Two projects that brought together the Division of Continuing Education and the College of Education at Kansas State University have won Celebration of Excellence awards from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.
The Extended College Education for Lifelong Learning program, or Project EXCELL, won the association's Central Region Innovative Program Award, while the academic advising certificate program won the association's Central Region Mature Credit Program Award.
Project EXCELL offers five-week, on-campus classes to young adults age 18 and older who have mild developmental disabilities or other cognitive disabilities and might not otherwise be able to experience a college environment. The program was offered for the first time at K-State in spring 2010.
"This award is recognition of the commitment of Kansas State University to provide education and services to all citizens of Kansas," said Warren White, professor of special education, counseling and student affairs. "This program has enriched the lives of many individuals and families who typically would not be an active part of university life."
Twenty-seven students participated in Project EXCELL in spring 2010. Thirty K-State students volunteered to be student ambassadors to assist with the project.
"K-State has opened its educational doors for personal enrichment and life-enhancing classes to students and young adults with developmental disabilities," said Sue Maes, dean of the Division of Continuing Education. "It's exciting to watch these young adults enjoying the K-State environment for the first time."
EXCELL is a partnership of K-State and six area educational cooperatives.
"The EXCELL students are proud to be taking classes at K-State, eager to participate, and they clearly benefit from both the academic and social opportunities the program provides," said Linda Teener, executive director of UFM Community Learning Center in Manhattan, which serves as the campus host for Project EXCELL.
The 15-credit academic advising certificate program is a collaborative effort from the department of special education, counseling and student affairs; the College of Education; the Division of Continuing Education; and the National Academic Advising Association. The program was created in 2003.
"We are very pleased to have the graduate certificate in academic advising program recognized," said Ken Hughey, head of the department of special education, counseling and student affairs. "This award helps to emphasize the importance of academic advising to students' postsecondary retention and success. This online graduate program in academic advising serves students from across the U.S. and outside the country."
Nearly 700 students have been admitted to the program, which is completely online.
"We were the first university in the United States to offer a professional program for academic advisers," said Maes. "I believe you can judge the quality of this program by the fact that upon completing the certificate, graduates consistently ask about additional courses and training. Because of these requests, K-State launched the full master's program in academic advising in 2008."