New Blog by Vice Chairman of Capella University to Focus on Critical Issues Facing Higher Education

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In 'The Other 85 Percent,' Michael Offerman will explore why higher education must evolve to meet the needs and expectations of today's adult student.

The adult student today has different needs and objectives than the college student of the past. I plan on using this blog to explore what we can do to meet those needs.

Research shows that only about 15 percent of higher education students still fit the traditional definition of a college student: age 18 to 22, living on campus, and going to school full time. That is the inspiration for The Other 85 Percent, a new blog by Capella University Vice Chairman Michael Offerman that challenges the traditional view of how to best serve today's college students. Capella University is an accredited, fully online university with more than 20,000 students.

The reality is that many college students today are working adults, often with families, who are going to school to advance in their chosen careers. Offerman points to the fact that the average Capella University student is now 40 years old.

"Despite clear changes in the demographics of American higher education, public discussion and public policy consideration are still based on the tradition of the 18 year old going directly from high school to full-time, on-campus study," Offerman says. "This blog asserts that about 85 percent of college students today do not fit that tradition. Instead, it is focused on a major segment of higher education students: adults who study at a distance. I believe that it is time for us to recognize and deal with contemporary higher education reality and its public policy implications."

Offerman, who served as president of Capella University from 2001 through 2007, will explore issues such as educational accessibility, outcomes and accountability as they relate to the working adult. One topic in particular that he will address is how to ensure that colleges and universities that serve adults at a distance - such as online universities - demonstrate real learning outcomes to prospective students, such as through the Transparency by Design initiative.

"When considering which school to attend, a prospective adult learner deserves to know whether the school they select can demonstrate that they will learn what they need to know to be successful in his or her chosen field," Offerman says. "The adult student today has different needs and objectives than the college student of the past. I plan on using this blog to explore what we can do to meet those needs."

About Capella University
Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited*, fully online university that offers graduate degree programs in business, information technology, education, human services, psychology, public health, and public safety, and bachelor's degree programs in business, information technology, and public safety. Within those areas, Capella currently offers 104 graduate and undergraduate specializations and 15 certificate programs. The online university currently serves more than 20,000 students from all 50 states and 56 countries. It is committed to providing high-caliber academic excellence and pursuing balanced business growth. Capella University is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information, please visit http://www.capella.edu or call 1.888.CAPELLA (227.3552).

*Capella University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission and is a member of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA), http://www.ncahlc.org.

Capella University, 225 South Sixth Street, Ninth Floor, Minneapolis, MN 55402, 1.888.CAPELLA (227.3552), http://www.capella.edu.

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MICHAEL WALSH
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