BPCC receives grant for advance nontraditional educational experiences

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Bossier Parish Community College (BPCC) received a grant award from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) and the Lumina Foundation to advance BPCC’s work to recognize nontraditional educational experiences as building blocks toward traditional postsecondary degrees and credentials.

The 10-month award will be used to provide professional development opportunities for both BPCC and high school faculty.  This project will provide training for faculty to align courses in the Division of Communication and Performing Arts (CaPA) with industry-based credentials (IBCs) in conjunction with applicable high school pathways.

Chancellor Rick Bateman explained, “In today’s postsecondary education marketplace, education credentials have grown exponentially and are highly fragmented.  As the Lumina Foundation observed, it is a complex, multi-layered system that is confusing to students, educators, and businesses alike.  This project will allow our institution to work with our dual enrollment partners in high schools that currently offer these IBCs.  Through this process, we will create an alignment at the post-secondary level to provide an opportunity for Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) credit toward a short-term certificate or a full Associate of Applied Science Degree in Communication Media.”

Rona Leber, assistant dean for the Division of Communication and Performing Arts commented, “At BPCC, we see this project as an opportunity to create a direct pathway from high school and give students credit for concepts they mastered in high school.  Being able to work with students who already have these credentials is exciting for our program and faculty.”

Working with secondary schools and BPCC faculty provides an opportunity for collaboration on curricula in the communication media pathways and allows the collegiate faculty to better understand the training students are getting in high school.  Likewise, the high school teachers gain more understanding of the expectations for their graduates when they enter BPCC and start their collegiate career in higher-level course work.

SACSCOC is exploring opportunities to award Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) for credit.  BPCC currently has a PLA policy and this helps students who enter college with professional experience test out of introductory courses and begin their college careers at a higher level—saving students time and money.  For high school students in a design pathway, the PLA offers an incentive to continue at BPCC and receive credit for the work already completed.  For adult learners in the design career field, earning certifications for the work they do every day can be an incentive to go back to college and earn an academic credential.