortion with impunity by unscrupulous professors and bloated administrations. One could even argue that the announcements of astronomical cost to attend the aforementioned institutions and their ilk is to some extent fashionable; certainly, if I were running Brandeis University and neighboring Wllesley College announced that they cost more than $50k, what would it say about Brandeis if we don't cost more than fifty?
Expressions of pity for the parents of high school graduates usually follow, but I feel there are two important points that commentators miss, whether acciedntally or deliberately. First - the very parents for whom they express their spendthrift sympathies are likely to be the ones demanding the state-of-the-art facilities and accommodations that have contributed heavily to the steady rise in these tuition and room-and-board totals. That top-flight schools and even some state schools have sushi bars and world-class fitness centers is demanded by the marketplace, rather than artificially dreamed up and foisted upon the higher education public.
The second point that commentators seem to regularly pass over is that there are still far more ways to obtain an affordable bachelor degree than an inaffordable one. It reminds me of the joke where a guy goes to his doctor and says, "Doctor - it hurts when I do this," and the doctor replies "Well, don't do that." If attending Holy Cross and staying on campus and having a meal plan costs more than you can afford, then don't go there. The idea that if you don't go to Holy Cross or Amherst that you won't get a decent education, or worse, that if you can't afford to send your child to one of those places that you are somehow inadequate or a failure, is stupid at best and destructive at worst.
Maybe this kind of discussion gets my hackles to stand up because I attended a public college myself - not a New Hampshire state university, mind you - but the flagship of a nearby system. I wouldn't trade my undergraduate education and experience for anything, and it would be a shame if folks, whether straight out of high school, or looking for Adult college classes, didn't consider public schools, i.e. Granite State College, which are particularly designed to be affordable, accessible, etc.
Fifty thousand a year? Really? Even when a students comes into my office starting from scratch, we can work out a plan that can finish off the degree for less than $35,000 total.
If that works better for your budget and prevents you from having to take out a second mortgage, drop me an email, and we can talk about that some more.
My Winter 2010 semester will soon blossom into the Spring 2010 semester, a time of the year we often look forward to, filled with the warmness of sunny optimism. It is also a time of reflection, when we look back to see where we have been in order to see more clearly, the direction in which we are headed.
Now, as I look back on this past semester, I can already see it as a time of illumination in many ways. What I know for sure is how humbled I was by the presence of the bright ,optimistic faces of our men in uniform, I had the privilege of getting to know, from my Expository Writing class with Laurie Quinn, Associate Dean of Granite State College and my Environmental Heritage class with Dan Gardoqui.
I never want to forget the humor each of these special men contributed to the synergy of each class and the ensuing gutteral laughter. I also don't want to forget their intelligent minds nor the significance of their knowledge base. There were many moments during the semester when something they interjected into a conversation reminded me of where each of them had been, why they were there, and how happy I felt in those moments, they were here, safely at home with us --
These five brave men are in pursuit of a college degree, attending adult evening classes and are striving to succeed at completing one degree program or another. I am so proud of their determination and their effort to advance through higher education; each in pursuit of his own full potential but I marvel at the comradery of brotherhood they share; a connection have also experienced first hand in my own military life, so many years ago. It is as if they not only acknowledge one another; they really know, where one has been, another may either have been also or is on his way-- and how can I, the onlooker, not be in awe of their raw patriotic courage and commitment to the safety and freedom our country has always known.
As I began to observe each of these students with the purpose of briefly introducing each of their personal military stories, I began to notice subtle differences that set each of these soldiers apart.
My next five (5) blogs will be dedicated to these five Granite State College Students, their college programs and life goals. I hope you will join me as I continue on my journey to learn more about some of the men here, in the home of the brave, who either keep us safe now or once did. We are so lucky to have them.
Leslie Bowreing, YN3, U.S.N.
As I turned on my computer, I hopped on Facebook first to see what my friends were up to, and that's when I received some horrible news: Shena Nolan, a close friend of mine from high school who lived in Ohio, had been brutally murdered a couple hours before. With that news, the lives of me and her closest friends came to a screeching halt. My first thoughts were to do two things: find out as much about the event as possible and to begin to console my friends and allow myself to be consoled.
This is my friend Shena. I will miss her everyday.
Intead of attending college after graduation from high school, my daughter chose to move out and get a job which had, at the time, gone against every hope and wish I had for her. I fervently believed that college after high school would better prepare her for the job market, better financial success, which of course would lead her to a happy life.
Independently she left and set out to live life on her own terms. She hustled as a waitress in a busy restaurant in Portland, Maine until she was promoted to the managment team. She took some evening college classes in which she excelled but decided to move on. Again, she packed her bags, got into a car and this time moved to Portland, Oregon where she got a job in the retail business. As a part of adult continuing education, she continued to take classes even while she worked at her full time job.
By now, I think she realized adult higher education would truly be in her best interest. I encouraged her to do this at every step of the way because education had always been as important to me as breathing and I so wanted to pass that on to her as m legacy.
Two years ago Rhiannon returned to the East Coast as an assistant manager for the Coach Company. When further advancement stagnated for her she gathered up her transcripts,references, and confidence, applied for a position as assistant branch manager at TD Bank. As an employee of TD Bank she has been using tution reimbursement to continue taking courses in the marketing program of study.
Since Rhiannon has been home she and I have taken courses simultaneously. We have established our Adult Education Programs as a wonderful common ground for interesting conversations as well as getting feed back from one another.
My daughter is a hero in my eyes. She stood in the shadow of her older brother (by 13 months) as he excelled in playing soccer. She attended each and every game without contention though at times, it seemed just too much to ask of her. With passion and determination she has carved out her own place in the world as a strong, independent woman, choosing to be unaffected by past negative experiences. Instead, she is convicted in her stride as she propels herself onward toward every next step, achievement, and advancement.
We as mothers, stand, at times almost invisibly as the backdrop for our daughters' ultimate success in their world. We hope. We dream. We pray. In the end, we watch in complete awe as they go.
And go she did. Rhiannon is on her way to Portland as I write this entry. She has her stuff, her beautiful, happy smile, and somewhere tucked away safely, is the perennial love and respect of her mum.
Meeting new people is one of my favorite things to do! And I seem to be doing a lot of it through my career training education at Granite State College. During one of my evening college classes I arranged a meeting with Mike Sullivan, a local children's book author, Librarian, Storyteller, and Instructor at Simmons College.
Because Adult Higher Education manifests itself in many different capacities, I thought it would be a bonus for my class if we could meet with Mike and pick his brain a bit regarding boys and their reluctance to read. Many of the students in my class are either taking Childhood Education classes or Behavioral Science classes so I thought a discussion with Mike would be of interest to them.
My course instructor, Heidi Zollman, my friend Marilyn and one other student joined us for a conversation. Mike is clearly vested in the topic of boys and reading, a passion of his condern for a long time. He articulately described brain function in girls and boys which is directly related to its development in both genders. We discussed the very real reason why boys brains develop slower which in turn causes a cycle of delay which then deforms reading into something boys think they are not good at or cannot do at all so they stop trying.
At one point the conversation turned to"No Child Left Behind." I have not read the philosophy behind this Act though it was described by Mike Sullivan as a way to educate the middle 80% of students while the top 10% were on their own to succeed and the lower 10% were expected to fail anyway.
Heidi has invited Mike Sullivan to come to Granite State College in Rochester to visit with our entire class. His visit will include the topic of Storytelling as a lost art form and Mike will tell us stories. He will also describe ways to promote literacy with boys, and answer questions.
I am so happy I took the initiative to contact Mike Sullivan. His knowledge base is an amazing resource as we continue to make new discoveries in our own educational process whether we are teaching, observing, or parenting our boys. What we know for sure is that boys must learn how to read. It is to their betterment that we find ways to help them enjoy forming the habit of reading over time.
I have a great appreciation for all New Hampshire colleges and universities, but when you combine small seminar-style classes, the ability to meet and talk with former NH Poet Laureates, all through evening college classes, it adds up to a unique teaching and learning environment. We of course have adult online degrees, and yes, affordable Bachelors degrees, but there is something particular about this NH State College. I observed a particular dynamic between this noted children's book author and the students in Children's Literature. The questions, the intent look on each face, and the transformation of something abstract to something alive is why Granite State College is the college for lifelong learning, and the center of adult education.
G is for Granite (State College):
L - R:
John B. Cook, GSC Faculty Coordinator; Poet and Author Marie Harris; GSC Faculty Member Heidi Zollman
I was just in the middle of my Monday morning reporting when my phone rang. I picked it up to hear the sounds of a baby crying and a very frazzled woman on the other end. I discovered that it was one of our current students who had recently had a run of bad luck causing her to possibly have to withdraw from her evening college classes. She was heartbroken at the thought of having to withdraw from Granite State College, especially since she had been taking childhood education classes for over a year now, in hopes of earning her undergraduate degree.
After talking with her for a few minutes, I discovered that she had recently lost her job and was concerned about being able to pay for her classes since her previous employer had contributed to a good portion of the cost. She had never used financial aid before, and was unaware of her options.
I explained to her that we had many adult financial aid options available and assured her that we could get this situation worked out. I advised her that the first step to apply would be to fill out the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) as well as complete our Financial Aid Institutional Application.
I then explained that since the income she was going to report on the FAFSA would be based off the year previous, it would not show an accurate depiction of what her current financial situation is since she had recently lost her job. Because of the higher income being reported on the FAFSA, she may not be eligible for the Grant programs, which are the programs that provide students with money that does not need to be paid back.
Since she had recently had a drastic change to her income, it would be in her best interest to complete a Special Circumstance form. This form allows students to explain their current situation as well as provide documentation showing any changes so Granite State College can adjust their income listed on the FAFSA. This then allows the Department of Education to have a more realistic picture of the student's financial situation which, in turn, can help the student receive additional financial aid.
The student was thrilled to hear that there were options available to her. She was going to start filling out the paperwork immediately and was happy to take my advice about filling out the Special Circumstance form. She mentioned that she originally chose Granite State College because of it's affordable college study, but now realized that we also provide support and guidance to students when they are confronted with the struggles of every day life, and she was truly thankful.
Hearing that made my job completely worthwhile. It always feels good when we are able to make a student's life a little bit easier!
It was a cold and blustery snow storm, the kind that makes you want to cuddle up in your fleece pajamas with cocoa and a good book--or with your nine-year-old son to watch Miracle for the hundredth time. Instead I was in the garage, cell-phone propped on my ear trying to follow my husband's instructions to start the snowblower. "Crank the choke, throttle the rabbit, prime the pump then tork the lever." Huh??
Ever feel this way? The person on the other end of the phone knows exactly what they're talking about and launches into a language that you can't even begin to understand. You're frustrated, cold, wet and feeling a little bit dumb that you can't even get past the first command, never mind actually make this machine come to life.
I know that this is how going back to college can feel for adults. I've had students in my classes tell me that this is their first time back in a classroom since high school. It's scary. And overwhelming and there are alot of acronyms. The good news is, they picked Granite State College. Because we're an adult college program, we try to avoid the acronyms and help our students navigate the maze of higher education clearly and with a road map. We have specific resources for adult students including advising, academic support and a virtual library. We also walk our students through the maze of adult financial aid. We'll help you distinquish between a FAFSA and a MPN (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) and (Master Promissory Note).
So if you're feeling overwhelmed with choices, and information, give us a call. We'd love to help you start fulfilling your dream of achieving your degree. (And we'll help you start the snowblower if you need that too!)
What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?
Dr. Robert Schuller
This is an interesting question that everyone should ask of themselves. Many might answer that getting a college education would be something they would attempt if they knew they could not fail. Returning to college, or even starting for the first time, as an adult can be very scary. It would make it easier if we knew we couldn't fail. With help, support, and encouragement it is possible to succeed.
Granite State College (GSC) offers an adult college education with a strong support system in place. Advisors, Academic Resource Coordinators, Faculty and Administrative Staff are all advocates for the students here and want to see them flourish. I see established students everyday marvel in their own accomplishments where they once were new, scared and unsure of their ability to make it in college.
In addition to the positive support, one of the greatest advantages of attending GSC is the flexibility it affords. We offer night college classes, weekend college classes, and courses available online. This variety of delivery options allows college to fit into the busyness of life and is one more reason attributing to our students' success in adult higher education.
I encourage anyone who has ever thought about getting, or completing, a college degree to jump in and make the attempt now. In the right environment with the right options, you will not fail!
I thought I could earn a college degree and the action of applying to Granite State College, intermingled with wonderfully helpful people I met at the college, brought the magic of so many learning experiences. These experiences, in turn, graced me with the power to reach for even higher goals.
As an adult learner enrolling in adult school programs, especially at Granite State College (once known as College for Lifelong Learning), you have a bit of an edge over the traditional college student. You come with more "life experience" which is a huge advantage because college, after all, is more than just book learning - it is life learning and functions as a window into the way the world outside college works. Adult learners of a certain age more than likely have years of workplace experience, not to mention parental experience. They know how to multitask, and have been exposed to a wider variety of social situations. Basically, the older adult learner comes with a bit of a foundation. All that the adult learner needs is a healthy dose of self confidence.
On that foundation, the "magic of the possible" blossoms, opening up unlimited opportunities for life-enriching experiences. At Granite State College where there is considerable latitude regarding independent learning contracts, taking courses from other University of New Hampshire System institutions as well as earning credits for one's life experiences, I found myself enjoying a wide variety of experiences.
Through an independent learning contract, I worked as an intern at NHPR's The Exchange hosted by Laura Knoy, immersing myself in the behind-the-scenes mechanics of how a radio program is crafted. The capstone of this experience was assisting with the production of a segment on children's poet Shel Silverstein, author of Where the Sidewalk Ends and A Light In the Attic, who died shortly before my intership ended. My meager contribution to the production of that segment earned me a brief mention at the end of the program. No "A" could match the feeling of accomplishment I experienced listening to that segment of the show.
Through my years of study, the magic continued. The professor of a UNH-M film class I took encouraged me to submit one of my papers, The Simpsons: A Fairy Tale, to DePauw University's undergraduate Honors Conference for consideration. The delight, the thrill of finding the fat acceptance envelope in the mailbox one February afternoon was like nothing like I had felt before.
Attending the DePauw conference introduced me to another world - that of academics from the teacher's side of the educational equation. Mentors were assigned to shepherd us through the weekend's activities. Well known guest speakers - Tony Kushner, author of the play Angels in America and Dr. George Gerbner, professor at the Annenberg School for Communication, lectured. Best of all was meeting like minded students who shared similar hopes and dreams for their futures. As if I needed a sign that I was headed in the right direction, I came upon this street sign while wandering around DePauw's campus -
The magic, apparently, wasn't going to stop.
Even though the job market is tough right now, many said they were ready to take advantage of the affordable continuing education that is available to them. Two who attended recently said they were just laid off and insecure about going back to school again. It had been years since they went to school. I understand that feeling, but it is nice to know we have strong academic support at our college.
Participants tell me the workshops entitled “Who Are You, Where Are You Headed and How Can Higher Education Help?” have helped them learn about our non-traditional paths of learning, including online adult education classes, part time classes and career advancement programs. They also said they enjoyed exploring with others the education and career advancement opportunities up here in the North Country.
I invite anyone who may be ready to "re-invent" themselves for their next phase in life to join us. The schedule of upcoming workshops is on our Granite State College website.