January 2024

Message From Director Lisa Sax Mahoney

Lisa Sax Mahoney Head Shot.jpg

Fifty years ago, during a board meeting held in January 1974, the University of the State of New York, Board of Regents, recognized the importance of validating noncollegiate learning by formally adopting a name for a new program. Following the positive results of a pilot study launched in preceding years, the new program was officially named the National Program on Noncollegiate Sponsored Instruction (National PONSI). Propelled by former New York State Education Commissioner Ewald B. Nyquist and led by its first director John J. McGarraghy, National PONSI sought to motivate adult learners to enroll in colleges and universities, particularly individuals who had historically encountered barriers to higher education.

The forward-thinking founders of National PONSI believed recognizing learning from workplace training could help meet their vision and goals to increase equity and to advance social justice through higher education. These core values are as important to the program now as they were 50 years ago. Although the program’s name was changed in 2012 to National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS), the original commitment to the mission remains unchanged. To honor the legacy of National PONSI and its inspirational founders, 2024 will feature collaborations with organizations that share goals similar to those set forth for NCCRS.

NCCRS Evaluator Robert Clougherty Publishes Article on Generative AI in Higher Education Digest

Longtime NCCRS evaluator Robert Clougherty, PhD, recently published an article on generative artificial intelligence in Higher Education Digest. In his article, Beyond Right Answers: The Transformative Journey from Discriminative to Generative AI in Knowledge and Learning, Robert, an educator who has served as a tenured full professor, director, dean, and provost over a 35-year career, shed light on the differences between discriminative and generative Artificial Intelligence.

"Generative AI functions differently (than discriminative AI) in that it takes the data it was trained on, identifies parameters, and then generates results which fit within those parameters, but that do NOT exist," explained Robert. "Generative AI is not about finding the 'right answer.' The system was not designed to create such answers or facts, it is designed to create responses based on existing material but combined in new ways. Generative AI is much more complex than discriminative AI and much more computationally intensive. In short, generative AI is designed to consider new, previously unconsidered solutions. The discomfort for many is that we have spent the majority of our educational lives being told that the goal is to find the right answer as opposed to possible answers."

Learn more.

Empire State University's Alan Mandell

Receives 2023 Morris T. Keeton Award

NCCRS extends congratulations to Empire State University's Alan Mandell, Ph.D, a distinguished professor of adult learning and mentoring, for receiving the 2023 Morris T. Keeton Award award at the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning's (CAEL) annual conference in Baltimore in November.

The award is given to a leader committed to making experiential learning an integral part of education, increasing access for adult learners and minorities to postsecondary education, and improving the theory and practice of assessment, teaching, and learning.

Learn more.

TESU Recognizes NJDOC and Port Authority

Police Officers' Training for College Credit

Thomas Edison State University (TESU) recently announced it has evaluated apprenticeship training provided to New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) officers and the Port Authority Police Academy's Basic Course for Police Officers training and is now offering college credit for those learning experiences. The University, a longtime NCCRS collaborator based in Trenton, New Jersey, acknowledged both training programs are intensive and rigorous and impart essential skills and knowledge critical to the roles of training participants.

University President Merodie A. Hancock, Ph.D, expressed her enthusiasm for the initiatives, saying, "Recognizing the importance of training, TESU has undertaken a comprehensive review process to assess the programs' equivalency to college-level coursework. At Thomas Edison State University, we are committed to recognizing and rewarding the knowledge and skills individuals bring to their educational journeys."

NCCRS Evaluator Profile

Nick Petron: Theater Icon

Longtime NCCRS evaluator Nick Petron is an icon at Adelphi University. Before recently retiring, Nick taught at the school for an amazing 50 years, cementing his legacy as a true pioneer of the art form.

Born and raised in New York, Nick has worked on-screen with such renowned actors as Al Pacino and John Cusack, and has performed in countless stage productions including as Linus in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown, and The Prince in The King and I. Early in his acting career, as starring role offers began to dwindle, Nick accepted a position at Adelphi. What initially was to be a short-term stopgap career pivot turned into a half-century-long tenure as a sage mentor guiding countless students in preparation for a career in theater, film, and television. Upon retiring, Nick, who also served as department chair, received a prestigious lifetime achievement award from Adelphi.

Nick, who obtained his bachelor’s degree from Kansas Wesleyan University, and his master’s degree from Adelphi, both with concentrations in theater, has no shortage of grateful student admirers. "Nick is a once in a lifetime educator and I am so thankful I was able to experience college as a young actor under his guidance," said student Antoinette Burke. "He loved ALL of his students and I believe every one of us thought we were his favorite. He brought out the best in all of us with joy, humor, and an absolute love of life," added student Laura Jean Smith. "'Take something crappy and make it happy' is a famous Nick Petron quote I still keep saved as a note in my phone to this day. Nick left a huge impact on me, not only as an artist, but as a human being," stated student Katie Major. "Nick's guidance has left an everlasting legacy on every student who has had the privilege of knowing him," added student Karleigh Giguere.

Despite his retirement, Nick will continue as a valued NCCRS evaluator. "Being an evaluator allows me to help course and program creators to stay relevant and up-to-date with the changing face of our business," said Nick. "I'm grateful for that opportunity."

Congratulations to NCCRS Member

Organizations for Recent Successful Evaluations

Apex Technical School

ChildCare Education Institute

New York State Office of the State Comptroller


Congratulations to NCCRS Member Organizations Celebrating Membership Milestones This Quarter

Strategies for Success Through Microcredential Standards

To establish microcredentials effectively on an institution-wide basis, strong alignment among departments is crucial. This connection enables higher education to offer clear and consistent alternative pathways for learners beyond the conventional academic framework. In a recent episode of Illumination by Modern Campus, Anissa Vega, associate vice provost of curriculum and academic innovation at Kennesaw State University, discusses aligning continuing education and academic affairs with microcredentialing and the model Kennesaw State has implemented to help learners' career development.

Click here to listen.

Have news to share? We're interested in photos/summaries of recent training programs, student successes, and significant milestones within your organization. Email [email protected]

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Albany, NY 12234


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