Students can earn credits through participation in a Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) process. PLA is a process by which you can earn university credit for various university-level learning experiences you have had in your professional or personal life. PLA gives students an opportunity to demonstrate the learning that they have gained outside the university classroom through a number of different sources, such as seminars, training sessions, workshops, non-credit courses, and work experiences. To initiate the PLA process, the students can talk to their advisor or Dr. Krista Stonerock, General Education Department Chair. There are two major areas through which students may pursue writing for university credit:
- Write a Sponsored Professional Training (SPT) paper, which encompasses all types of credentialed learning. Licenses, certified seminars or workshops, continuing education unit (CEU) programs, unaccredited university courses, institute learning and other training programs all have potential for earning university credit. Writing the SPT paper requires less length, but requires the professional training documentation, such as certificates, transcripts, or licenses.
- Write a Learning Application Essay (LAE), which allows students to demonstrate competency from significant life learning in which they do not have sponsored documentation to prove their time involvement. The LAE is a longer paper, since the student must demonstrate university-level competency in the selected topic. Additionally, each LAE must have some form of documentation as proof of the student’s personal involvement in the activity or learning experience. Business cards, commendations, pictures, brochures, etc., all serve as acceptable documentation.
Traditional Students can earn between one 1 and 3 hours of general elective credit for each LAE PLA proposal. Students can also earn between 1 and 6 hours of general elective credit for each SPT PLA proposal. Traditional students can earn no more than 9 hours of PLA credit. Within those 9 hours, a maximum of 6 can be LAE credit. All earned PLA credit hours will count toward general elective hours. The hours will only count toward program requirement hours if a program advisor initiates and approves a course substitution request. Each proposal is considered an application for credit, which must be approved and granted just as students would pass a regular course. Students will be charged a fee to cover the paper evaluation (by an approved professor) and a transcript processing fee.