When I reflect on the past several years, it seems unbelievable that our CAA family is experiencing the College of Adaptive Arts’ seventh year providing an innovative collegiate environment for lifelong adult education. We at CAA use the term “family” very purposefully, as it is everyone’s college. Students, families, teachers, staff, friends and supporters continue to build out this new platform spotlighting learning abilities that still-quite unbelievably-come as a surprise to many in our community.
As co-founders, DeAnna and I both firmly believe in CAA students’ passion to learn and in the lasting value of an educational path that has no boundaries. Though few would dispute the idea that education is a powerful tool for personal growth, no tier exists within diploma-based programs at mainstream colleges offering our differing learners similar academic goals as their peers. This drives us toward analyzing and dissolving related barriers. We have found that the biggest barriers exist within narrow perceptions of what a college is and how accessible it should be.
The idea of alternative, specialized adult learning strategies can sometimes be perceived as devaluing to the mainstream, traditional college experience. However, the traditional “brick and mortar” perception of learning is changing. No longer restricted to buildings and books, information now travels freely in many different ways through portals powered by technology and interpersonal connection. This is a good change for those who have traditionally been left out of the mix within typical college learning paths, and a golden key for our students with differing abilities.
CAA maintain a vision of a typical campus with buildings for our various departments, similar to traditional colleges. Such representation can be extremely equitable for our students. At the same time, CAA’s current pursuit of learning spaces deserving of our most treasured student body involves fewer and fewer walls and an increasingly broad net of support among respected industry professionals and environments. This exciting development is due to the wonderful fact that those who get our students are excited to get them going in areas of interest and passion, providing them with platforms for sharing their knowledge.
Your support is also changing perceptions daily. This includes perceptions of what it means to attend a college, earn credit, and pursue diplomas within an ongoing, adult learning journey. Will you help us spread the word to adults who can benefit from opportunities to learn and grow through creative approaches accessible to all? Simply share this wise message from our students: “Show your smarts. Learn the arts.”...