Business professor to receive state honor
Scott Niederjohn, Lakeland College Charlotte and Walter Kohler Associate Professor of Business Administration, is part of a team that will be honored on Jan. 28 at the State Capitol in Madison with a 2014 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Award.
In addition, the late James Flora, a founding member of the Lakeland College Center for Economic Education Board of Directors and a longtime teacher at New Holstein High School, is a winner in the Legacy category.
The 2014 Wisconsin Financial Literacy Awards were selected by the Governor's Council on Financial Literacy.
Niederjohn serves on the board of directors of BEAM, a Milwaukee charter school that specializes in teaching its students and their parents how to become financially successful. BEAM's 10-day summer "The Sky's the Limit Academy" program won in the Organization category.
The Sky's The Limit Academy is a 10-day summer program designed for high achieving middle school students. The academy's goal is to substantially improve the quality and quantity of economic and personal finance education for underserved Milwaukee middle school students.
Niederjohn, who was named a 2011 winner of this award, created Lakeland's Center for Economic Education in 2006. The Center, which won this award in the organization category in 2012, has created programming and training for hundreds of K-12 teachers to introduce students to economic and financial concepts.
A member of Lakeland's faculty since 2004, Niederjohn has become one of the Midwest's foremost advocates for the need for financial literacy and economic education.
A total of 17 winners were named. Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said the winners are making a difference by increasing the personal financial knowledge and skills of Wisconsinites of all ages.
"By improving their financial capabilities, our citizens can improve their quality of life and, in the process, help strengthen the Wisconsin economy," Walker said
Theology scholar to deliver Founders' Day Lecture
The Rev. Dr. Serene Jones, president of Union Theological Seminary in New York, will present Lakeland College's annual Founders' Day Lecture on Tuesday, Jan. 20. Her free presentation will begin at 11 a.m. in the Bradley Theatre.
Jones' presentation is entitled "Economic Freedom," and she will explore the myriad ways in which theology provides fresh insight into our present economic system.
Founders' Day is an annual Lakeland event that recognizes the church's contributions to Lakeland and provides a time to reflect on Lakeland's strong tradition with the United Church of Christ.
Jones, the 16th president of Union Theological Seminary, is a prolific and popular scholar in the fields of theology, religion and gender studies. She earned her master of divinity from Yale Divinity School as well as her Ph.D. in theology from Yale University. She holds a bachelor's from the University of Oklahoma and is an ordained minister in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.
A post-lecture luncheon with Jones is set for 12:30-2 p.m. in the Laun Center. Reservations are required and the cost is $10. To register online, visit Lakeland.edu/MissionHouseCenter or contact Colleen Darling at or 920-565-1021, ext. 2123.
Grand opening of new Green Bay Center set for Jan. 14
Lakeland College will formally celebrate the move to its new Green Bay Center at 2601 Development Drive in Bellevue with a grand opening on Wednesday, Jan. 14, from 4-6 p.m.
Tours of the new location will be available, and a short program will begin at 5:15 p.m. Appetizers will be served. As part of the festivities, 101 WIXX FM will be onsite with giveaways and promotions, including the chance to win an iPad.
Construction of the new, $2.8 million center, which was developed by Somerstone of Brookfield, began last June.
The new location houses Lakeland's Evening, Weekend and Online program classes offered in the Green Bay area. Lakeland's Green Bay Center was formerly located at 2985 S. Ridge Road in Green Bay.
"Lakeland has been offering educational options for adult students in Green Bay for 30 years, so we're certainly not a newcomer to higher education in this area," said Zach Voelz, Lakeland's vice president for enrollment management. "This new center provides advances in technology that match the evolution of Lakeland's BlendEd flexible course formats and sets us up to serve our students and continue to evolve in what has become a rapidly changing higher education marketplace."
Lakeland's center, which is nearly 16,000 square feet, includes nine technology-rich classrooms, two laptop labs and one standard computer lab, a student lounge, nine offices, Wi-Fi throughout the facility and ample free parking. Classrooms are available for daytime rentals to businesses, clubs and other organizations.
The classrooms are designed to deliver the college's signature course format, BlendEd, which allows students to seamlessly transition from week to week between the traditional classroom and online, based on their schedules. The newest feature of BlendEd offers the ability to broadcast live lectures to students outside the classroom, connecting face-to-face and online students in one, interactive classroom.
A gift from the Byron L. Walter Family Trust supported one of the classrooms.
Lakeland has offered evening degree programs in Green Bay since 1984. Today, the college serves more than 500 returning adult students in the Green Bay area and 2,800 students statewide. Lakeland's total enrollment is approximately 3,600.
In 1978, Lakeland developed an evening degree-completion program for working adults, the first in the state at that time. In 2012, Lakeland celebrated the 150th anniversary of the founding of its main campus, which is located in Sheboygan County.
Students at Lakeland's Green Bay center can earn a bachelor's degree in accounting, business administration, communication, computer science, criminal justice, marketing, psychology and specialized administration. The business administration degree includes emphases in business economics, finance, healthcare management, hospitality management, insurance, international business, management, nonprofit management and sport management.
Lakeland also offers a master of business administration (with emphases in accounting, finance, healthcare management and project management) and a master of arts in counseling (with emphases in community, higher education and school counseling).
Learn more online at http://lakeland.edu/Evening-Weekend-and-Online.
Free income tax prep available through VITA program
Every year during tax time, Lakeland College accounting students power the local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, which provides free tax return service for lower-income citizens.
The Sheboygan VITA program, sponsored by Guaranty Bank and Schenck SC, takes place on Tuesdays from 5-9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. starting Feb. 3 at the Sheboygan Salvation Army. For participating Lakeland students, this community work is required as part of their accounting major.
"Not only does involvement in this program give our accounting students hands-on experience with real clients, it also reinforces the need to serve the greater community," said Brett Killion, in his fourth year as Lakeland's assistant professor of accounting. "It's rewarding for our student to see the joy in people's faces and hear them say, 'Thank you so much!'
"There are people out there who are struggling. We provide that free service and hopefully put dollars in their pockets, which positively impacts the local economy."
Last year, Lakeland students — with help from Lakeshore Technical College students — handled 371 state returns and 332 federal returns. The average federal return yielded $1,283 and the average Sheboygan VITA state refund was $581.
In its first 10 years, Lakeland's program has collected close to $10 million in tax refunds for lower-income earners in the area.
Lower-income citizens bring in their paperwork and conduct a short interview with the accounting student assigned to the return. The students use computers set up in the Salvation Army. Most returns take between 60-90 minutes. The returns are then reviewed by the more experienced students and tax practitioners.
People interested in taking advantage of this free service must have a household income under $53,000 a year. Applicants must bring a photo ID; social security cards for themselves, their spouse and dependents; W-2 forms; 1099 forms; rent certificate or 2014 property tax bill; and a copy of their 2013 tax return.
Returns cannot be done for those taxpayers having income from outside Wisconsin sources, those having complex tax returns and those who are non-U.S. residents.
Registered tax return preparers and enrolled agents can earn up to 14 hours of continuing education credits by volunteering as a quality reviewer at a VITA site. Those interested should contact Killion at .
Reservations are required for the tax service and will be accepted beginning Jan. 12. To make a reservation, call 565-1000, ext. 2290.
Lakeland College among select group to pilot national Alternative Credit Project
Program aims to increase attainment levels for nontraditional learners
The American Council on Education (ACE) announced today that Lakeland College is one of 25 colleges and universities nationally asked to be the first members of an innovative alternative credit consortium that will create a more flexible pathway toward a college degree for millions of nontraditional learners.
As part of serving in this pilot project, Lakeland has agreed to continue its long-standing practice of working with ACE by expanding its list of courses which will be granted transfer credit. In this consortium, Lakeland will play a key role in reviewing the quality of alternative sources of low-cost or no-cost introductory courses that may satisfy general education requirements and will then play a lead role in assisting students completing those courses to continue through to a bachelor's degree.
This initiative is made possible by the generous support of a $1.89 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Its initial focus will be on the more than 31 million adults who have completed some postsecondary coursework but lack a degree or credential. Many of these students represent first-generation, low-income students, so findings from this investment likely will apply to younger students from this population, as well.
Founded in 1862, Lakeland launched an evening degree-completion program for working adults in 1978, the first in the Wisconsin at that time. Today, Lakeland serves 2,800 non-traditional students statewide at seven centers — Sheboygan, Milwaukee, Green Bay, Madison, Fox Cities, Central Wisconsin and Chippewa Falls — and online. Lakeland's total enrollment is approximately 3,600.
"Lakeland has been serving nontraditional student for nearly 40 years, so this project was a natural fit for us," said Lakeland President Dan Eck. "We're excited to see the results of this effort and learn how we can offer better access and serve this population in new ways.
"Earning a four-year college degree provides many advantages. Undergraduate and graduate degrees have paved the way for thousands of Lakeland graduates to achieve their career goals and become leaders in their communities."
The participating institutions represent a diverse group of four-year and two-year, public and private, non-profit and for-profit colleges and universities that have a strong commitment to access and attainment and serving nontraditional learners. A complete list is at the end of this story.
Participating institutions have agreed to provide anonymous data to ACE regarding the amount of credit their institution accepts, as well as progress and success rates of students transferring in courses through this project. Additional college, university and system partners will be recruited in fall 2015 to join the consortium.
"The institutions serving in this pilot project will play a valuable role in helping enhance the work we have been doing for many years in developing quality mechanisms for determining the credit worthiness of education, training and life experiences outside of a formal higher education classroom setting," said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad.
"We very much appreciate this generous investment and the commitment it represents to the effort to provide a more flexible and cost-efficient way to increase the number of Americans able to gain a college degree or credential."
As an additional part of the effort, ACE will expand its current work in the area of college credit recommendations by developing a quality framework and guidelines for issuing recommendations for digital micro-credentials, competency-based programs and non-degree certificate programs.
"This project will yield multiple and long-lasting benefits to the participating institutions, the wider higher education community and potentially millions of nontraditional learners," said Deborah Seymour, ACE assistant vice president for education attainment and innovation. "It will help lead to the greater acceptance of alternative forms of credit in a way that ensures quality and encourages more people to complete their postsecondary education."
Joining Lakeland in this pilot program are:
American Public University; Capella University; Central Michigan University; Charter Oak State College; Colorado Community College System; Colorado Technical University; East Carolina University; Fayetteville State University; Fort Hays State University; Goodwin College; John F. Kennedy University; Kaplan University; Metropolitan State University of Denver; National Louis University; Northern Arizona University; Northwestern State University; Notre Dame College; SUNY Empire State College; Texas Woman's University; Thomas Edison State College; University of Baltimore; University of Maryland University College; University of Memphis; University of North Carolina.
Founded in 1918, ACE is the major coordinating body for all the nation's higher education institutions, representing more than 1,600 college and university presidents, and more than 200 related associations, nationwide. It provides leadership on key higher education issues and influences public policy through advocacy. For more information, please visit www.acenet.edu or follow ACE on Twitter @ACEducation.