2015 MAEA Graduates’ Showcase and Networking Event with ATDChi

One hundred and twenty five (125) adult learning professionals from the greater Chicagoland area gathered for a lively evening of networking, idea and resource-sharing. The theme of this year’s event was “Creating and Sustaining a Thriving Career in Learning and Development” and included a showcase of six of this year’s SNL Master of Arts in Educating Adults (MAEA) final projects, a job fair for learning and development positions, a panel discussion on employability trends in the field, and networking with learning and development professionals from our co-sponsor, ATDChi (the Chicago Chapter of the Association for Talent Development). The job fair participants included United Way of Metropolitan Chicago, the Cara Group, Caveo Learning, and Walgreen’s. The panel discussion was moderated by SNL professor, Catherine Marienau and included Jann Iaco, ATDChi, CPLP Director and e-Learning Training Specialist, Crate&Barrel; Sybil Madison-Boyd, Ph.D., from Learning Pathways Program Director, Digital Youth Network, DePaul University and Chicago Cities of Learning; Carol Taylor, Department Head, Workforce Education, Metra; and MAEA alum James Lee Weir, Jr.,  Facilitator, Global Leadership College, UPS. Check out some of the pictures from this event!

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MAEA Graduate Showcase

Last night DePaul University’s Center to Advance Education for Adults (CAEA) hosted the Master of Arts in Educating Adults Graduates’ Showcase which featured the Applied Inquiry Projects of the 2011-2012 academic year. The MAEA graduates who participated in this event included Amy Krenzke, Tonya Marie Mahomes, Lorena Guzman, Dennis Gregory, Pamela Thomas, Jacqueline Lewis, and Aaron Rucker, many of whom have recently graduated from the program. Catherine Marienau, MAEA Program Coordinator and Faculty Mentor, explains why the MAEA showcase is an important part of the program, “It is important to show that helping adults learn takes place in many diverse settings.  Those settings – which included universities, community colleges, non-profit organizations, vocational schools, high schools, and corporations – were shown in the students’ work.  More importantly, we want to show how the students’ academic projects are designed to influence change to improve their particular settings.”

School for New Learning (SNL)  MAEA graduate students produce a final project intended to effect change/improvement in their practice in educating adults, while the event allows participants to converse with graduates about new ideas and effective practices that they have developed through their MAEA program. One current MAEA student, Larnzell Harper, told us in anticipation of the event, “I am looking forward to meeting the current graduates, thinking of ideas for my 2014 applied inquiry project, and networking opportunities to meet more SNL and DePaul members.”

Amy Krenzke discussing her project with CAEA advisory board member Cheryl Cornell Powers

The event began at 5:30PM with poster displays and time to converse with the graduates about their project.

Amy Krenzke was eager to share information about one resource that was an enormous help to her while she completed her project: the DePaul ePortfolio website. “The ePortfolio site is easy to use and essentially gives students the ability to build a website to discuss a project. My AIP project final product is actually a portfolio so this was a perfect way to get my project out there electronically. I just think it’s a really great resource that DePaul offers!” Amy’s ePortfolio can be viewed at: https://depaul.digication.com/amykrenzke.

Lorena Guzman spoke of her project, which focused on the design of a workshop for college students that would allow for them to better understand how to file their taxes.  Guzman says that the course is designed to “initiate a dialogue between students and their parents about taxes.  By making them more aware of household finances, they close

Lorena Guzman with her Applied Inquiry Project

the gap between themselves and financial literacy.”  Guzman designed her workshop to appeal to youth, with a 20-30 minute online portion, 30 minutes for questions to be answered by an instructor, and 30 minutes for students to actually work with forms and documents – including the 1040, the 8863 and 8869 forms- as well as providing them with information about educational credits.

We were able to briefly speak with Jacqueline Lewis about her Online Tutoring Service project that she has actually been able to turn into her personal business.  The Online Tutoring Service has helped over 200 students in the areas of medical assistance, medical administrative, medical billing and Lewis says the service will soon include tutoring for pharmacy students and dental technician students.

This year Aaron Rucker became one of the first School for New Learning (SNL) graduate students (along with MAAPS student, Carl Bolton) to be selected to receive a SNL Student Excellence Award for his project entitled Designing and piloting an assessment rubric specifically for evaluating teachers of Emotional Behavior Disorder students.” During the panel discussion, Aaron spoke about how his project evolved through the course of his MAEA program: “When I look back on it, I think I changed my project at least six times.  One – I wanted it to be relevant to my job and to what I do. Two – I wanted it to be relevant to others and Three – I wanted it to still be valid at least five years from now.  The more that I tried to meet these criteria, the harder it got.”

Logo designed by TonyaMarie Mahomes

TonyaMarie Mahomes shared the logo she designed for her project entitled “Recommendations for Successful Strategies to Promote Multicultural Inclusion in a Complex Healthcare Organization.”

At 6:00, a panel discussion that included both students and AIP reviewers allowed for additional questions about the projects. Nearly 70 people crowded into the room, eager to ask questions and listen as students explained their personal experiences while working on their projects.  Dennis Gregory shared an insight he discovered soon after beginning the MAEA program, that “there’s a world of difference between educating adults and adult education.”  Gregory’s project, like many others, attempted to close that gap. Aaron Rucker spoke to the importance of  the practical application of learning, which really resonated with the group that included SNL faculty, staff, instructors, alumni, project advisers, prospective students and friends and families.  “Everything we did, including our Applied Inquiry Project, is useless if we don’t use it!” The panel discussion lasted over an hour with time afterwards for additional conversations. The night a great success. Congratulations once again to all of the students that participated and to our new alumni!

MAEA Showcase Panelists discuss what they included in their Applied Inquiry projects and what was left “on the cutting room floor.”

Additional quotes and pictures from the event can be found on our Twitter and on our Facebook page:



Scholarship Opportunity for Adult Learners (DePaul)

The DePaul Office of Adult Student Affairs is pleased to announce their Scholarship Program for the 2011-2012 academic year.  This program is designed to assist the growing number of adult learners who are returning to schoolTwo students (one undergraduate and one graduate/professional student) will be chosen from the applicant pool each term, including summer.  Each regular year academic term recipient will be awarded a $2,000 scholarship and the summer term recipients will receive a $1,000 scholarship.  These awards are not renewable and winners of the scholarships cannot apply for another Adult Student Affairs Scholarship in the same academic year. 

Fall Quarter = 2 students – $2,000 each                     Winter Quarter = 2 students – $2,000 each

Spring Quarter = 2 students – $2,000 each              Summer Quarter = 2 students – $1,000 each


Students who have applied, but have not received a scholarship may apply again within the same academic year.

Winners of the scholarship have the option of having the funds applied to their tuition or towards a DePaul University sponsored Study Abroad trip for the quarter in which they are awarded the scholarship.  Winners must be enrolled at least half time or registered for the study abroad trip in the term for the quarter in which they are awarded the scholarship.  Current financial aid packages may be adjusted when the scholarships are applied.


Deadline for Application:


*Fall Quarter deadline – August 15, 2011            *Winter Quarter deadline – Nov. 22, 2011

*Spring Quarter deadline – Feb. 26, 2012          *Summer Quarter deadline – May 11, 2012



To be eligible for the scholarship program, you must:

  • Have financial need as determined by the results of your FAFSA
  • Be a continuing DePaul student who is currently enrolled at least part-time as a graduate (4 credit hours), professional (9 hours) or undergraduate (8 hours).
  • Be an adult student.  Adult student  is defined as an undergraduate student who is 24 years of age or older.  All graduate, veteran and professional students may apply regardless of age.
  • Have a cumulative 3.5 GPA
  • Complete a short essay (details for essay below)
  • Submit the application by the deadline to:


Bernadine Thomas, Assistant Director


Office of Adult Student Affairs

1 E. Jackson, DPC 11015

Chicago, IL  60604

(Incomplete applications and those received after the deadline will not be considered)

Turning Purpose Into The Match Game

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           ..from the Bleeding Edgycator

If we’re heading in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking. (Bhuddist proverb)

Having an exchange with an attorney recently got me thinking about “purpose” — not so much in what drives my day or even the whole of my life.  Rather, I gathered a few thoughts about the convergence of purpose(s) when I seek out a professional of some sort who puts him or herself out in the world with both their own purpose(s) and a promise to meet mine, or at least an attempt to do so. In this sense, I’ve been thinking about the matching of purposes as some sort of agreement between me and someone else…a person or an institution.

My purpose in seeing a doctor is to seek a cure for an ailment… or find out if I even have one and he does what he can to match my intent.  I work with a psychologist for the purpose of managing or overcoming emotional.. and perhaps cognitive.. difficulties and she offers the same in return  (or just declares me a goofball and bills my insurance).  I attend the theatre for the purpose of being entertained or experiencing a mirror to my life.. and the theatre group and playwright set out to do their best to make laugh and cry.  I go to a bank to keep money safe and use their services to access it.. or even make a little (very little these days) on it… and the bank uses my money to make money for itself in one of a number of ways (safely, I hope, though with some doubt these days).  I go to a golf pro to improve my game.. and he works with me, to improve my game, maybe.  In meeting up with each of these professions, I have a pretty good sense of my purpose and it corresponds pretty closely to that of the practitioner or the institution.

And we – you and I – seek out or participate in education for the purpose of… ?

How much did I think about my purpose when I was an active student? … not a lot or at least not deeply.  And if you’re an adult thinking about, or already seeking more education, how much have you figured out your purpose(s) to match against that of the programs you’re looking at? I’m not all that sure I remember how well I considered if my purpose(s) jived with that of the institution or the programs I participated in except at some very broad ‘come get a quality education.. I want a quality education’ level.  How well do you think you know the match between your purpose for seeking education and the purpose of the institution that seeks you – and your tuition dollars — out?  How much of an active agreement did I… or you…  make with the universities we attended regarding the mutuality of our purposes?

Let’s try a Column A and Column B experiment… Column A is a list of the purposes I’ve heard from adult students over a number of years – and here I am focusing solely on adult students –  attending one or another program I’ve been associated with at both the undergraduate and graduate levels.  Column B, with no correspondence to its neighbor in Column A,  is a random selection of mission or purpose statements, edited for space (believe it or not), from both universities and programs or departments from several regions of the U.S. who are hawking their wares toward adult students.   (I don’t specify the names or programs here because my intent is not to single out any particular one… the small selection was pulled from a search of the internet and a pile on my desk.)

(Adults’) Purposes for Pursuing Education Institutional Statement of Mission and/or Purposes
To advance my career “The program allows working adults to return or enter college and study only one night a week. Groups, called “cohorts” are placed together in clusters of 15-20 students, who then study together throughout the entire program. These students graduate together and often form life-long friendships. (This university) provides non-traditional education to those who for varied reasons are not resident students.” (West Coast private university)
To broaden my horizons The (program) is specifically designed for adult students (at least 22 years of age) returning to college.  If you would like to complete your degree but feel you do not have enough time or money, we have the solutions that may make the difference. (West Coast private university)
To expand my knowledge in a variety of directions “A (graduate) program where graduate students are guided and supported in pursuing individualized journeys of graduate-level inqjiry and professional development; a program where each student’s idea.. vision to learn and contribute… gets translated into learning for action…” (Midwest private university)
To finish unfinished business in my life (The university) is committed to providing the best possible private education to a diverse and talented student body… (with a) continuous commitment to (opportunity that) must be retained, strengthened and, when necessary, redefined in an uncertain world where many are excluded from the full benefits of higher education due to economic and social factors beyond their control….. In addition, the… commitment to self-evaluation and civic engagement must remain as major goals. All of this must be accomplished during a time of considerable economic change and in the context of strengthening the (university’s) own financial base.…The university’s adult and continuing education) provides flexible programs to allow the adult student to pursue their educational goals. (East Coast private university)
To find personal satisfaction and a sense of accomplishment The mission of the (university system) to develop human resources, to discover and disseminate knowledge, to extend knowledge and its application beyond the boundaries of its campuses, and to serve and stimulate society by developing in students heightened intellectual, cultural, and humane sensitivities, scientific, professional and technological expertise, and a sense of purpose. Inherent in this broad mission are methods of instruction, research, extended training, and public service designed to educate people and improve the human condition. Basic to every purpose of the (university system) is the search for truth. (Midwest state university system with adult programming)
To get a credential (This university’s) Master of Liberal Arts and Science degree program is designed for the adult learner ready to return to the collegiate classroom and experience it in a new way. Whether returning to the university to learn what was missed the first time, to pursue a post-graduate degree for professional development or personal achievement, or to more fully explore an academic topic of great interest, …. (the) faculty, curriculum and schedule all have the discerning adult learner in mind. (Mid South private university)
To make me better at dealing with what life is throwing my way (This university) provides access to higher education opportunities that enable students to develop knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, improve the productivity of their organizations and provide leadership and service to their communities.

  • To facilitate cognitive and affective student learning… and to promote their use in the work place.
    • To develop competence in communication, critical thinking, collaboration, and information utilization, together with a commitment to lifelong learning.
    • To bridge the gap between theory and practice…
    • To provide general education and foundational instruction and services that prepare students to progress to more advanced learning.
    • To use technology in instruction to expand access to learning resources and enhance collaboration and communication.
    • To assess student learning and use assessment data to improve the teaching/learning system, curriculum, instruction, learning resources, counseling and student services.
    • To be organized as a for-profit institution to foster a spirit of innovation that focuses on providing academic quality, service, excellence and convenience to the working adult.

(Online, globally distributed university)

To get smart(er) Adult education online is available to you through (this university’s adult focused program). At (this program), you can fit completing your college degree into your life and work by taking online college courses… get  help… (accelerating) earning your degree with stimulating adult education online college courses, a generous transfer credit policy, and the opportunity to earn credit for learning gained from your life, training, and work experience. You’ll emerge with your diploma in hand, more confident, more knowledgeable in your field, a better problem-solver, with renewed professional and personal goals. (East Coast state university)
To be accepted by my peers
To climb a social and/or economic ladder

Pretty clearly, the missions and purposes of this group of (wordy) universities set out promises of a challenging educational experiences that will benefit  many individuals and, perhaps, society if fulfilled.  But to a great extent, I find something missing in connecting one (or two or three or more) from Column A to a match-toward-an-agreement in Column B.  The purposes, represented by the phrases of adult students themselves, set out a variety of objectives that are hardly addressed or acknowledged by almost all of the institutional or program purposes.  Certainly, in between these two parties at the educational bargaining table lies commentaries by observers and writers of education, captured, for example, in this blog at Teacher’s Mind Resources. While these commentaries are considerably more loftyand incisive and perhaps closer to a basis for an agreement… well, see if one or two of them are ‘there’ for you.   But where’s the institution to match?  Isn’t one of our tasks as seekers of education to engage that negotiation of shared purpose before getting into the driver’s seat or taking a seat on the bus?

In his preface to In Over Our Heads, The Mental Demands of Modern Life , Robert Kegan refers to the contemporary world as a classroom. His interest is in the question of the capacities of the adult mind to navigate what he terms the “curriculum of modern life” which he characterizes by  multiple and often competing demands inherent in adults’ roles of parent, partner, professional, organizational member… you name it.  What adult hasn’t experienced the demands of this curriculum and the challenges of the ‘classroom’ of the contemporary world… and particularly experienced it with considerable stress if not disenchantment and disappointments?

And what stronger purpose for seeking  education and providing it… the basis for an agreement… than the meaningful understanding and expansion of adults’ capabilities and effectiveness to master ‘the curriculum of modern life?” Might this be the bridge between Columns A and B?

Perhaps.  But because I still have not filled in an answer to the question, “I seek out  the institution of education and the work of professional educators for the purpose of…”,  I feel the need to keep looking for yet one more angle — what better source for another take than from the creators of South Park… who bring us the words of  Alan Watts — philosopher, writer, observer …

In the end, if you’re not sure of your purpose, you’re likely to adopt someone else’s; higher education costs enough as it is.

Morry Fiddler

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