Advisers to be trained in CAEL method in March

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Program gives college credit for experience.

By Katherine Garcia

Two committees of the Alamo Colleges board of trustees on Tuesday got updates on a new advising model that will focus on adult learners and offer college credit for work experience.

Trustees discussed the new model during the Strategic Initiatives Fall 2103 status report during the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee meeting in Killen.

Members of the Audit, Budget and Finance Committee asked the cost of a program known as CAEL advising certification that will be taught this semester to 140 advisers across the district.

Dr. Adelina Silva, vice chancellor for student success, said the cost of training advisers will be $100,000.

CAEL, or the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning, will train advisers to work with adults specifically.

CAEL is a nonprofit organization that finds “practical ways to link people’s education to their jobs or future careers … and support ways to link learning from their work and life experiences to their educational goals — so they earn their degrees and credentials faster,” according to its website at cael.org.

Chancellor Bruce Leslie is treasurer of the 29-member board that directs the organization. The board provides a “unique perspective on the ways higher education, business, labor, and government affect the success of adults in their pursuit of higher education,” according to the website.

The organization trains advisers to work with both students and employees.

The new model will be organized into three tiers, and both advising and faculty will work together to make sure students don’t fall behind, Silva said.

The first tier is the seven-hour training of 140 advisers during one day March.

The second tier involves fine-tuning the training skills taught in the first tier during a 2 1/2 day session.

The third tier involves training with a master adviser to receive certification.

Although not labeled a tier, the last step in the process is to “train the trainer,” so that advisers can teach the method to new employees, Silva said.

All advisers will begin training in March so the new advising method can be implemented by April 14 when fall enrollment begins, Silva explained at the Academic Accountability and Student Success Committee meeting.

“I don’t want anybody to think they’re not already advising,” Silva said. “But this is an enhanced model to add to their training.”

“People will be able to become master advisers,” District 6 trustee Gene Sprague said.

In the old model, the adviser waits for the students, he said.

Under the advising model, students may be able to earn college credit from past work experience by taking the Prior Learning Assessment, Jo-Carol Fabianke, vice chancellor of academic success, said.

The advisers will help students create a portfolio to be reviewed by the faculty to determine credits they will receive for their experience, she explained.

A more complete presentation on the program will be shown to the Academic Accountability and Student Success Committee on March 18.

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