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TLI pilots continuing staff education program

Open house in Canaday Library this Friday

A new resource will soon be available for members of the Bryn Mawr staff who are interested in pursuing first-time degrees. This summer, the Teaching and Learning Initiative (TLI) will pilot a Continuing Staff Education Program that will help aspiring students clarify their educational needs and find programs that fit them.

The TLI will host an open house for its new effort on Friday, April 25, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. as it marks the redesignation of Canaday 316, formerly the Curriculum Resource Center, as the Teaching and Learning Resource Center. The new space will serve as central location for the Continuing Staff Education Program's materials.

The TLI, founded in 2006, has several programs that involve staff, including a learning exchange in which students and staff members are paired to trade skills; a program that teaches reading, writing, and communication skills; and a program that provides instruction in computing.

Staff Education Coordinator Darla Attardi '06, who administers the TLI's staff initiatives, says, "We've had a wonderful response to these programs, but we've consistently heard from staff members who would like to take college courses for credit, not necessarily at Bryn Mawr."

Many staff members are interested in courses that fall outside Bryn Mawr's liberal-arts curriculum, Attardi explains, and the College, whose student body is composed primarily of full-time students who live on campus, generally offers few classes that accommodate the schedules of full-time workers.

Attardi has been working with two undergraduate interns—June Mbae '10 and Maggie Powers '10—to investigate the offerings of local colleges and universities.

"We've collected information from about 15 schools in binders that we'll keep in the Teaching and Learning Resource Center," Powers says. "Each one has an 'at-a-glance' fact sheet with basic information about the school, costs and admission requirements. The fact sheets are uniform so that it's easy to compare programs."

"We also have space in the binders for comments from people who have experience of the programs," Attardi adds.

TLI continuing education consultants will take on the role of guidance counselors, helping staff members navigate the admissions process and identify any financial resources that are available. The $500 per year that the College offers for professional development can be applied to the program, Attardi says.

Attardi credits Mbae and Powers with most of the heavy lifting on the project: "June and Maggie have really led this effort. They've done the bulk of the work, and they've been very flexible as the plans for the program changed over the course of its development."

"I'm really excited about the possibilities of this program," says Powers, a psychology major with a minor in education. "I've been involved with the TLI as a student coordinator for the staff-student partnerships and as an intern. I love the collaborative relationships you can form in this kind of program, and it feels great to be starting a new effort."

Powers' enthusiasm drew Mbae, a chemistry major whom she'd known since International Student Orientation their freshman year (Mbae is Kenyan; Powers, though American, graduated from a high school in Germany and arrived on campus early, with the international group).

"Maggie told me about the internship, and when Darla told me about it, I thought it sounded very worthwhile," Mbae says. "I hope to see it grow."


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Posted 4/24/2008 by Claudia Ginanni