We have just returned from the 40th Annual NADE (National Association for Developmental Education) Conference in Anaheim, CA. Undoubtedly this was the most valuable conference we have attended to date! The original concept for Bridge the Divide involved focusing on developmental education, and after this conference it is clear that this is indeed where we can make an immediate and sustainable difference in student success and completion.
Developmental education is the integration of academic courses and support services guided by the principles of adult learning and development. (Boylan, 1999)
The NADE conference provided EPIC’s Bridge the Divide program with several valuable assets:
Professional Development: There were dozens of sessions on developmental education course redesign. We learned a great deal from the educators who presented at the conference, enhancing our internal expertise in this field as well as our academic synergy with developmental practitioners. Some of the more interesting included Opportunities in Redesigning Developmental Education, Promoting Student Success through a Statistics Pathway, and Blame Over: Developing a Responsible Program Approach.
Connections: We were able to further existing relationships and create new ones, including Barbara Illowsky from the California CC Online Education program and Jon Squires from SREB.
However, the most significant connection was furthering an existing relationship with Dr. Hunter Boylan; Hunter is currently a professor of higher education and the Director of NCDE (The National Center for Developmental Education) at the Reich College of Education at Appalachian State University in Boone, NC. I have known Hunter since the early-90s and have always been impressed by his knowledge of developmental education and his research of the issues facing this field.
Hunter’s career roles (I hope you are sitting down…) include gang control worker, tutorial coordinator, academic advisor, learning center director, TRIO program coordinator, developmental instructor, Director of the Developmental Education Doctoral Program at Grambling State University, President of NADE, Director of the Kellogg Institute, etc. etc.—WHEW! Although he doesn’t need more accolades, Hunter is also a prolific author with over 100 books, articles and monographs to his credit. He frequently keynotes conferences and is often quoted in the media on issues such as developmental reform and college completion initiatives. In addition to serving on editorial and advisory boards, he is the Principal Investigator for the ongoing National Study of Developmental Education.
What has always impressed me about Hunter (even more than his bio) is his courage to speak the truth as he sees it. He is one of those rare academic leaders where you always know where he stands and how he feels about educational issues. And Hunter knows virtually everyone in the developmental education arena. Those factors, and his research expertise, make our connection with him so extremely valuable. We have a lot to learn from him!
The integration of academic courses (and support services) Hunter mentions is what Bridge the Divide is all about. Creating curriculum alignment and intentional connections between high school courses, college developmental education courses, and first year college credit courses is where we share a common student success and completion mission with Hunter Boylan, NCDE and NADE. That common mission will create a solid foundation for partnering in future initiatives.
For more information on guided pathways and alignment, contact Kirsten Aspengren at Kirsten.firstname.lastname@example.org