It’s all about the experience!

When I added the wine category to this blog, I intended not to only post facts, trivia, etc., but to delve a little bit more into what wine means socially.  This past weekend, I had two disparate experiences which really highlight how wine and social situations are interwoven for so many people across so many cultures.

My wife and I took a trip to the Colorado wine country and visited several wineries.  Most were friendly and the experience was good.  Two, however, stood out.  Mesa Park Vineyards and one-winery-which-must-not-be-named.  (Harry Potter reference…).

At Mesa Park Vineyards, we met Chuck, one of the owners.  He’s a rocket scientist, literally, who got into wine making some years ago.  He has a small tasting room which is very interestingly decorated.  He was all there, entirely engaged with the four people who were visiting at that moment.  He was effusive, talking about his wines, sharing stories from his past, listening to stories from the four of us.  We probably sat there for 90 minutes and could have been there much longer were it not for a prior obligation.  All along, he was pouring small samples of his wines and even pulled out a bottle not yet available for sale.  It was like we were simply friends he hadn’t yet met.  We felt so welcome and were so happy to bet there.

Conversely, at the must-not-be-named winery, we had a very different experience.  The gentleman was engaged with friends of his who also happened to be there at the same time.  He poured us samples, but all he gave us socially were very short obligatory style answers to our questions about the winery and the wines.  We’d ask a question, get a quick answer, and back he went to his friends.  In short, we felt like we were bugging him.  We lasted maybe 25 minutes and the whole time, we wanted to be anywhere else.

The wines themselves at the two wineries were similar in style and quality.  However, the experiences were entirely different, as were our impressions of the wines.  My bet is that if I blind tasted all of the wines from both wineries, and had to rate them, they would be intermixed.  Given our personal experiences though, we enjoyed Mesa Park’s wines far more than the other.

It’s all about the experience!

Colorado Colleges are Creating a Common Set of Standards for Accepting Prior Learning

On May 8, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education approved a policy which will standardize how all state public colleges accept prior learning for credit.  This has far ranging implications given 700,000 Colorado citizens without college degrees have some form of prior learning which could be eligible for credit.

Prior learning areas addressed in the new policy include:

  • Advanced Placement (AP) exams
  • College Level Exam Program (CLEP) exams
  • DSST Credit by Exam Program
  • Course Challenge Exams
  • American Council of Education (ACE) credit for workforce learning
  • ACE Military credit
  • Individual Portfolio based assessments

Currently, not all colleges accept each of the above and if they do, it is inconsistent across colleges – for example, the AP score required for credit for a given major.

Currently there are 12 other states in process with similar initiatives.  Expected outcomes include:

  • Prospective students will have fewer barriers to entry for college due to consistent evaluation of prior learning.
  • Prospective students will be able to more fully utilize prior learning, thus eliminating some cost for college classes.
  • When a student transfers, they can be confident that credits achieved through any of the above methods will also transfer and be accepted by the new college.
  • This will help push Colorado towards its goal of 66% of 25 – 64 year olds having a college degree by 2025.  Currently, Colorado is on a path towards 53%.

The new standards for acceptance of prior learning are expected to be in place by March, 2016.

A link to the policy document is here.

The Colorado Dept. of Education has released an online tool to estimate the future earnings potential of various college degrees

The CDHE has released a tool called “EdPays” which enables students to make informed decisions about the value of a given college degree.  It covers certificates, Associate’s, Bachelor’s, Master’s, and PhD degrees.  It enables searching across fields of study, level of education, and earnings potential at 1, 5, and 10 years post graduation.

With this information, a high school student can make an informed decision about the investment cost and potential return for a given field of study in college.  The CDHE is very clear that ROI should not be the only factor which matters when selecting a field of study; however, they have now consolidated this information into one searchable place for students.  Previously, it was next to impossible to find consistent data.

A link to a Denver Post article with more information is here.

A link directly the CDHE EdPays tool is here.