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Next Up, The Election Props -- but first this word: We’re Number One!

Uploaded: Sep 20, 2016

Here is a quick announcement of some unadorned good news: Golden Gate University was recently ranked as a university for adult learners. Accordingly, some may consider this blog to be an advertisement, since I teach there a little; one other reader may decide that it’s just more evidence of a personal desire for reflected glory – either way, so be it. It IS my blog, I am proud to be associated with this rating, and will gladly wear it.

Of course, it’s also a late rebuttal to the early wag/commenter hereabouts who called GGU “the Harvard of the Tenderloin.” Ouch – even if that geography’s bad, as the main campus is in the Financial District. Instead, it’s now “the Harvard of Andragogy*.”

GGU has come a pretty long way from its roots in the early 1900s, as a night law school in borrowed space at the SF YMCA. It includes both undergrad, graduate and doctoral programs in law, business and tax. Indeed, the tax program where I do not teach has long been among the national leaders in graduate tax education. The other curricula focus on recruiting students with day-jobs – the GGU niche in the crowded and capable academia of the Bay Area is that its courses are relentlessly applications-oriented.

As such, GGU gets students who are ‘sharpening the saw’ to use a Covey-ism – they are deepening their capabilities in practical ways to better compete for that next opportunity. It often comes with another company, which benefits from the new skills, thus achieved. I can say from my own experience that the quality and sophistication of the student body continues to improve, and in every class there are students who can flat-out compete – Anywhere.

The rating publication is Washington Monthly Magazine, so it might be argued that the farther away they are, the better you look – like that expert from out-of-town who is instantly more credible than the locals. But there’s more to it than that, as they note that almost half of all collegians are over 25, yet nobody has ranked their school choices in any organized way:

“Whereas U.S. News relies on crude and easily manipulated measures of money and prestige for its rankings, the Washington Monthly measures schools based on what they are doing for the country – by improving social mobility, producing research, and promoting public service. …To put together its exclusive ranking of the best four-year and two-year colleges for adult learners, the Washington Monthly compiled reams of data on which schools best meet these students’ unique needs, such as plenty of weekend, evening, and online classes to fit busy work schedule.”

GGU “has long been devoted to the needs of adult learners. That devotion shows up in one of our measures: fully 88 percent of Golden Gate’s students are adults. Golden Gate also does well on three metrics of adult student friendliness: ease of transfer; flexibility of programs (whether it offers things like weekend and evening classes and prior learning assessments); and services for adults (financial aid counseling, on-campus daycare, job placement, specialized services for military veterans, and so on).”

“Golden Gate does poorly on one metric, tuition and fees. ... But it partially makes up for that in another important measure: earnings. The mean income of adult students ten years after they enter Golden Gate University is $73,166, the eighteenth highest of the 571 four-year schools we looked at.”

The publication does also indicate that most of the nation’s traditional elite schools are excluded from the ratings, because they simply aren’t in the business of educating adult learners. The GGU Griffins** are also utterly unranked in football.

Still, it’s a pretty fine report card. If you’re looking to complete a waylaid degree or to add some new attractiveness to your Permanent Record, you might hazard a glance toward GGU. You could do worse, according to Washington Monthly, almost anywhere else.

* andragogy: "the method and practice of teaching adult learners; adult education."

** I have Never understood this mascot. Seems to me that the Fog Cutters would be better -- especially for we, the faculty!
What is it worth to you?


Posted by Kim Howie, a resident of another community,
on Sep 21, 2016 at 9:44 am

Although I received my graduate degree from the #1 school on the US New and World Report list, I am a big advocate of adult learning throughout life. Personally, I have taken courses at a university or through a professional organization that have contributed to my job-related skills. When you work, you are primarily surrounded by people with like-minded ideas. It's great to be in a class or seminar and hear different points-of-view or an idea that someone has successfully implemented that you might try at work. I was in training for the last 9 years of my career and can say that adult learning is different from the way I was taught in college and graduate school. If done right, it incorporates what experience the learner brings with them. Last point is that I think having the list does a disservice because they create the impression for some that not getting in or going there will affect future success which is far from the truth.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 22, 2016 at 11:06 am

I always enjoy adult evening courses but my focus as I've aged is all about plants! I grow lettuce, cabbage, tomato's galore, onion, green beans, chard, and a bunch of herbs! It all ends up in a pan and shared with my senior buds!

Gossip + healthy cooking + weekly hikes is good medicine!



Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 23, 2016 at 2:33 pm

Does anybody know where senior adults can attend legal lectures for FREE in the EAST BAY?

I've attended more than a few in my time but none in the past few years.

Boalt? Golden Gate? Anyplace to listen to legal lectures re: rights of animals?

Thank You.

Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Sep 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm

Hi Tom...I was referred to an attorney who represent ANIMALS! Hi name is Bruce Wagman and he sometimes teaches at UC Berkeley, School of Law.

Nota Bene: Please feel free to remove this email after you read it.



Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Alamo,
on Sep 27, 2016 at 12:22 pm

Cholo: I have the highest regard for Bruce Wagman, as a man and as a lawyer. He is a leading figure in animal advocacy, nationwide, and literally wrote the (text) book on Animal Law.

If there's a bridge, and I hope there is ;-), it will be a Very crowded place when he gets there.

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