Thursday, September 8, 2011

Why we need to make higher education more accessible to working adults

Some of you might know I earned my master's degree as a working adult. Getting the degree was never an "if" for me. It was always a "how and when." And I think for many working adults who want to go back to school to earn a college degree, the how and when are the two biggest factors they're wrestling with.

How do I balance my work and family obligations with my education? How will I have time for family and friends? How will I meet all of my personal, professional, and social obligations? How will I pay for my degree? The questions and conundrums are all too familiar.

But I believe the answers go beyond just doing it and saving money. Educational institutions have a crucial role to play. They should be held to a greater standard to put quality higher education within reach of more working adults and lifelong learners.

In my work at Post University over the past six years, I've been able to fulfill this mission, which I am passionate about both professionally and personally. Our team has worked together to create a model that I think really does put adult learners first, and addresses their need for things like flexible scheduling, collaborative learning, and a strong support system.

I'm not saying our model is perfect. We're always looking to develop new approaches and continually innovate to ensure our system meets the changing needs of adult learners. But what we have found so far is that there are some fundamental elements to making quality higher education more accessible to working adults.

Although I talk about this topic fairly often, it's particularly top of mind for me this week. The editors of The Hispanic Outlook in Higher Education recently invited me to contribute an article detailing Post University's model for making higher education more accessible to working adults, and it's out now in their latest issue.

I hope you'll take a look, and please feel free to share your thoughts. Improving higher education requires collaboration from many organizations and industries, and I believe it's crucial to stoke the fire and light up new dialogues and discussions.

If you subscribe to Hispanic Outlook, just log in to view my article. It's on page 15. If you don't, try the free preview online (again, flip to page 15), or pick up a hard copy.

Thanks to the editors for taking my piece.