News release from Georgia Southwestern State University
AMERICUS (May 11, 2010) -- Beginning Fall 2010, Georgia Southwestern State University (GSW) will give academic credit to non-traditional students based on their prior learning from work or other experiences.
In fact, GSW was recently recognized as an Adult Learning Focused Institution (ALFI).
Charles Huffman, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, is the director of Georgia Southwestern's new Prior Learning Assessment Program (PLA). In the fall, he will lead this program's inaugural course, PLA 2000.
"Research shows that experience, when compared to direct instruction, often produces superior learning," Huffman said. "Many adults are fearful about returning to school. Through the new PLA 2000 course, non-traditional students will gain confidence in their ability to perform at the college level, and may earn credit for the skills, knowledge, and abilities they have learned outside the traditional college classroom. It can shorten the time and costs to complete a college degree."
The ALFI Initiative was created in 1999 by the Council on Adult Experiential Learning (CAEL) to help colleges and universities improve learning opportunities for adults. The Coalition was developed to aid in research and to allow schools to learn from one another.
To qualify as an ALFI Coalition member, institutions must offer degree programs to adults, be accredited by regional accrediting agencies, be a current institutional member of CAEL, and have administered the ALFI tools within the past three years.
Georgia Southwestern began developing its Prior Learning Assessment Program in 2009 after receiving a $25,000 College Access Grant from the University System of Georgia. Southwestern is one of four schools within the System that comprises the Adult Learning Consortium.
Faculty members Chu Chu Wu, Tom Wheeler, Leisa Easom, Liz Kuipers, Brian Davis and Huffman have been trained and certified as Master Prior Learning Assessors.