I completed my business major capstone last semester at Granite State College and loved it. The course required us to work in teams, one of my worst fears in a school project! As teammates we worked together as co-managers of a camera company competing with the other teams for market share within the simulated camera industry. What made this experience unique was that the decisions each team made changed the market and affected business decisions and strategy initiatives we all made. This class was certainly a true career opportunities education course. This was a great exercise in working together as a team to accomplish the goal at hand. I have always loved playing games, but this was a game that enabled me to utilize all of the business skills I had attained in my adult education courses. I learned so much and had a ton of fun in the process.
What a busy and excitng time this spring has been! So much so that I have not taken time to blog. Our Conway NH College has been busy with lots of new inquires about our online programs and affordable bachelor degree programs.
I continued to offer our "Who are You" career opportunities education workshops and many participants have realized it IS time to go back to school! One woman in the North Country who had been looking for a job for a long time took this workshop, then changed the way she wrote a resume and approached her interview and GOT a job in the teaching field! Now she knows she is ready to take the next step to enroll in our Post Baccalaureate Teacher Certificate Program. ( I would love to know if we should do more such workshops for the college...Let me know!)
This weekend, hardy souls attended the Littleton Home Show and a number of people didn't realize that there was a Littleton NH College that offered Bachelor degrees. One woman decided to try out a summer class, after she learned that there were adult college classes in her area.
Yesterday I spoke to about 100 real estate agents and support people about Granite State College. Several told me that when people come to the North Country to explore housing, they ask about lifelong learning college opportunities. It felt great to let them know all about what is right here in the North Country!
I've been teaching adult education courses for the past 5-6 years now, and have taught adult learners for the better part of almost 30 years. The ones that are most successful are the ones who explore how they learn and what could happen when they apply their learning to real life situations, either at work, within the community or at home.
A current group of students are getting ready to graduate soon and are wrapping up their education. They are being tested by their final lessons to apply much of what they have learned over the past several years. This is new to some students and they stuggle mightily with the concept of "bringing it all together".
Education and career advancement opportunities are what you make of them. Teachers must create the environment where learning is possible for all participants, themselves included. Every time I get in front of a group of students whether I am in a corporate setting or a classroom or even using on-line teaching tools like Blackboard, I have the opportunity to create something where learning occurs.
I encourage students to think about the process of learning, not just the content they are reading or discussing. Process matters. Process matters alot. If we understand the process we use to learn, we can better educate ourselves to seek the learning in whatever we do. Rather than becoming robotic about the routine of class, students who engage in the process of learning will take so much more from each and every learning opportunity.
It's not about attending it is about being present!
It's not about doing assignments, it is about testing the limits of your knowledge!
It's not about completing classes, but combining knowledge and skills together!
It's about seeing every opportunity to learn as if you were in a laboratory....what can you experiment with and what do you think the results will be.........
With a snap and a thud, the bed lurched to the floor, sending all five of us flying. Coffee cups evicted their contents and the once clean sheets obliged in soaking it up. Startled, we looked around and tried to figure out what had happened.
Saturday mornings when we don't have obligations are a luxury in our home. I relish that rare opportunity to sit in bed sipping endless cups of coffee and talking with my husband. In various stages, one by one each of the kids will also congregate there and we end up having great family time together---that is, until the kids become awake enough that things get a little too rambunctious and someone inevitably ends up getting hurt. (Did I mention that three of the kids are boys?) Still, it's something I cherish. Last Saturday, we were on our way through enjoying this ritual, when my son (who weighs only about 75 pounds) sat on the bed, and like the last straw in the game "Kerplunk" the frame supporting the mattress gave way, and we---like so many marbles tumbled to the floor. Game over.
Initially, we were---irritated. But as the morning wore on, and we discovered that the bedframe might not be salvageable I realized that might also mean the end of the uncomfortable mattress. Suddenly I began to see opportunity, where previously had dwelt only dismay. Visions of a new mattress now crowded my thoughts. Re-energized, I made shopping plans.
You know, continuing my education and career advancement with adult school programs at Granite State College is a bit like that. I was unhappy about the fact that I had not finished my college schooling in the "traditional" way I had begun at age 18. But now I also see that unfinished degree as an opportunity to enjoy schooling in a different context; that of having an adult's perspective, and life experience to bring to the classroom. I guess it's like they always say....."when life gives you lemons, make lemonade."
It has now become reality in my mind; Karol LaCroix is really retiring this June! Karol is the current President of Granite State College. She has truly made this school what it is today, a thriving academic environment available to all within our State and beyond. Granite State College is one of the best Colleges of New Hampshire. We are the leader in online course offerings and almost 50% of our alumni continue on to graduate school. GSC offers flexible class scheduling, many degree majors which include self-design degrees and utilizes an abundance of career educators as well as business leaders to teach our students. Karol has been instrumental in bringing Granite State College to the new millennium. Karol has been a strong leader, a mentor to many and a friend to all. She will be greatly missed.
Last week the new President of Granite State College was announced, Dr. Todd Leach from the College of Professional Studies at Northeastern University. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a question and answer forum with Dr. Leach and the other two finalists for the Presidency. I was very pleased with the information and answers he gave at his “drilling”! You can find a link to his resume on the GSC homepage if you are interested. Below is a word cloud I created from my impression of our new President.
If it is not obvious, I am reluctantly excited. My reluctance is only in losing Karol, I could not be more pleased with the candidate that was chosen. Change is usually a good thing. I welcome Dr. Leach to our learning community and look forward to the opportunity to watch him thrive.
Maybe it is bring a small group of people together for 6-8 hours per day (in a weekend class) that makes the bonding a little bit easier. It could be the style of the class itself, I know that my weekend sessions tend to be much more conversational in their feel, not so much "lecture" (although I must admit there is a fair amount of that at times).
This past semester I used the "harkness table" method for the group. We pushed the tables together to form a large rectangle and each student (and myself as well) sat facing the entire group. While I had a well planned schedule for each day, I found that we were able to cover more of the course materials using conversation (noting that people had made the commitment to read the text materials due each day) and discussing different perspectives. Each person was more able to get involved in the discussion and the "spotlight" wasn't on them in terms of "speaking in front of the class". I noticed a few other striking behavior differences.
Suddenly, students were talking to each other rather than answering my question directly to me. They were getting into exchanges of ideas with their peers. They were drawing each other into the conversation. Everyone was getting involved and in some situations the discussions were so lively I had to intervene to keep the classroom sound down to a "dull roar" so we didn't disturb other classes in the building.
What started to occur was that every student in the program, and there were 11 (12 if you count me as the instructor) had 11 instructors. It was amazing. I looked for snippets of conversations that I could use to stimulate more conversation. I kept track of areas that were being discussed and when they were critical success factors for the class (part of the learning objectives) I had the class get into small discussion groups to explore more ardently, the topic at hand and bring their discussion results back to the larger group. Everyone was highly engaged. The time flew by and the students were amazed at the depth and breadth of the materials we covered in the class. They discussed and challenged each other and myself. They pondered how they would work their new found knowledge into their every day environment. They wanted to engage outside of the classroom and each weekend brought new insights, from their application of knowledge to their work, back into the class.
Maybe this is the new deal of the "Adult Continuing Education Programs". Everyone walks away changed by what they learned, brings their knowledge to the field, and continues their education through their career opportunities.
I'll be using the "harkness table" model in other classes (including ones that meet evenings every week) and see if there is a difference in how the group bonds and if small group exercises and projects have similar results.
I'll keep everyone posted.....
So with a new president joining the college, it is exciting to think that Granite State will move ahead again in the field of education. Will there be new initiatives that we can all be a part of? Will there be additional programs offered? Our new president will lead us into the future.
I hope you will come along.
Spring registration begins this Friday the 26th. For those still needing a Spring Course Schedule contact your regional center.
There are many opportunities for you this spring at Granite State College. As always, Spring is a prefect time for personal and educational growth. During my travels I have met with many who are taking this opportunity, this Spring, to begin or continue with their adult college careers.
I have met with students who are new to college. They have been nervous about the process and the great challenge ahead. I have connected them with advisors who help guide them towards positive outcomes and I have connected them with Academic Support staff to assist with tests, papers and classes. There are always faculty and staff at GSC willing to help support our students into becoming successful graduates.
I have also met individuals who have taken classes at different colleges in the past and they are now interested in transferring those classes into Granite State College and completing their degree. Many of our student started college on a different campus and in a different classroom. We are honored to help you finish your degree and make every effort to combine the classes you have already taken into our degree programs.
Other students I have met are interested in beginning their college career with us, taking General Education Requirements and then transferring them to another institution. We are happy to assist all of our students in whatever pathway leads them towards success.
If you are looking for a New Hampshire Adult Education program, Granite State College was created specifically for you. We offer adult online classes, evening college classes, and weekend college classes. Contact your region's Outreach Coordinator today to discuss your educational opportunities here at Granite State College.
Through the flexibility and creativity of GSC’s course schedules I will have my degree within three years of beginning this journey at what I believe to be one of the best NH Colleges. I took advantage of all of the opportunities offered to me at Granite State College. I submitted a portfolio assessment in lieu of spending the time and money on a basic computer course which I knew I already had a full understanding of. I tested out of several basic, entry level courses which I once again knew I held the required knowledge of through my years of professional work.
I began my journey at GSC much like Goldilocks, I needed to find just the right schedule and setting that specifically fit me and my needs. I started at GSC by enrolling in online classes for college credit as I believed this was the only way I would be able to fit school into my busy lifestyle. As I found myself comfortable with the online adult programs I decided to challenge myself by trying night college classes next. This is where I realized that I thrived on the live, face to face interaction but struggled with staying alert and focused after a full work day. I next ventured into weekend college classes; I found this course schedule to be the perfect fit for me. Not only was I alert, focused and well rested but the level of intimacy with my classmates and professors led to a more in depth, interactive and beneficial learning experience.
Although I have continued to occasionally take online and evening college classes I have predominately stayed with the varied weekend schedules available at GSC. These have included long weekends staying on an island, holding classes every other Saturday and the more popular schedule of having one Friday evening class followed by two weekend classes spread out over the semester.
Just as the porridge was too cold for Goldilocks, the adult online classes were too impersonal for me. Just as the porridge was too hot for Goldilocks, the evening college classes were too exhausting for me. Just as the porridge was just right for Goldilocks, the weekend college classes were the perfect fit for me!
As a part of my Adult Education Certificate as I achieve my Reading Specialist certifictaion, I am taking a course called Perspectives in Children's LIterature. There are so many career opportunities in education that I could probably veer off in many different directions. However, my passion is to someday teach reading to first and second graders.
Perspectives in Children Literature is one of the most fun classes that I have taken toward my major at Granite State College because I love children's books. I love everything about them. I love the way they smell. I love the vivid colors often used to illustrate them. And, most importantly, I love to read them to a group of young, enthusiastic children.
Until recently, I had not met an author of children's books although I have always hoped to, someday. Our course instructor, Heidi Zollerman invited her friend Marie Harris into our classroom for a visit! Not only is she the author of Primary Numbers: A New Hampshire Number Book and G is for Granite: A New Hampshire Alphabet, she is also the Poet Laureate of New Hampshire!
We were all so honored and happy to have her join our class for the evening as we interviewed her about such topics as the writing process, the construction of a children's book, formulas for writing them, and going for it; taking the chance to write one if there is a desire to do so.
Meeting a published children's author, as an adult learner at Granite State College, adds yet another dimension to the learning process. My success as an Elementary School Teacher/Reading Specialist relies upon a good solid foundation of multi-faceted adult educational experiences of which this is certainly one!
Marie Harris presented herself to us happily -- humbly too though. She met us most respectfully, as the students we are, on our own missions toward success. I think I speak for our entire class when I say a very gratuitious Thank You to Marie for taking time out of a busy schedule to introduce herself to us.
So many working adults that have considered going back to college for career advancement education are hesitant or procrastinate because they're not sure they're up for it. Either they've been away from the education process too long, they believe that they can't fit it into their schedule or that an adult college degree is simply not affordable. For these individuals I can honestly say; "been there, done that!"
I started college as a traditional-age student at a large urban university. After a year and a half "life got in the way" of my college aspirations. A career opportunity pulled me away from my full time studies in Criminal Justice and into policing. My plan was to get settled into my job and return to college to finish my degree part-time. As you can guess that's not how things worked out. I ended up taking a 15 year summer break. I considered going back a number of times over the years, but the thought of the time it would take and the cost caused me to repeatedly put this idea on the back burner. When I hit my mid-thirties I recognized how important that a degree would be for my continued career success. This reality finally overcame my reservations and I bit the bullet.
In researching colleges in NH I discovered that Granite State College was my most affordable option and GSC offered me significant credit in transfer and through validating professional training. I still was a bit anxious about returning to school after such a long period of time, but after I started attending classes I discovered that most of my fellow students were in circumstances similar to my own. I found that I actually enjoyed the coursework and my time in class. It was a great feeling being able to finally earn my degree and walking in the graduation commencement with my wife and son in the audience made all of the time and effort worthwhile. So for those of you considering returning to college as an adult I have two words for you:
I also just re-read the book, "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch, who, for those of you that may not recognize his name, was a professor at Carnegie Mellon University, diagnosed with terminal liver cancer. He gave his "last lecture" and presented his thougts as an opportunity to leave something behind for his children. You can use this link to watch his last lecture - www.youtube.com/watch - and do yourself a favor, take the 45 minutes or so and really watch and listen to what he has to say.
Now, you may be asking what does this have to do with "leadership" or adult education resources or career advancement education. If you think the connection is that he was a professor at Carnegie Mellon, I faked you out. Here's the connection, each one of us as opportunities to take on "leadership" challenges every day. Some we can easily recognize - a new team, a new work assignment, maybe coaching a little league or high school sports team. What we don't recognize are the hundred of moments where we use our leadership capabilities just to move through a difficult or challenging day.
It is about understanding outcomes. It is about doing things that will ensure the results you want, not just going through a series of tasks, one right after the other. It's about being in a particular place and space and being really present where it counts. Leadership isn't about the what.....it is about the who and the why!
In his book, Randy speaks to how we should chase our childhood dreams, no matter what they are or how long they take to achieve. He also challenges us to help others chase and achieve their childhood dreams. To be an enabler of those around us to realize their goals. To always be present and engaging.
He uses his "last lecture" as a gift for his children, but it is wrapped in a present for each of us who has taken the time to listen to the video or read his book.
A good education has been a childhood dream of almost every child at some point. While many people will never recognize that their time in an adult education class, or weekend college classes, or using distance learning universities is a way of achieving their childhood dreams, it certainly is our way of helping many gain the skills and knowledge they need to reach out and make that dream their own.
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.