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Update 3
March 2001

The Atlanta Experience: Seminar II-Teams from the 12 Vanguard Learning colleges (VLCs) convened in Atlanta on February 26-28 for Seminar II held in tandem with the League's Innovations 2001 conference. The program reflected the priorities identified by the Project Liaisons: sessions on Obstacles and Challenges to Becoming More Learning Centered and Best Practices in Becoming More Learning Centered; meetings of teams, meetings around the five project objectives, and meetings by role and function. Special features included perspectives from site visits by project staff presented by Kay McClenney and an invitation by the staff of the LeCroy Center for Telecommunications to participate in the development of learning-centered distance education courses.

The Innovations 2001 Conference-The 12 VLCs made their international debut during the Innovations 2001 conference that immediately followed Seminar II. All 12 colleges participated in a poster session that was one of the features of the conference. The stacks of materials the VLCs brought to share with conference participants disappeared quickly. In addition, VLC staff members taught five Learning Center courses organized around the five project objectives to staff members from the Learning College Champion institutions and the VLCs. Approximately 160 staff members attended these special courses which the League made available free. A number of staff members from the VLCs also participated in the Innovations 2001 conference through forums, roundtables, courses, and theme sessions.

Project Listservs-In the near future a series of listservs will be added to the project to provide opportunities for continuing dialogue among project participants. Listservs will be set up for the five project objectives and for other topics and issues as needed.

The Learning College Project Website-The League released a brochure during Seminar II and the Innovations 2001 conference announcing The Learning College website. The website features direct links to the 12 VLCs, lists of Learning College Champions, a Primer on The Learning College, and an emerging list of key resources. Twenty-five thousand brochures have been printed and will be distributed to all community colleges in the US and Canada and at all major community college conferences. The website still needs a lot of work before we can live up to the claim on the cover of the brochure, and this work is in progress.

The Learning College Inventory-The Inventory has been carefully reviewed by project staff, VLC liaisons, and VLC evaluation staff for use in The Learning College Project. The Inventory has undergone significant piloting and validation, but as expected in the development of any new instrument for a new content area, we are continuing to find ways to strengthen it. Some colleges found it useful and others did not. After a thorough review, the project staff and participants determined that the Learning College Inventory will no longer be required as an evaluation tool for the overall project, although a number of colleges have elected to use it to assess their own progress. Colleges electing not to use the Inventory to assess their own progress will develop alternative methods to do so. The Learning College Inventory will be redesigned as a qualitative instrument to be used as an educational tool, a planning tool, and a tracking tool.

Site Visits to Vanguard Learning Colleges-By the end of March all 12 VLCs will have been visited by Project Evaluator Kay McClenney accompanied by various project staff members.  Colleges are at various stages in their journeys to become more learning centered, but they are deeply engaged in the challenges and issues to place learning first. Kay shared observations during Seminar II based on the site visits, and her review, Learning from the Learning Colleges, will be placed on the Learning College website. It has also been distributed to the National Advisory Committee and to VLC presidents and liaisons.

Project Dissemination-Dissemination began in earnest when the 12 VLCs shared their progress in the poster session at Innovations 2001 and when the League announced the Learning College Project website. An early monograph on best practices in the 12 VLCs is planned for release before the end of the year. Near the end of the project there will be a book of case studies on the 12 VLCs and five monographs featuring college practices in each of the project objectives. Individual colleges are strongly encouraged to disseminate information about their projects through their websites; through journal articles, Learning Abstracts and Leadership Abstracts, books, newsletters, monographs, and CDs; and in presentations at state/province and national conferences.

Planning for Seminar III-Seminar III is scheduled for Scottsdale June 23-26 at the same hotel used last summer. Most of the VLCs met with project staff after Seminar II to plan Seminar III, which will be organized around in-depth sessions focusing on problem solving and implementation strategies.

Update 2
October 2000

Site Visits-League project staff and project evaluator Kay McClenney will conduct site visits at the 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges between October 2000 and February 2001.

The Learning College Inventory-Cindy Miles has worked with research consultants to strengthen the psychometric integrity of the instrument, and it will be administered at all 12 colleges by January, 2001. At an appropriate point, the League plans to make the Inventory available to all colleges.

The Learning College Web Presence-We plan for the project's Web presence to become the central station for anyone interested in the Learning College and the Learning Revolution. Colleges will have their project Web pages ready by mid-October; the League's project Web page includes links to each of the Vanguard Learning Colleges.

The Learning College Champions-Sixty-one applicants for the Learning College Project have accepted the League's invitation to join the project as Learning College Champions. Champions have been invited to attend an exclusive Learning Center Course at the League's Conference on Information Technology, November 15-18 in Anaheim, CA. The League is also making plans to provide Learning Center Courses to Champions at Innovations 2001 and to include Learning College Champion institutions in Web activities through the League website.

Activities at League International Conferences-In addition to the special Learning Center Courses for Learning College Champions, the League is planning a variety of special activities at its annual conferences. Forums and roundtables presented by representatives from the Vanguard Learning Colleges will be highlighted at Innovations 2001 (February 28-March 3 in Atlanta), and a poster session showcasing the Vanguard Learning College journeys toward becoming more learning centered is being planned.

Expanding Resources-On September 6-8 representatives from 11 of the Vanguard Colleges and project staff members met with the presidents of Eduprise and the Center for Academic Transformation (Bill Graves and Carol Twigg, respectively) in Chicago for a special seminar on learning-centric e-learning.

Expanding the Project-On November 3 project staff will meet in Toronto with representatives from all Ontario two-year colleges and the University of Toronto to explore possibilities of creating an Ontario province version of the Learning College Project.

Update 1
April 2000

League Selects Vanguard Learning Colleges

League staff were delighted with the response to their latest project. Expecting approximately 40 applications from community colleges wanting to be one of the ten Vanguard Learning Colleges, the League received 94 applications and had to add more evaluators to handle the load. The high response rate was not expected because the Learning College concept is relatively new, the application process required applicants to meet a tough set of criteria, and funds for the participating colleges are minimal.

"We are very pleased with this response" said League Board Chair Bill Wenrich, Chancellor of the Dallas County Community College District. "It is a clear indication to us of the timeliness and value of the Learning College concept. This project will provide us with an exceptional laboratory for testing out ideas and innovations to help community colleges across Canada and the U.S. to become more learning-centered institutions."

The proposal for the Learning College Project called for 10 Vanguard Learning Colleges to be selected, but the applications were so excellent the League Board agreed that the League would fund two additional colleges for a total of 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges.  The other 82 applicants will be invited to participate in the project as Learning College Champions. The twelve Vanguard Learning Colleges will become incubators and catalysts for other educational institutions around the world as they share models and practices to transform community colleges into more learning-centered institutions.

The Vanguard Learning Colleges include Cascadia Community College (WA), Community College of Baltimore County (MD), Community College of Denver (CO), Humber College of Applied Arts and Technology (ON), Kirkwood Community College (IA), Lane Community College (OR), Madison Area Technical College (WI), Moraine Valley Community College (IL), Palomar College (CA), Richland College (TX), Sinclair Community College (OH), and Valencia Community College (FL).

Teams from the 12 Vanguard Learning Colleges met for an Initial Seminar June 17-21 in Scottsdale, Arizona. At the seminar, teams met with each other and with a number of consultants, including Alfredo G. de los Santos Jr., Michael Dolence, Steve Gilbert, Roy Giroux, Robert McCabe, Kay McClenney (Project Evaluator), Cindy Miles, Mark Milliron, John Roueche, Michael Skolnik, and Jerry Sue Thornton.

Project Director Cynthia Wilson and Project Senior Consultant Terry O'Banion can be contacted at the League.