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How Adults Learn Today by Dr. Andrew Stenhouse

Adult learners are primarily driven by three things: relevance, immediacy and convenience.

Relevancy

We file all kinds of data in our minds. And like filing cabinets, our brains get full and unorganized. Many adults have learned to function on a “need-to-know” basis. They focus on obtaining and retaining information if certain they will need to retrieve it at some point. In other words, they don’t want to waste time on information that has no relevance. In higher education, career advancement is the number one reason adults attend college. What they learn has to have relevance. I have often said that when teaching adults, “if it doesn’t matter to them, they won’t bother to learn it.”

Immediacy

It’s not just the kids who have grown accustomed to instant access to information. We all have quickly learned to download and watch movies and read books the moment we get the urge. While we all agree that there is nothing quite like the smell of a bookstore and the touch of actual paper, we turn to our Kindle or tablet for an immediate and less expensive option. Likewise, while we all know there is nothing like an IMAX with surround sound, we often turn to Netflix for an immediate and less expensive experience. Adults expect to learn the same way – fast. This is why learning on YouTube is outpacing college and universities worldwide.

Convenience

Along with everything else on-demand, we now have life-on-demand. We have grown accustomed to life-work integration replacing life-work balance. The majority of adults understand that the great divide between personal life and professional life has become pretty thin. Today we parent our kids while we’re at work via text and Facebook, and we work the same way while away from our jobs. We parent from work and work from home. The question for adult learners today is not when we learn but how we learn. The when is a given – now. We need convenience to fit our now-oriented schedules that are no longer static, but are now dynamic. We scroll through our phones and tablets while in the stands at a soccer game, waiting in the doctor’s office, or catching some downtime between kid’s events.

In short, we learn what we need, when and how we want.

See how Vanguard University caters to the unique demands of the adult learner.  Contact Dr. Andrew Stenhouse, Dean of Vanguard University’s School for Graduate and Professional Studies astenhouse@vanguard.edu.

Repent

Ordinary Repentance (Luke 3:3-14), Professor Bill Dogterom

Sunday, January 5, 2014

I grew up thinking that repentance was mostly rooted in feeling bad, maybe even guilty, about some thing I had done. I had plenty of practice! Often the threat of eternal damnation spurred the appropriate feelings for which repentance was the response and solution – and that usually meant ‘going forward’ at the end of a Sunday night sermon and spending enough time at the altar to alleviate the bad feelings.
In the last few years that I have realized that my understanding of repentance had more to do with not feeling bad any more – than with with any necessary change in behavior. It was possible for me to get good at feeling bad. And that was good enough. In fact, sometimes feeling bad produced an emotional reaction that I mistook for the assurance that God had forgiven me. So the strategy was to feel bad enough for long enough for whatever it was that I had done. And that was repentance. Implicit was the idea that, perhaps, I shouldn’t keep doing bad things – but changed behavior was less the content and more the occasional outcome of repentance.
It was a bit of a shock to discover that repentance, as it is used in the Bible, has to do with a change of behavior arising from a change of mind – and that any feelings are more about the desire for the new than they are about shame over the old. Repentance is about living a new way in the light of a new reality. Jesus called his listeners to repent – to live a new way – as an appropriate and necessary response to the fact that the Kingdom of God was now within their grasp. When John challenges his audience to “bear fruit in keeping with repentance” it is interesting to notice how he responds to questions from the crowd concerning what that fruit might look like.
He begins by suggesting that radical generosity is the first demonstration of authentic repentance. “If you have two cloaks, and another has none… do the math! And the same with food…”  A repentant tax collector should only collect the amount they are authorized – and not use their position to become wealthy. The soldier under force of repentance should be content with their salary – and not use their cover of authority either to extort money from people, or to make false accusations. Nothing very revolutionary! Or is it?
Imagine what a community shaped by this ordinary repentance – a community made up of people simply doing their jobs, and not taking whatever advantage their position afforded them to get ahead at cost to others.
John thinks that is repentance – living a new way in the light of the Kingdom’s coming. I think he might be on to something.

 

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Welcome From The Dean, Andrew Stenhouse, Ed.D.

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Welcome to Vanguard University’s School for Graduate and Professional Studies

My vision is for our School for Graduate and Professional Studies to clearly be Orange County’s top choice for a professional education with a Christian foundation – a place where you are empowered to discern your calling; discover your giftedness; and develop your competencies.

You will graduate from Vanguard confidently equipped for your profession. You will be extremely competent. Yet, you will graduate with so much more.  With so much conversation these days on only measuring competencies, many institutions are losing sight of what I believe are some of the most significant benefits of education – calling and giftedness. At Vanguard, you will develop more than your competencies. Your life will be transformed.

If you are like most adult students, you are looking for something more. Although you may be uncertain as to what specifically ‘more’ is, you know it’s time to make a change. It’s time to do more; time to be more. As with so many of our students, your time at Vanguard will be a time of discovering your dream – your true calling. And, along with discerning your calling, you will also discover your true giftedness, at a time and amid circumstance that warrant the discovery most.

In the School for Graduate and Professional Studies, you will be given a quality education in a caring community. The quality of your degree is evidenced by the academic reputation Vanguard University has with local employers. Your professors are leading experts in their fields and bring real-world experience into the classroom, often along with nationally renowned guest speakers. The material discussed in class is relevant and immediately applicable to your career. What you learn in class one night can be applied at work the very next morning.

The caring community of Vanguard University’s School for Graduate and Professional Studies is often what alums value most. Your professors are not only excellent teachers, they are compassionate mentors, living out their own calling, to passionately change lives through higher education. You will be encouraged and supported by a courteous, professional, and student-centered staff, that understands the unique demands of adult learners — many of whom have balanced work, college, and family themselves – who serve with empathy and support. Finally, you will be supported by your classmates. Relationships that begin the first weeks of class often flourish for years. This close-knit community not only provides a great support structure while in school, it provides an even greater professional network that lasts throughout your career.

If you are exploring how a degree from Vanguard University’s School for Graduate and Professional Studies can change your life, I invite you to call me directly. I am always eager to help people pursue their dreams.

Hope. All is well.

Andy

Andrew Stenhouse, Ed.D.
Dean, School for Graduate and Professional Studies
T 714.668.6110 | F 714.668.6194

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Word, Work and Wonder as Holistic Ministry, Professor Doug Peterson

Following JesusProfessor Doug Peterson teaches in our Graduate and Professional Studies programs at Vanguard University and he was asked to write and essay for Following Jesus:  Journeys in Radical Discipleship – Essays in Honor of Ronald J Sider By Paul alexander & Al Tizon (eds).  Click Here to order today

Professor Peterson writes in his essay “Jesus’ teachings to the disciples in the Gospel of Mark provide the marching orders for holistic ministry, i.e., for discipling people to faith in Jesus Christ and demonstrating that faith through our actions and service among the needy.  The purpose of this chapter is to demonstrate that the transformational experience of salvation, the ethical actions of social concern, and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, as seen primarily in the Gospel of Mark, are inextricably linked together in any expression of holistic ministry.

Focusing on Mark 8:22-10:52, the core of Jesus’ teaching on discipleship, I contrast the social and ethical norms of power, authority, control, knowledge, status and wealth, which were accepted in first century culture, with the polar opposite ethical standards – the reversal of the order of things – that Jesus required of his followers under the rules of the kingdom of God.  Greatness in leadership, as God measures, is directly related to our actions on behalf of the marginalized and disenfranchised:  the poor, sick, disabled, unclean, outcasts, outsiders, the insignificant, and especially, or perhaps specifically, the children.”

For those of you who know Professor Peterson personally, you know he lives by his teachings and has a plaque hanging in his office as a constant reminder that reads:

“One hundred years from now,
It won’t matter what car I drove,
What kind of house I lived in,
How much I had in my bank account,
Nor what my clothes looked like,
But, the world may be a little better,
Because I was important in the life of a child.”

 

A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context, Gary Tyra, D. Min

A MissionDr. Gary Tyra, Professor of Religion in our Professional Studies program published a new book A Missional Orthodoxy: Theology and Ministry in a Post-Christian Context 

The emerging and missional church movements have raised decisive questions about what it means to embody the Christian faith in a post-Christian and postmodern world. A common reactionary response denies the significance of the context and reasserts the supremacy of classical orthodoxy. An equally common position at the other end of the spectrum involves a rejection of orthodoxy as contextually insensitive and incapable of being inclusive and missional at all. The one asserts its orthodoxy at the expense of being missional and contextual; the other emphasizes generosity at the expense of its fidelity to “the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 1:3). The church today needs a theology that is both orthodox and missional–doing justice to both aspects. Gary Tyra has written just such a book. In A Missional Orthodoxy he critically engages with the works of Brian McLaren and Marcus Borg for the sake of developing a comprehensive missional theology that retains what he calls the “four Christological verities” at the heart of Christian doctrine. Tyra discusses the methodological question of contextualization, offering an incarnational model of recontextualization that unites the postmodern insights of the culture with the truths of the biblical text. On the basis of this missional foundation, he examines all the major Christian doctrines in order to overcome the false antithesis between a fighting fundamentalism and a too-accommodating liberalism. The result is a humble, modest, missionally faithful orthodoxy that provides a compelling witness within a world of competing extremes.

Vanguard University Selected As A Top Military-Friendly School In 2014

MAE'sVanguard University of Southern California has been selected as a top military-friendly school in our  2014 Guide to  Military-Friendly Colleges & Universities, a list featured annually in our December issue.  A record number of schools responded to our extensive survey, and MAE staff evaluated each submission by our strict criteria.

In this issue, we use an easy-to-read graphic presentation in the form of bar charts, which will enable our readers compare and contrast schools to find the best match for their needs. This year, we also asked for schools to provide additional details about their programs, and will make those answers available on our newly designed searchable database.

We’re excited about the new Guide, and we think our readers—the  ESOs, TOs, top-level commanders who influence educational decisions, and, of course, servicemembers—will value the format too. We think it will reflect positively on your school as well. As the first publication to do a military friendly list, MAE has been improving the process every year in order to provide our men and women in uniform information that will help them make the right choices about college.  Go to http://www.militaryfriendlyschools.com/search/profile.aspx?id=123651

 

College Fosters Early Childhood Education,by Iman Siddiqi, The Orange County Register

mqxewb-b781150018z.120130802160207000gjv1f6vp5.2Those of us who went through preschool remember little more than nursery rhymes, chocolate pudding and the swing set. But as national standards increase, preschoolers today are acquiring basic skills in writing, mathematics and social interaction.

Statistics show that students enrolled in preschool enter kindergarten with stronger academic and social skills than their peers and students having been through preschool perform better in elementary school.

“I know my daughter will improve a lot by going to preschool, but I want her to go to a preschool where she will actually learn, and not just be babysat,” said Mai Tran of Irvine, who has a 3-year-old daughter who will attend preschool this fall.

As parents search for quality preschools, preschools in turn are looking to hire more qualified educators. Schools like Vanguard University in Costa Mesa are trying to help educators meet that need.

Funded by the California Department of Education, the Child Development Training Consortium has created the Child Development Permit Matrix, outlining the requirements for six levels of educators in state preschools: teacher’s assistant, associate teacher, teacher, master teacher, site supervisor and program director. Educators at each level are authorized to care for and assist in the instruction of children and can supervise educators at lower levels.

Teachers in California’s public preschools need to have either an associate’s degree in early childhood education (ECE), or at least 24 completed units of ECE courses, 16 units of general education courses and experience.

Private preschools have three permit options: teacher’s assistant, teacher and director. Assistant teachers require six ECE units, teachers require 12 units, and directors require 12 units and an additional administration course.

Although a degree is not required for educators to be licensed, as preschool standards are shifting to a greater academic focus, and parents’ demands on preschool continue to increase, more schools, including private and faith-based, are demanding degrees of their educators. As a result, many early educators need to return to school to obtain more units or a degree in ECE.

“I’m seeking a bachelor’s degree in early childhood education so I can continue to be a lead teacher at Head Start because in the next few years every lead teacher at Head Start will be required to have a bachelor’s degree,” said Mary Schreiner, 39, of Huntington Beach, a Vanguard University student.

Schreiner and almost 200 other students from all over California and beyond selected Vanguard to complete coursework to meet licensing and ongoing professional development requirements for educators.

Vanguard, in Costa Mesa, is a private Christian university of liberal arts and professional studies that offers 21 undergraduate majors and three graduate degrees.

One of the graduate degrees is the Child Development Program that offers online associate’s and bachelor’s degrees and other online ECE courses. The online bachelor’s degree program was recently ranked No. 16 in the United States by TheBestSchools.org, which ranks college and degree programs in different categories and says it is an independent organization with no ties to any other educational institution.

“Most of our students are adult learners returning to school or seeking a new career path,” said Shari Farris, faculty chair of Early Childhood Education at Vanguard. “Most are parents and work full time. They have very busy lives. The accelerated fully online format works well for them.”

In comparison to in-class courses at other universities, each of Vanguard’s online courses is based on an accelerated eight-week format rather than a traditional 16-week semester format, allowing students to complete the ECE coursework requirements within two years.

“The faculty that teaches in the program consists of highly-educated practitioners with years of teaching and leadership experience,” said Farris. “Despite the online format, our faculty works to intentionally build relationships with students through discussions, meaningful and relevant coursework, faith integration and mentoring.”

The online bachelor’s degree costs approximately $19,500 or $375 per unit, with books costing about $100 per class.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for an early educator in 2012 was $25,000 a year. Early educators with a bachelor’s degree and a focus in a specific area, such as special education, earned $51,000 on average in 2012.

“I chose the field of ECE because in a career like this, money doesn’t matter,” said Kristina Olsen, 25, of Oakland and a candidate for a bachelor’s degree at Vanguard University. “The rewards are emotional rather than financial. The ultimate reward of working with children is in seeing how each child grows and becomes their own person.”