Susan Hess Logeais: Reflection as Learning Process

New understanding about past learning – it doesn’t get better than that!

Susan Hess Logeais, an Interdisciplinary Studies major at Marylhurst University, recently completed a 45-credit portfolio through Prior Learning Assessment — Congratulations, Susan! She challenged a number of college courses that matched the knowledge she’s acquired through her career as an actor, screenwriting and film director, as well as through her personal life as a wife, mother, and social activist:

Public Speaking
Metamorphosis: The process of change within human cultures and individuals
Acting for the Camera
Advanced Screen Writing
Beginning, Intermediate and Advanced Filmmaking
Digital Video Editing

In her final PLA Reflection essay, Susan commented on new insight she gained through this process of critical reflection and discernment: “When looking back over the subjects I wrote about, I see a clear pattern of deep inquiry and a strong sense of social responsibility. [This] has helped me narrow my thinking on the kind of senior film project I want to create.”

In this video, you can learn about Susan’s unique experience in the PLA program, and how she was able to translate her extensive professional learning into 45 college credits!

Joan Winchester: An Accreditation of Your Life

Congratulations, Joan!

Joan Winchester, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Communication and Religious Studies, has just completed the Prior Learning Assessment program at Marylhurst University. She earned 23 credits covering these six subject areas for learning she acquired
through diverse personal, professional and volunteer experiences:

• Listening
• Public Speaking
• Small Group Communication
• Social Dimensions of Religion and Culture
• Sociology of Aging
• Cultural Issues of Death & Dying

In reflecting on the more personal topics she wrote about, Joan said, “It was particularly gratifying to recognize the learning I have accumulated over my adult life, and applying relevant theories helped me understand my experiences at an even deeper level.”

David Walker: How You Know It

David Walker, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Cultural Studies and Text: Image, earned 36 credits through the Prior Learning Assessment program. With a solid background in writing, PLA was a comfortable fit for David, yet he says it was a challenging one. With rich personal and professional experiences, David wrote for the following topics:

  • Film Genre
  • Effective Listening
  • Minorities in the United States
  • The Graphic Novel
  • Film and Social Struggle in America
  • U.S. Ethnic and Immigration History
  • Text:Image
  • Topics in Major Directors: George Romero
  • Media and Society
  • World and Ethnic Literature
  • History of Film

In his reflection about the PLA process, David tells us, “PLA is not about what you know so much as it is about how you know it. Each essay is part of a personal narrative that defines who you are through the things you have learned.” Congratulations, David!

Jodie Johnson: Balancing Prior and New Learning

Congratulations to Jodie Johnson, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Religious Studies and Human Studies, who recently completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. Jodie earned 33 credits based on knowledge she gained through both her professional and personal experiences! She wrote nine PLA essays on the following topics:

  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Business Ethics
  • Real Estate Practices
  • Solving Communication Problems with Technology
  • Listening
  • Customer Relations
  • Sales
  • Persuasion, Argumentation, Debate
  • Computer Concepts

In Jodie’s Final Reflection Statement she wrote:

After writing seven essays and against the recommendation of my instructors, I decided to take a term off from PLA. I was so excited to delve into my core classes and obtain new learning. Ultimately it did not do me any favors when I went to finish up the last two essays…My eighth essay was an incredible struggle…I had to relearn the structure of Prior Learning…I should have kept on the motivated wave of writing and finished. It is the greatest lesson I can pass along to all those interested in moving ahead in their college career with PLA.

Velda Metelmann: 67 Years of Learning

Velda Metelmann recently completed her undergraduate degree in Interdisciplinary Studies, with concentrations in English Literature & Writing and Human Studies, and is now in a graduate program to earn her Masters! Congratulations, Velda!

As part of her undergraduate program, Velda earned 25 credits for the following courses through Prior Learning Assessment:

  • Effective Listening
  • Public Presentations
  • Human Emotion
  • Publications and Performance
  • Women Working for Change
  • Readings and Special Project in the Teachings of Abd’ul-Bahá

In her Final Reflection Essay, Velda talked about how writing for PLA credits increased her confidence in her writing skills, so that now a 6-8 page term paper seems like an easy task after working on a 20-25 page PLA essay. She also commented that, “My love of writing has been increased as well as my skill in the art, and I look forward to my next terms with excitement.”

In this video Velda shares her experience in the PLA program – her enthusiasm for life-long learning is infectious!

Carleen Walsh: Credit for Diverse Knowledge

Carleen Walsh, an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Early Childhood Education, Psychology, and Literature, recently completed her Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio, earning 45 credits for knowledge she gained through her professional and personal experiences – that’s the maximum number of PLA credits a Marylhurst student can earn!  Here is a list of the courses Carleen wrote for:

  • Introduction to Criminal Justice
  • Introduction to Law – Fundamentals
  • Introduction to Law – Substantive Areas
  • Criminal Law
  • Litigation
  • Evidence
  • Observation and Guidance I
  • Environment and Curriculum II
  • Instructional Strategies – Reading
  • Interpersonal Communication
  • Effective Listening
  • Introduction to Christian Bible
  • Nutrition
  • Backpacking: Map and Compass

Congraulations, Carleen!

One thing of note that Carleen included in her Final Reflection Essay was this:

As I was writing each essay, I was totally caught up in what I was writing about, and became aware how much knowledge I gained through different experiences.  Some of these experiences were over 10 years ago, but I was back at that time as I was writing the essay, and reading material showed me how much I know about a certain subject.

Stephanie Lillegard: Learning a New Way to Learn

In May 2011. Stephanie Lillegard completed her 30-credit Prior Learning Assessment portfolio. For Stephanie, it was a journey of learning.

Stephanie is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Human Sciences and English, Literature, and Writing. She wrote PLA essays on the following topics:

  • ED 109: Library Procedures
  • ED 114: Reference Materials
  • CCM 325: Communication of Self-Esteem
  • ILS 300: Literature for Children
  • SP 227: Nonverbal Communication
  • SP 105: Listening
  • SP 111: Public Speaking
  • PSY 222: Family and Intimate Relationships

Congrats, Stephanie, on learning a new way to learn, and on 30 credits toward your undergraduate degree!

Barbara Eckroad: Tips from a Distance Student

Barbara Eckroad recently submitted her PLA Portfolio for the maximum number of credits allowed — 45! For Barbara, all of that life experience has added up — big time!

Barbara is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in English, Literature & Writing, Media Studies, and Religious Studies. The topics she wrote for were:

  • LIT 223: Introduction to Literary Genre
  • WR 367: Writing Workshop I: Poetry
  • WR 368 & 468: Writing Workshop I & II: Short Fiction
  • LIT 329: The Novel
  • WR 312: Writing the Novel
  • SSC 210: Introduction to Hebrew Bible
  • SSC 211: Introduction to Christian Bible
  • SSC 422: Gospels
  • SPP 330: Spiritual Discernment through Writing
  • SPH 357: Existentialism
  • CCM 321: Small Group Communication
  • HST 353: History of the 1960′s
  • SPH 300: Ethics and Social Issues
  • CCM 333: Intercultural Communications


Debra Giannini: Ready for What’s Next

Debra Giannini just completed her 15-credit Prior Learning Assessment Portfolio. Debra is an Interdisciplinary Studies major with concentrations in Psychology and Expressive Therapies. The topics she wrote for are:

  • BIO 165 – Alternatives in Health and Healing
  • BIO 167 – Nutritional Science
  • CHS 354 – Environment, Culture, and Food
  • CCM 342 – Rhythm-Based Communication
  • SPP 371 – Communicating the Sacred through Dance

In her final Reflective Essay, Debra wrote:

Like so many others examining the trails of our lived lives, I soon discovered how much I had undervalued some experiences and independent learning. In this year, I’ve become better able to express myself in writing and discussion and to appreciate how different points of view embellish and extend the learning process. I have gained skills in computer technology, time management, and research tools, and I have made many good friends and professional colleagues in the library and through the coursework . . . I feel ready to embrace the challenge of graduate school and am grateful to have become a more confident writer.

In her video, Debra tells us more about her experiences with the program, including how she saved time and money (almost $2,500) by going through the PLA program.

Loretta Rowe: Weathering the Storm

Sometimes you don’t know what you know. You know? Well Loretta Rowe knows!

In just two terms, Loretta earned 21 Prior Learning Assessment credits, and in the process of doing so she discovered that she knew a lot more than she thought she knew. In her final Reflective Essay, Loretta shared this:

As I prepare my Final Portfolio, I wrestle with mixed emotions, feeling a sense of great relief and immense achievement. In two quarters, I will have earned twenty-one credits through PLA, but more than earning the credits, I leave PLA with a great sense of self-triumph. Not just for the essays I have written, but in realizing my experiences in life brought me knowledge to challenge college-level classes. . . PLA has improved my self-esteem. . . Writing down the experiences and knowledge I have gained in life through the PLA process has helped me grasp the fact that I have a wealth of knowledge, and I want to share it.

Loretta’s major is Interdisciplinary Studies with concentrations in Business and Communications. The PLA topics Loretta wrote for were:

  • Effective Listening
  • Public Presentations
  • Principles of Management and Supervision
  • Psychology of Loss and Grief
  • Property Management
  • Sales

Loretta tells about her PLA experiences and offers some PLA writing tips in this video. (Her words are so powerful, in fact, that the electricity flashed on and off as she was talking; indeed, we filmed this in the midst of a summer thunderstorm.)