We the Students of Continuing and Professional Higher Education, in Order to form a more perfect Paradigm, establish Practices, insure academic Integrity, provide for the equal treatment, promote the public Good, and secure the Academic Freedom to ourselves and our Successors, do hereby declare and establish this Constitution for the Constituencies of Continuing and Professional Higher Education.
We are not second-class citizens and will no longer sit meekly, relegated to the dark corners of our colleges and universities. We will use our voices and we will be heard. We demand a return on our investment and by return we do not mean the degree that culminates our accomplishments but rather the journey that gets us there. These are our terms.
To our Institutions we seek, our space. Our learning is largely online and our online spaces should be reflective of that, of us. Our needs, our goals, and our culture should be a part of that space. We are not like our traditional counterparts; instead we are adults who are trying to juggle with equal dexterity the responsibilities of work, home, family and school. When our spaces are filled with the images and stories of the kind of students we cannot be, we feel marginalized. Do provide us with the opportunity to participate because we want to “experience” college life even if we never set foot on campus. Do not take for granted our contributions to our communities simply because they may be in different locations; our efforts are equally as valuable as those of your traditional students.
To our Faculty we seek, our education. Do not let us down. We may never meet but we are as important as any other student you have ever had. Do be reasonable in the assignments you give us, we are busy and need that flexibility; but do not fail to challenge us because if you do we will not learn and our time and our journey will have been wasted. Communicate with us. It is all we have. We need your expertise to learn; do not leave us alone to teach ourselves. Do provide us with feedback and grades that help us along our journey, we cannot improve if we do not know what needs improving and we want to improve, it is why we are here. Do know that we understand; you are busy to. Accord us the same respect we accord you by sharing with us why you are not always there when we need you–we will think more of you for it.
To our Peers we seek, our engagement. Do not think we are not peers because we do not spend our time in campus classrooms; we have more in common than most. We share many of the same struggles, but remember we also share in our differences; respect this. Please do take care in the work that we do; take the time to read the discussions that we post and respond with integrity, it is not enough to say, “OMG!!! I so agree with you”, instead explain why you agree and share the thoughts we have provoked.
To our Government we seek, our freedom. Do support our efforts, our Colleges, Universities and Institutions of Higher Learning; do not seek to control them. Do provide opportunities for the underprivileged, those who want to better themselves through higher education should be able to; but do not think that college is for all, there are those that do not want to go. Do not seek to blame solely our institutions for the failures of society, instead seek to address the culture that values entertainment more than it values education.
To our Families we seek, our strength. Do forgive us, for all of the time that we do not spend with you, for every celebration that we miss and the gatherings that we are too busy to attend. Please know that we see every sacrifice that you make so that we can continue on our journey. Please know that we couldn’t do it without you, you are the strength we need to make it through every late night, you are the beacon that gives us hope when we waiver, you are as much a part of the journey as we are and we thank you for being with us and helping us see it through.
In all of our considerations, we kept clearly in our view that which appears as the greatest concern of every Continuing and Professional Education Student. Our vision of a more perfect Paradigm, establishment of Practices, insurance of academic Integrity, equal treatment, promotion of the public Good, and the securing of our Academic Freedom. To you our constituencies of the esteemed world of Higher Education these are our most ardent wish.