Rio Hosts House Higher Education Study Committee

August 15, 2013

RIO GRANDE, Ohio – The Ohio House of Representatives’ Higher Education Study Committee Hearings made a stop in southeastern Ohio Wednesday with state legislators and education representatives gathering at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College.

The primary topic was multiple higher education pathways with discussion focusing on transferability of credits, program accreditation, stackable certificates, adult education and gateway course reform.

The committee was led by State Representatives Cliff Rosenberger (chair) Christina Hagan (vice-chair), and joined by fellow State Representatives Ryan Smith and John Patterson. Hearing guests included representatives from the Governor’s Office, various legislative aides and higher education representatives from throughout the state.

Rio Grande President Dr. Barbara Gellman-Danley was among those who testified. She praised the committee for their dedication to education and cited Governor John Kasich’s college completion agenda as a “noble and appropriate goal for the state and nationally.”

“Rio certainly appreciates the importance of accountability; we stand ready to meet those challenges,” Dr. Gellman-Danley said. “As to affordability – we are an exemplar for that goal.”

Dr. Gellman-Danley’s testimony also addressed stackable certificates and Prior Learning Assessment – two nationally supported practices already in place at Rio Grande.

Stackable certificates offer students measurable milestones to better progress as their individual abilities and circumstances warrant. Students earn a certificate that leads to an associate’s degree, which leads to a bachelor’s degree, and beyond.

Prior Learning Assessment provides another tool to better assist students in degree completion.

“Prior learning recognizes life experience through the development of measurable portfolios, which document what an individual learned through work, the military and other types of training and overall experience,” Dr. Gellman-Danley said. “It is by no means giving away easy credit; if done well, it is an arduous but outstanding way of receiving credit without taking courses that are likely to be redundant to a learner’s individual knowledge base.”

Dr. Gellman-Danley sits on national boards for both the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and the American Council on Education Commission on Lifelong Learning.

Each member of the committee thanked Dr. Gellman-Danley for her testimony and continued leadership in education. They also praised Rio Grande’s institutional success and continued growth.

“Its an excellent opportunity for us to showcase one of the best institutions in the state; if not the country,” said Rep. Smith, who was Rio’s 2013 Commencement speaker. “Its commitment to education is outstanding. I’m so proud of this institution. President Gellman-Danley, who came to us five and a half years ago, has made a difference.”

For more information about the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College visit or call 800-282-7201.