Working adults will be able to earn college credit for what they already know, through the University of Wisconsin’s Flexible Option, reports NPR. Students will be able to earn a degree by proving they’ve mastered skills and knowledge.
Katie Hyland, a helicopter transport nurse at Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee, earned an associate degree in nursing five years ago. Now she needs a bachelor’s degree to keep her job. The hospital has given her three years to get it. She thinks she can finish in half the time through the nursing flex program.
UW faculty is designing ways to measure competencies, says Doris Schoneman, who helped create the nursing flex program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.
MARGE PITROF: Faculty will also grade the assessments, and if the students pass, they’ll get the course credits. Schoneman says an advisor will guide each student, but the program does not include classmates or face time with instructors.
SCHONEMAN: The student needs to be self-directed and be able to set goals and to meet them. It’s not any easier; it’s just a different way.
In NPR’s comments, “Skepticmd” praised the flex program, but noted the report missed the real issue about Katie Hyland.
Specifically, what has changed about the job that it now requires a bachelor’s degree? Where is the proof that requiring current employees to expend time, opportunity costs and money on further baccalaureate studies will improve patient outcomes on the heliport landing? The new standard . . . creates a barrier to employment for otherwise competent and qualified individuals.
Will the helicopter nurse do her job any better once she earns a four-year degree? It seems unlikely, writes Skepticmd.
I think that’s a very good point.