January 30, 2015

Jessica R. Pope and Whitney Yarber

VSU President McKinney Selected to Serve Second Term on CAEL Board of Trustees

VALDOSTA--Valdosta State University President William J. McKinney has been re-elected to serve a second term on the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) Board of Trustees, effective July 1. 

According to its website, CAEL is a nonprofit organization that works with the public and private sectors -- college and universities, corporations, government agencies and associations – to help adult learners stay in school, graduate, and succeed. 

In 2012, CAEL presented Valdosta State University with its Institutional Service Award, citing the university’s innovative efforts to improve access and college completion for adults. CAEL also recognized the university’s efforts with regional military bases to serve the educational needs of active duty military and veterans. 

“With all of the push for career and economic focus in higher education and the links between two-year, four-year, and business sectors, this positions VSU well in that discussion,” said McKinney referencing his position on the CAEL board.  “When I received the call in 2012 to serve on the CAEL board, it was a feather in VSU’s cap because of all the great work the university has done over the years in the area of adult education.” 

Valdosta State University has a history of serving adult learners (25 years and older) through the development of educational opportunities for working adults, specifically active duty military and veterans.

The emphasis on increasing the number of adult learners is further enhanced through the Complete College Georgia initiative, which addresses the future workforce needs of Georgia.

According to a study by Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workplace, approximately 60 percent of jobs in Georgia will require some college education and training. With less than 50 percent of Georgia adults having a post-secondary degree, there is a growing need to produce more college graduates to meet the state’s future workforce demand.

“If you look at the economic direction the state is making and the number of new jobs needed in the future, compared to the number of graduates coming through the pipeline, we come up short,” said McKinney, who currently serves on CAEL’s Policy and Innovation Committee. “We have to reach those adults who have some college credit but never completed their degree. The way you hit that number is to reach out to those students with the flexibility of online degree programs.”

As part of its outreach to adult learners, especially active duty military and veterans, Valdosta State now offers undergraduate online degree programs in organizational leadership, office and administration technology, criminal justice, human capital performance, and legal assistant studies.

These programs offer the flexibility and accessibility for working adults who want to earn a bachelor’s degree.

Valdosta State University also reaches adult learners through its highly successful Pathways Program, which streamlines the transfer process for students who earn an associate degree and want to earn a four-year degree.

First established with Wiregrass Georgia Technical College in 2013, VSU’s Pathways Program currently has 10 agreements with Technical College System of Georgia institutions throughout the state. Other schools included in the program are the Community College of the Air Force, Georgia Military College, North Florida Community College, and Central Texas College.

Valdosta State's enrollment of adult learners continues to increase. In fall 2014, 15.4 percent of VSU's undergraduate students were adult learners, compared to 13.8 percent in 2012.

VSU continues to expand its Pathway Program to two-year institutions throughout Georgia and North Florida.

About CAEL:

CAEL is guided by a 25-member Board of Trustees, which includes leaders from the private, public, and nonprofit sectors who have a unique perspective on the ways higher education, business, labor, and government affect the success of adults in their pursuit of higher education. http://www.cael.org/

Valdosta State University’s 2013-2019 Strategic Plan represents a renewal of energy and commitment to the foundational principles for comprehensive institutions.

Implementation of the plan’s five goals, along with their accompanying objectives and strategies, supports VSU’s institutional mission and the University System of Georgia’s mission for comprehensive universities.
President McKinney’s appointment to the CAEL board meets the following goals:

Goal 1: Recruit, retain, and graduate a quality, diverse student population and prepare students for roles as leaders in a global society.
Goal 3: Promote student, employee, alumni, retiree, and community engagement in our mission.
Goal 4: Foster an environment of creativity and scholarship.

Visit http://www.valdosta.edu/administration/planning/strategic-plan.php to learn more.