The DePaul University School for New Learning (SNL) is a college designed particularly for adults, who bring rich experience to their desire to advance, enhance, or change their careers and personal lives. Every element of the College, from curricula to support services, acknowledges the constant interaction of school, work, community, and family, and empowers the student to reflect, so that experience becomes a source of knowledge and learning becomes a way of life. Rooted in Vincentian traditions of human dignity and social responsibility, SNL provides highly personalized opportunities and emphasizes the integrity, individuality, and responsibility of each student to develop competency as critically engaged citizens and put learning to ever-new use.
SNL Essential Commitments
A Commitment to Learning as a Way of Life
For all of its learners, SNL cares about the substance and process of learning—the knowledge, abilities, and values they acquire, as well as the educational goals they attain. The School believes that adults learn deeply by reflecting, particularly on experience, drawing meaning and transferable knowledge from all they have done. When we are most successful, students refine their habits of learning and experience the excitement of expanding their curiosity, of using formal inquiry, of developing as independent lifelong learners.
A Commitment to Competency
Curriculum design and assessment practices at SNL focus on the outcomes of learning—the student’s demonstrated knowledge and abilities, learned in a variety of ways. This focus on competency leads faculty to pursue excellence in curricular design, advising strategies, and teaching methods. It enables students to integrate classroom learning with learning from life and work and to apply continuously what they are learning in other contexts.
A Commitment to Partnership with Students
In collaboration with learners, faculty and staff design, implement, and assess individualized educational programs. This learning-centered partnership, based on mutual respect for each participant’s expertise, prior learning, and decision-making power, deepens and broadens learning.
A Commitment to Diversity
SNL faculty develop teaching, advising, and assessment practices that value human differences in the broadest sense. SNL seeks, in particular, to present a welcoming environment for those who have historically been excluded from higher education and to enable all to benefit from the richness that diversity brings to a learning community.
A Commitment to an Evolving, Developing Organization
SNL is a continuously evolving organization, open and responsive to the emerging educational needs of individuals and groups in a constantly changing world. SNL’s response includes ongoing research in effective teaching, mentoring, and assessment, resulting in imaginative design of programs, structures, systems, courses, and materials.
A Commitment to Community in Service of Learning
SNL students, faculty, and staff work and learn in a community that fosters the mutual regard and support necessary for learning. Individuals creatively address challenges caused by multiple locations, asynchronicity, and varying areas and levels of knowledge. Members commit themselves to the Vincentian personal regard for the dignity of individuals, respectfully dealing with conflict, setting goals that benefit individuals as well as DePaul and its urban and global communities, and celebrating achievements.
A Commitment to Social Justice
SNL deliberately works to shape a more just, livable world; to ensure that those who have historically been ignored, excluded, marginalized, oppressed, and economically disenfranchised benefit from the many learning opportunities available through SNL and beyond. In its curriculum, its classroom environments, its assessment practices, its advising strategies, and its formal advocacy, SNL creates an intellectual and social milieu where a plurality of worldviews, cultures, and value systems are respected, understood, encouraged, and appreciated.
Commitment to Adult Learning
The active, reflective practice of established and emerging principles of adult learning is central to the School for New Learning. Faculty and staff, who come from many formal disciplines, enable and encourage colleagues to develop, apply, and disseminate knowledge in the practice of adult education—continuously.
Commitment to Work-Life Responsive Programs
We create curricular and co-curricular programs that enhance students’ competencies as critically engaged citizens who are versatile in their ability to synthesize ideas for applied use to address the challenges and engage the opportunities of contemporary adult life. This includes providing students with opportunities for learning that make them more employable and more strategic about employability.