‘The Great Upheaval’ Author Arthur Levine Addresses Colleges’ Role in the Knowledge Economy

Posted at lc.edu February 14, 2023

Article by: Laura Inlow, L&C Marketing and PR, linlow@lc.edu

GODFREY – In today’s knowledge economy, education providers must be nimble, innovative and ever-changing to meet the needs of 21st century learners and employers.

Lewis and Clark Community College is striving to meet its constituents where they are – and taking a hard look at its offerings, modes of delivery, and potential access barriers in order to do just that.

On Tuesday, Feb. 7, the college welcomed guest speaker and distinguished scholar of higher education Arthur Levine, co-author of “The Great Upheaval,” for a series of discussions with campus and community constituents about the future of higher education, and the future of Lewis and Clark.

“Team members, faculty, students and even community guests were engaged and inspired by Levine’s keen insights,” said L&C President Ken Trzaska, who learned of and met Levine previously through a new presidents’ program he attended at Harvard while president at Seward County Community College in Kansas.

The two reconnected at last year’s Higher Learning Commission meetings in Chicago.

“It is reassuring that the college is on the right track in a lot of ways, and we are energized to keep moving forward,” Trzaska said.

Levine’s book, which he co-wrote with Scott Van Pelt, looks at the future of higher education through past, present and future lenses – its transformation in the wake of the Industrial Revolution; how other industries, including movies, music and newspapers, have navigated the changing global economy and society’s increasing reliance on technology; and what colleges and universities can do to remain relevant and competitive providers of knowledge into the future.

Levine said the transformation happens in stages, beginning with criticism of the current model for higher education, followed by denial, then experimentation and the emergence of new models – that’s where higher education is today. In the wake of the Industrial Revolution, multiple models were born, including technical colleges, research universities and junior colleges (predecessors of today’s community colleges), among others. It’s not completely clear which models will prevail this time around, but Levine says L&C’s outlook is good.

“I’m here because I believe this institution could be one of those models,” Levine said.

“The Great Upheaval” has been an inspiration to many on campus and reads like a blueprint for some of the changes Lewis and Clark is putting into motion to ­better serve its students and the greater community.

Levine’s campus visit, made possible by funding from the L&C Foundation, was packed with opportunities for L&C leadership, team members, students and others in education to glean additional insights from Levine and become a part of the conversation.

Competency-Based Education (CBE)

One of the biggest pushes Lewis and Clark has made since Trzaska joined the team has been a deep investment in the future of Competency-Based Education, which focuses on skills learned rather than time spent learning those skills. This kind of outcomes-based education is the future of higher education in the knowledge economy, as opposed to the industrial-era focus on seat time, Levine said. 

The college currently offers a CBE pathway in Welding Technology, alongside the more traditional path, and is working to offer CBE pathways in additional programs, including Information Technology. General education CBE courses are in the works. Professor of Literature Jen Fuhler has become an early leader in this area, creating CBE courses in both English and literature. They’re not currently on the schedule, but will be soon, said Vice President of Academic Affairs Sue Czerwinski.

While CBE courses are currently priced the same as traditional courses, Lewis and Clark is working on a potential model for offering subscription-based pay for CBE to stay competitive with Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) like Coursera and Udemy, and with industry brand names like Microsoft and Google, who are offering micro-credentials that are typically faster and cheaper than traditional college degrees and certificates.

“They’re driving up competition and driving down prices,” Levine said.

Those entities aren’t bound by regulations from accreditors and financial aid, as Lewis and Clark and other higher education institutions are, but Czerwinski said the college is working through that barrier.

Blendflex & Hyflex Courses

Community colleges often tout their flexibility, but Levine said the hype doesn’t always match the reality. Lewis and Clark, on the other hand, is reworking its course modes to remove access barriers for students.

One effort in that area has been an ongoing investment in flexible course offerings like Blendflex and Hyflex, which allow students more control over when and how they attend courses. In large part, these offerings came about due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but are unlikely to go anywhere anytime soon.

“COVID wasn’t a disruption, it was an accelerator,” Levine said. “We can’t ever go back to the way it was.”

Blendflex courses add a virtual component, so students can attend lectures via Zoom or other collaborative learning tools, rather than in person. It also allows them to switch back and forth between course modes throughout the semester according to their needs and their schedule. Hyflex courses take flexibility a step further, adding an asynchronous online component, so students don’t have to attend class at specific times at all.

Currently, several degree and certificate programs can be completed entirely online or in these flexible course modes, including, but not limited to Accounting, Child Development, Criminal Justice, Management, Social Media Management and Paralegal.

Many of the courses in Graphic Design and Web Design and Development are offered in Hyflex mode, according to Assistant Professor and Coordinator Louise Jett. Currently, each course has two sections – an online asynchronous section and a Blendflex section (face-to-face + online synchronous). Students in the online section have access to video recordings from the Blendflex sections and can watch the lessons anytime. Online students can also join the Blendflex classes in person or on Zoom when they want, but they are not required to do so like the Blendflex students.

“Hyflex is really a game-changer, especially for working adults,” Jett said. “A lot of non-traditional students, especially, are working full-time jobs during the day, and some are parents. With an online asynchronous option, they can be students at night or whenever it makes sense for their lives.”

Levine’s advice for Lewis and Clark is to focus on the 5Cs: consumers, convenience, content, connections and cost.

The college is actively seeking out innovative ideas and incentivizing faculty through a Teaching and Engagement Model, or TEM. The model, introduced in 2022, includes release time for faculty to work on projects that increase access for students – which might include curriculum conversion to CBE, recruitment of non-traditional students, expansion of programs and/or increased program offerings. There are currently 8-10 faculty members participating in the pilot program this year.

“It’s an opportunity to try something different, something new, with some release time from teaching,” Czerwinski said. “But the common theme throughout everyone’s projects is about making our programs and offerings more accessible.”

Students’ tastes and needs are changing, and the college must change with them. More and more are looking for cheaper, faster paths to a good career; anytime/anyplace, 24-hour access to professors, support and content; individualization; and lots of choices. Whereas today’s degrees are oftentimes “just-in-case” education, tomorrow’s focus will be on “just-in-time” education, Levine said.

The consumers themselves are changing as well. Though higher education will continue to cater to traditional students right out of high school, a pool of potential students for this new type of education includes first generation college students, working adults, parents, and others who may not see themselves as “college material.”

“Some don’t know what we do, or they just can’t see themselves here,” Levine said. “Some have jobs, some have families – there are a gazillion reasons why not. We have to tell them why.”

Lifelong learning is another big focus. Because of today’s shorter half-life of knowledge and technology, students may be in and out the door more quickly, but they are also more likely to continue coming back for additional reskilling and upskilling over the course of their lifetimes, Levine said. 

Levine suggested that Lewis and Clark must be inextricably intertwined with its community in order to continue distinguishing itself from the crowd. That’s one big focus of the college’s current strategic plan, with Key Direction 4 looking to broaden community and educational collaboration throughout the district and region.

“Levine’s visit was incredibly inspiring,” Czerwinski said. “There’s a transformation underway and we really believe that Lewis and Clark is poised to be a leader in shaping what education at a community college looks like in the next decade.

Coming to Terms with Adult ADHD

Over the past year and a half, while the world has been falling apart around us, I’ve been falling apart personally. Well, I guess that’s only true of one of the two new major health diagnoses I’m dealing with. The other one has been plaguing me all my life – I just didn’t realize it until now.

I have ADHD.

TLDR; my story is outlined below for two reasons:
1. To fight mental health stigma.
2. Compulsive oversharing can be a characteristic of ADHD (and mostly, it’s who I am.)

If you read no further, please check out this article on Adult ADHD as well as this self-reporting tool – particularly If you’re a Gen-X or Millennial female who is living in a constant state of overwhelm; who never seems to be able to keep up no matter how hard she tries; whose memory fails her often; and who feels like she could really use some help.

If you think you may fit the criteria, please speak with your doctor or call a place like Centerstone at (618) 462-2331 to speak with someone. I AM NOT A MEDICAL PROFESSIONAL. This is my personal experience.

The Road So Far

If you’re on TikTok, you know how that algorithm just gets you. One by one, adults living with ADHD started crossing my FYP (For You Page) earlier in the year, and it felt like each one was speaking directly to me and my experiences. They weren’t the stereotypical male children with hyperactivity we thought ADHDers were in the 90s. Turns out, more adult women are being diagnosed with the disorder these days, right around my age, right when the pressures of life have become so overwhelming, it’s hard to continue “passing” like they’ve learned to all their lives. Turns out, a lot of them have the “inattentive type,” and won’t present with much hyperactivity at all.

For the most part, that’s me.

This ADHD creator was one of the first I came across, and her content really spoke to me.

Go read Dani Donovan’s story at https://www.additudemag.com/illustrating-adhd-artist-story/ and see more of her awesome graphics at https://www.adhddd.com/.

I was a good student. I made good grades. I never got in trouble, other than for chatting too much with friends. As I climbed grade levels, sustaining my attention in class became more and more difficult. I didn’t process lectures the same way other kids did because I couldn’t retain the information just by hearing it. Instead of being disruptive, I quietly filled notebooks full of doodles and notes to friends or I slept. Then I would take home every book in my backpack and catch up on the work of the day, on my own time. I was an awful test taker – my memory has always been HORRENDOUS – but I worked long and hard to submit assignments to make up for that, and it earned me good final grades.

In college, procrastination and overnighters became the norm. I taught myself to test better by taking extensive notes, writing and re-writing study guides. I learned I could remember things more easily by tapping into kinetic memory – through the act of writing. But more than anything, I learned I could learn better by doing, and in the newsroom I thrived.

I followed that high right into the field of journalism and then into PR, where no two days are exactly the same and every day is interesting. Longer term projects remained a bit of a struggle because they couldn’t sustain my attention effectively, but I learned to manage my time through extensive scheduling, both electronic and on paper.

Then I got married and we became homeowners, pet owners and parents. Then my oldest kid started school in the middle of a historic pandemic.

Everything had come to a head. I knew I needed help.

After my mom got COVID in November and I got quarantined with the girls over my 36th birthday, I saw my doctor about depression. I started getting treatment for that and began to feel better, but I suspected my issue might be something more. Treatment was taking the edge off and tempering my external reactions, but it wasn’t doing anything to address the stimuli causing my reactions in the first place. The overwhelm was still there. No matter how badly I wanted to clean my house, there were still doom piles everywhere, waiting to be sorted. No matter how badly I wanted to be there for my kids, I was so tapped out after a day of working that I needed to veg out in complete silence, or drown myself in mindless TikToks, just to get back to feeling human again. (Depression and anxiety are often comorbid with ADHD, btw).

This past month, a mental health practitioner with Centerstone heard me out and validated my concerns, which was life changing in itself. On top of that, I started treatment July 15, and my life is finally starting to feel like it’s getting back on track.

ADHD still comes with a stigma, and so does its treatment (amphetamine stimulants are often the first course of treatment). I hope that is changing, and that’s why I’m sharing my story.

We are not lazy, or unintelligent, or less than. We have our ups and downs. Our brains work a little differently, which sometimes can go against the grain and cause us to struggle. Sometimes we can thrive. But there should never be any shame in asking for help when something doesn’t feel right.

Student Art Exhibition

Lewis and Clark Community College’s 16th Annual Student Art Exhibition launched last Friday, and three of my pieces were accepted into the juried show. I didn’t win any prizes, but as my first time being a part of an artist’s exhibition, I am so proud to have my work represented.

Look Beyond
“Look Beyond,” Laura Inlow, Expired Lomography Film, 8×10”
“Hair,” Laura Inlow, Gelatin Silver Print, Satin Finish, 8×10”
Golden Hour
“Golden Hour,” Laura Inlow, Expired Film, Halo-Chrome, Gelatin Silver Print, 8×10”

Check out the entire show at www.lc.edu/art-student.

Alton City Cemetery Pt. 1: Elijah P. Lovejoy

I grew up hearing about Elijah P. Lovejoy. I guess that’s because I’m from the Riverbend area.

When I got to journalism school at Eastern Illinois University, I was astounded that no one had heard of him. I get that the average Chicagoan was unlikely to know a lot about the town of Alton, but surely they had heard of this abolitionist, who was, after all, a journalist like themselves. Not so much, apparently.

We were on an Opinion Writing field trip to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in 2005/2006 when I took several friends on a detour on our way back to Charleston, Illinois. We sat in Robert Wadlow’s chair and visited the Lovejoy Monument, as I had done many times before. But I’d never wandered into the Alton City Cemetery, though, until just recently.

I started at the 110-foot monument, designed by architect R. P. Bringhurst. It was erected in 1897 to honor the memory of Lovejoy, who was the editor of The Alton Observer until his death in 1837, a day before his 35th birthday. Carved near the statue, a quote,

 “I have sworn eternal opposition to slavery, and by the blessing of God, I will never go back.

(Inscription on the Lovejoy Monument in Alton City Cemetery)

Before his death, pro-slavery advocates made a number of attacks on his printing press, trying to quiet the voice of the American abolitionist. Lovejoy was eventually shot and killed by a pro-slavery mob during one of those attacks. According to Wikipedia, he was originally buried in an unmarked grave until 1860, when local newspaper editor Thomas Dimmock located the grave and arranged for a proper marker. Some of his supporters are allegedly buried near him.

This March, I visited his actual gravesite for the first time, and photographed it for my film photography course. There was something special about being there. Today, Lovejoy is considered a martyr for the abolition movement and his gravesite is sacred, especially to a journalist like myself. Even though I no longer work in the field, it was an honor to stand there and reflect on my journey as well as the state of the world today.

Lovejoy’s impact is still a part of the Riverbend. The Telegraph, in Alton, where I worked as a reporter, page designer and web editor for three years right out of college, still bears the image of Lovejoy’s monument on its masthead. A local elementary school is named after him. The library where I studied at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville bears his name as well.

Still, the battle for racial and social justice is an uphill climb and a continuing battle in this community and beyond.

Spring is Coming

One year ago today – not to the date, but to the day – on the Friday before Spring Break, college leaders met around a huge table in the Foundation Board room and discussed the threat of COVID-19. We would extend spring break by a week, long enough to allow faculty some time to revert their courses to a virtual format. We prepared to hunker down for a month or two, or possibly longer.

Well, we all know how that turned out. Exactly one year later, our community’s positivity metric has finally dipped below, and stayed below 5% for weeks, and there are three vaccines being deployed across the U.S. My dad gets his second Moderna shot on Monday. Mom and I will get our second Pfizer shot in about a week. My husband had the Johnson & Johnson shot, so one and done. And Amelia starts school five days a week on Monday.

The college is preparing to begin reopening, and it’s likely I’ll be back on campus this summer… definitely by August. This thing isn’t over yet, but the end feels like it might finally be in sight. And that’s good, because I’m exhausted. This year, I’m taking spring break off work. I’m going to spend 8 days with my kids and one in the darkroom.

As I settle in tonight to begin said vacation, I can hear the insects and other wildlife singing outside. Time “springs forward” tomorrow night. Spring is almost officially here.

Finding My Inner Artist

“I am good at a lot of things, but great at very few.” That’s what the voice inside my head always tells me. When it comes to my art, especially, I have a serious case of imposter syndrome. “I’m not good enough.” “Other people can do it better.” “It doesn’t speak to anyone but me.” “People who say they like it are just trying to please me.” “Why don’t more people like it?” The self-doubt runs rampant.

Yet, I feel the need to create. I’m a good writer, but I don’t have the attention span to maintain interest in a story long enough to write a novel. I love to paint and draw, but – and I’m not being self deprecating here, just honest – I don’t know what the heck I am doing with a paintbrush or a pencil. I am not tone deaf and have a pretty good ear for music, but my voice cannot carry a tune to match and I never successfully stuck with learning an instrument.

My one constant has been my love of photos. Nothing lasts forever, you see, except a photograph. It started with home photos, snapshots and selfies throughout my formative years – a way to remember the moments and the people who helped make me who I am today. I never took much stock in the quality of the photos or the process of creating them, but I documented everything so I would have it forever.

In college, I took the requisite visual communication classes for my journalism degree, and held my first DSLR in the student newsroom. I admired my friends on the photo staff and marveled at the way they portrayed the things that were happening around us. When I graduated, photography became a component of my job – but it was less about the process and more about the subject of the photos that went with the stories I wrote as a local journalist.

A photographer friend and mentor of mine used to tell me I had a good eye, and ever since then, I’ve worked to improve my camera skills so I could make the pictures I see in my head of the beauty in ordinary things and in the people I love that make my life worth living. I’m still learning, and I always will be.

After the crazy year that was 2020, I needed an outlet. In January 2021, I began taking a film photography class at Lewis and Clark Community College, and I fell in love. The hands-on process of taking a photo without the crutch of the digital screen, and the tactile process of developing the film, then enlarging, printing and perfecting the photos in the darkroom, fed a part of my soul that has been starving for a long time.

I can’t wait to keep creating.

Back from Photography Hiatus

Laura Inlow darkYears ago, I stepped away from client photography to concentrate on my full time job and having a family – but I never really left the photo life. It’s just that most of my work these days centers around Lewis and Clark Community College and my two beautiful girls <3.

I’ve grown a lot over the years, and my work speaks for itself. I feel more at home with a camera in my hand than ever, and I’m eager to continue sharing my work with others.

After 5+ years of finding my identity as a mommy, it’s time to get back to me just a little.

So I’m relaunching my Facebook page today under a new brand, and a new name – my own. I’m open to working with clients again on a limited basis, but mostly I just want to put my work out there and get back to doing something I love. Thank you for sharing in my journey.

Our Sugar Belle is Also Our Hippy Baby

I hoped that once pregnancy was over that things would be easier, and they totally are in many ways. (Still no diabetes, folks!) In other ways, we face new challenges as we continue to press on. It could always be worse.

The latest in our family’s saga is that sweet baby Violet has hip dysplasia.

The first thing people ask when they see her is, “what’s wrong with her legs?” The answer is, nothing – but her left hip socket is a little shallow, so she’s spending a total of 6 weeks in a Pavlik harness to correct a mild form of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). Some children have it so severely that their hips are dislocated, but luckily, she doesn’t have any of that, so we are hopeful that this will resolve easily.

It started when her pediatrician noticed a click in her hips at her one week well baby appointment and told us she’d be watching them at one month to screen for hip dysplasia. Many babies are born with some hip instability, but over time, it typically goes away. With hip dysplasia, a child may require treatment before this can happen. It’s a screen they do for every newborn baby because it’s one of those things that can be fixed fairly easily if caught early, but if gone undiagnosed,can cause trouble in early adolescence and adulthood.

The term was familiar to me, but I didn’t knew what a diagnosis would mean for us immediately. I remember, when Amelia was born, checking to see that the creases in her leg rolls were even – because if they aren’t, that can be a sign. But Amelia never had DDH, or at least it was never diagnosed if she did.

It didn’t even cross my mind this time. [I read far fewer books to prepare (none) than I did when I was a noob, and stayed off the baby forums.]

At one month, Vi’s clicky hip hadn’t resolved, so they sent us to St. Louis Children’s Hospital for an ultrasound to confirm their suspicions. I found out the next day from Vi’s pedi that we were being referred to a children’s orthopedist, and that she would likely need to wear the soft brace (Pavlik) for 2-3 months.

I cried. It seemed like the end of squishy newborn cuddles way before I was ready to let them go, and however silly (compared to much worse things a family can deal with), I needed to mourn.

At the ortho appointment, they actually gave us the option to not treat it because it was mild, and see if it would resolve on its own. However, he said the harness would give her the best chance at not experiencing future problems, so we dove right in.

We are on Week 3 of the harness, and halfway through as of today. She wears it 23/7, with an hour off after dinner every night for cuddles, stretching time, tummy time and a bath, if needed. Most of the time, she doesn’t seem to be bothered by it, and is not in any pain, but we can tell by the smiles and baby chatter during her hour off that it feels nice to be free. She’s a trooper who rarely complains (except when she’s starving and wants to nurse), and I’m so proud of her.

Ideally, the harness is holding her femur firmly in the hip socket while her bones and cartilage mature. We won’t know until we have her follow up ultrasound at 6 weeks (September 30) if it worked or if there are more steps we need to take. So, fingers crossed.

For any mom or dad or guardian beginning this journey, let me tell you – it’s a pain in the butt, but totally worth it to avoid hip pain and/or surgery in her teens or early adulthood. There is a slight risk of nerve damage if the angles aren’t right (some doctors will do the adjusting as the baby grows, but we have been instructed to do this ourselves). You’ll know if you get any time out of the brace (some don’t get an hour off at all) and she can’t move her legs, like one or both have fallen asleep. If that happens, it’s called femoral nerve palsy, and the harness has to be removed. It’s not very common though, so the risk is probably worth the reward.

Diaper changes can be difficult, having to tuck the tabs under the harness straps in the back. Sometimes the Velcro gets stuck to the harness itself. Sometimes the harness Velcro sticks to her clothes. We sized up her diapers a little early to get as much back coverage as possible to avoid up the back blowouts that might get on the harness, and that’s been successful thus far. If anything gets on the harness, we usually have to leave it – only twice in three weeks have I used some of her time out of it to wash baby vomit out and make it smell a bit more fresh. My husband and I relish our sweet baby cuddles every night, because the harness makes her stiff, and somehow heavier (like dead weight almost) – not at all like the cuddly newborn ball she is without it. I know those days are fading quickly, and it makes me sad. Her bedtime onesies don’t fit at the moment, and some of her cute outfits had to be retired early bc of this. She pretty much can only wear onesies under the thing, so we are looking forward to getting her back into some cute stuff in a few weeks. For now, convertible jammies and a sleep sack are getting us through the nights.

We will share an update at the end of the month when she has her follow up ultrasound. For now, I’ll leave you with this pic of my brave little 2 month old :).