Photo of Diane Treis Rusk (left) and Lauren Smith (right)

The Prior Learning Assessment Expansion Initiative of the University of Wisconsin System: A System Approach to Delivering a Culture in Which PLA Can Thrive

Diane Treis Rusk, Lauren Smith


Many institutions of higher education (IHEs) and university systems are exploring the recognition and award of credit for prior learning as a strategy to recruit, retain, and graduate a greater number of nontraditional-aged students.  Such efforts have focused on establishing shared policies and practices, transferability of credit awarded for prior learning, and faculty engagement – at the state, system, or institution level.   A common challenge across efforts may be how to impact local institutional change through a state system initiative.  This review will discuss three elements of learning acquired in the first years of the UW System PLA Expansion Initiative: building systemwide capacity to achieve local outcomes; establishing shared principles and climate in which a culture of PLA can thrive; and establishing metrics for tracking program success.

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