A Unique Educational Experience For the Adult Learner: Arcadia’s CAPE Program Sets High Standard for Customized Programming

February 15, 2012 Susan Gettlin

There’s a special anniversary coming up at Arcadia.

Just one year ago, Arcadia University cut the ribbon on a high-tech, well-appointed King of Prussia campus in the heart of a buzzing commercial district. The 13,000 square foot campus is housed in an office complex and features modern classrooms outfitted with the most current educational technology and classroom and lounge spaces custom-designed for adult learners. The campus is home to The Center for Adult and Professional Education (CAPE), founded in 2010. CAPE’s programs set it apart from other offerings in the area: Customized seminars and special programs for educators and school administrators focused on staff development, certification, and graduate study. Another hallmark of CAPE is the division’s close interaction with the Education Department--many CAPE courses are taught by Education Department faculty, and programs are the equivalent of those offered at the Glenside campus.

CAPE’s mission is straight forward: Offer busy educators and business professionals opportunities to gain knowledge that is applicable to their careers and advances their professional development. Many students want to continue their studies but are stymied by the demands of work or family. CAPE presents courses at convenient on-site locations at Arcadia’s Glenside campus, in blended and all-distance delivery modes, and, of course, at the King of Prussia campus. All instructional, intern and supervisory/administrative certification programs are fully approved by the Pennsylvania Department of Education.

“The mission of CAPE is to continue to develop both educational and business opportunities with school districts, independent school partners, charter schools and businesses,” said Dr. Erik Nelson, Dean of the School of Continuing Studies. “Arcadia University is a recognized leader in education in the greater Philadelphia region. Our goal is to interact closely with faculty decision-makers within the Education Department to further develop opportunities to offer classes as part of Arcadia’s degree-granting programs.”

Reaching new and untapped student populations is also the goal of CAPE as the entity embarks “We are always seeking new student populations in different districts within the range of King of Prussia.” At the forefront of forging these relationships that lead to long-term connections is Beth Specker, the new Director of Educational Initiatives at CAPE. “Beth is playing a central role in reaching out to districts and businesses in King of Prussia and the Lehigh Valley. She’s the ‘on-the-ground’ marketer, along with Dr. Steve Hooker of the Education Department.” [For more about Beth, see her profile in this issue.]

Beyond customized programs, one of the hallmarks of CAPE programs involves the connection students have with faculty and a program coach, a staff member who communicates directly with the student from start to finish of a program. “From the application process, through course selection and until graduation, our students have a point of contact, a program coach, who is accountable and willing to assist with their needs. That’s an innovative and important partner in a student’s educational journey. Faculty also establish close connections with CAPE students. For Dr. Nelson, the understanding that CAPE faculty bring to the complex and evolving role of contemporary adult learners sets the CAPE experience apart for students. “We can transform this understanding to fully addressing the needs of our students,” he notes. “It is this ground-breaking approach to adult learning and our innovative courses that will pave the way for our students’ future success. We truly offer a unique experience at CAPE.”

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