Innovative Models for American Universities
This blended session showcases a new initiative at Northern Arizona University (NAU) and a new resource available from the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) around prior-learning assessment (PLA) and other innovative practices to promote student success. NAU is creating a new university from scratch. This personal learning initiative will combine innovative practices from peer institutions, including prior-learning assessment, competency-based learning, open educational resources, multiple learning modalities, a self-paced, open-entry, open-exit student experience, and additional original concepts to create a new model for American universities. Expanding on the potential role of PLA as a best practice, the second part of this session will introduce you to LearningCounts, a new resource developed by CAEL to provide institutions and adult learners with access to quality, rigorous assessments of prior learning. It will also show how the PLA process helps students save time and money.
Fred Hurst, Northern Arizona University
Alison Leigh Brown, Northern Arizona University
Fred Hurst is senior vice president for Extended Campuses at Northern Arizona University (NAU) in Flagstaff Arizona since 1999. NAU has a long tradition of serving students with innovative electronic and face to face distributed learning courses and programs with state and national enrollments doubling over the last 10 years to over 7,700. Fred is responsible for providing access to students in traditional face-to-face courses and via the Web. Student services are provided by 37 campuses throughout Arizona and a service center. Hurst expanded technology-delivered degree and certificate programs from one to 71, with total revenue generation $59 million with expenditure budget authority of $33 million. He is the architect for NAU’s Personalized Learning competency-based education initiative, recently awarded a $1 million Gates Foundation grant. He serves the North Central Association (NCA) Higher Learning Commission as a member of the Institutional Actions Council (IAC), team chair and consultant-evaluator, and has been a past evaluator with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS).
Prior to moving to Arizona, he served as the founding executive director of the Florida Virtual Campus and the Florida Public Postsecondary Distance Learning Institute initiatives for the 28 state community colleges and 10 public universities serving 65,000 distance learning students. He was a founding member of the planning, implementation and operational team for the University of Maine System’s Education Network of Maine as dean of information technologies and chief information officer. He started his higher education career in educational technology and was a tenured graduate faculty member at Wichita State University.
Alison Leigh Brown is associate vice president for extended programs at Northern Arizona University and professor of philosophy. Before that she was co-director of interdisciplinary studies and applied studies programs in extended programs, also at Northern Arizona University.