April 2023

Message From Director Lisa Sax Mahoney

Lisa Sax Mahoney Head Shot.jpg

NCCRS is an organization on the move. Literally.


In completing 15 reviews of programs seeking and revalidating college credit recommendations during the last three months, we've traveled more than 8,000 miles to conduct site visits and attend important educational events such as the South By Southwest EDU conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas. In between all that air and train travel, we've put more than 20,000 steps on our Fitbits relocating our office space from one place to another within the massive New York State Education Building.


As busy as the winter months were, spring promises to be equally as busy and is brimming with new opportunities. Already, more than half a dozen entities are in various stages of becoming new NCCRS members. In addition, several colleges and universities have requested inclusion in NCCRS's cooperating colleges and universities directory. Being listed in the directory signifies a willingness to consider awarding credit for learning outside of an institution, a willingness to embrace decades of research, and a willingness to provide learners with an opportunity to earn a college degree.


Granting students college credit for prior learning acquired outside of a traditional college classroom has positive benefits for both students and the institutions they attended. Research dating back to the 1970s backs that up. Current research conducted by highly- respected organizations such as The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) continues to remind us of the significant role and value of credit for prior learning. We applaud higher education leaders who are strong advocates for adult learners, as evidenced by implementation of institutional policies that embrace practices that support students.


Earlier this year, State University of New York Chancellor John B. King, Jr. announced a significant expansion of SUNY's policy on Prior Learning Assessment (PLA). We are encouraged by the initiative and the growth in inquiries from progressive institutions seeking opportunities to recognize NCCRS credit recommendations.


The promise of a busy spring is here and we look forward to all that blossoms, including relationships with new members and additional colleges and universities.


And, as always, NCCRS will keep moving forward to serve our members.

NCCRS Collaborates With New

Mentor-Focused Member Organization

NCCRS recently completed a successful evaluation of four courses offered by a new member organization, The Uncommon Individual Foundation (UIF), based in Devon, Pennsylvania. Founded in 1986 by Dr. Richard E. Caruso, the Foundation initially consulted for large companies, teaching mentoring best practices based on Caurso's Ph.D. research of the subject and educational experience of UIF executive director, Dr. John Crosby. Today UIF is focused on mentoring underserved and underrepresented high school and other students across the country. UIF's OnTrack college access website and subject-matter mentoring courses in entrepreneurship, media, and technology, help more than 5,000 students each year navigate high school, prepare for college, and explore career paths. 

"We are thrilled to have UIF on board as a new member," said Phil Kahn, NCCRS assistant director. "The organization is incredibly forward-thinking and has big plans for future expansion of their programming. We are excited to work with them every step of the way." Joseph Lopez, UIF managing director, stated the relationship with NCCRS is crucial to the Foundation's mission. Lopez said, "Mentoring students and giving them opportunities they can leverage for college credit is invaluable. It saves them time and money on their education while helping them grow into their career."

Learn more.

NCCRS Evaluates Proficiency Exams for New Business-Focused Member Organization

NCCRS recently conducted a successful evaluation of proficiency examinations for a new member organization, COPE TTS, with evaluators Michelle Davidowitz, Miriam Lefkowitz, and Matthew Muller (pictured left to right). The organization, a division of COPE Education for Business, based in Brooklyn, New York, provides opportunities for interested individuals to demonstrate their accounting, business, and other knowledge on proficiency exams that measure college comparable coursework.

COPE's assistant director, Dr. Sholom Schochet, stated, “We recently had the great fortune of hosting the NCCRS team, led by (senior evaluation associate) Nancy Szakats, for a review of our proficiency examinations. Simply put, our experience was nothing short of spectacular. In the months leading up to the visit, Nancy and her team were communicative, flexible, and eager to be a partner to ensure a pleasant experience. The NCCRS review was rigorous, and the reviewers' comments and suggestions were valuable to our organization."

SMART Local 28's Leah Rambo Appointed to U.S. DOL Women's Bureau Executive Team

The U.S. Department of Labor Women’s Bureau appointed SMART Local 28’s Leah Rambo as deputy director of its executive team in early February. The Joint Apprentice Training Committee Sheet Metal Workers, Local Union 28, an NCCRS member organization since 1993, operates a training program in Jamaica, New York, for men and women who wish to become journey person sheet metal workers. Rambo has served as their director of training since 2011, after beginning her career as a sheet metal apprentice in 1988.

The Union recently issued a statement, reading, in part, “The U.S. Department of Labor’s Women’s Bureau does important work lifting up our sisters who strengthen our economy, our industry, and our union – and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion across the trades. We celebrate the Bureau’s appointment of Leah Rambo from SMART Local 28 as a deputy director on its executive team. As the director of training for Local 28 and a member of our SMART International Women’s Committee, Leah has worked tirelessly to recruit and retain an increasing number of women and ensure safe, quality work, and training environments."

Learn more.

Mahoney Attends SXSW EDU Expo

NCCRS director Lisa Sax Mahoney, attended the annual SXSW EDU Expo in Texas last month. Lisa observed numerous thought-provoking sessions on learning innovations, including panel discussions on such topics as equity in higher education, advising support through technology, micro-credentials, education benefits, credit mobility, and validating postsecondary pathways.

Lisa is pictured here with President Gregory Fowler of the University of Maryland Global Campus, a member of the President’s Forum, who spoke at the conference about the needs of adult learners.

On the Road Again

NCCRS director Lisa Sax Mahoney (second from right), and evaluators R. Bruce McBride (far left), and Raymond Philo (second from left), met with Sheriff Anthony Miranda (far right) in February at an evaluation conducted for the New York City Office of The Sheriff.

NCCRS evaluators Susan Lifrieri-Lowry (far left), Elizabeth Schaible (second from left), and Mark D'Alessandro (second from right), met with Richard Simpson, vice president of education (right) in February at an evaluation conducted for The Institute of Culinary Education.

Empire State Becomes University

Congratulations to longtime NCCRS cooperating higher education institution, Empire State College, on becoming Empire State University. The transition to university status was announced last month by Dr. Lisa Vollendorf, the institution's president. Empire State University, based in Saratoga Springs, New York, with campuses across the state, is the State University of New York’s only online institution and the state's only public online institution. According the Vollendorf, the change to university status reflects the institution’s growth and development over its 52-year history and better communicates the quality, breadth, and depth of its academic offerings.

Learn more. Named to Fast Company's

Most Innovative Companies for 2023

Kudos to for making the list of Fast Company's Most Innovative Companies for 2023. The organization, an NCCRS member since 2016, based in Mountain View, California, ranked in the top five in the category of Corporate Social Responsibility Initiatives.'s groundbreaking "Keys to the Classroom" program, launched last year, was recognized for its innovative approach to diversifying the nation's teacher pipeline and combating the severe teacher shortage across the country.

Learn more.

NCCRS Evaluator Profile

Bob Elling: A Lifetime of Saving Lives

Bob Elling, MPA, has dedicated his life to saving the lives of others, serving with honor as an emergency medical technician and paramedic for 48 years. Now retired, Bob has also been an emergency medical services educator, author and editor of countless books and articles, consultant, and advocate, and is one of the longest-serving NCCRS evaluators, starting in that role in 1989.

As an educator, Bob has been a faculty member for the New York State Department of Health's EMS Bureau, North Country Community College, Hudson Valley Community College, the American Heart Association, the American College of Prehospital Medicine, and the American Red Cross, among others.

Bob, who earned a BA in Psychology from the University at Albany, and an MPA in Public Sector Management from Rockefeller College of Public Affairs & Policy at the University at Albany, counts New York City EMS, Booth Memorial Hospital Ambulance, Colonie EMS Department, Five Quad Volunteer Ambulance (University at Albany), Clifton Park-Halfmoon Emergency Corps, Pepsi Arena/Times Union Center (now MVP Arena), Wilmington Fire Department, the Olympic Regional Development Authority, Whiteface Mountain Medical Services, and many others on his long list of organizational affiliations. He also served as the first president of the New York City Association of Paramedics, and has held numerous leadership roles with the American Heart Association.

Bob likes to impart his lifesaving philosophy to his students. He shared, "I have always told my students, 'You can save a lot of lives by being an excellent medic, and you can save many more lives by teaching others to be excellent medics, but you can save thousands of lives by advocating for changes that prevent tragedies in the first place.'

"I believe that students’ careers in EMS benefit significantly by attending programs that meet high standards which are recognized and can be applied to a future college degree," said Bob. "That is why I have chosen to assist and support NCCRS’s work as an evaluator."

Congratulations to NCCRS Member

Organizations for Recent Successful Evaluations

NCCRS Welcomes the Following

New Cooperating Colleges/Universities

Congratulations to NCCRS Member Organizations Celebrating Membership Milestones This Quarter

New York State Assembly

45 years

New York State Office of the Comptroller

10 years

New York City Department of Education

5 years

5 years

Faculty and Credit Transfer

For many students, transferring between community colleges and four-year institutions is sometimes the only path to a bachelor’s degree. Community colleges provide a valuable service to students due to lower costs, closer proximity to home communities, and more flexibility for nontraditional students. Unfortunately, this path becomes less effective when credits completed at a community college are not applied to a degree program at a four-year institution. An article in Inside Higher Ed explores an initiative launched in 2022 to address this issue, and the roles of faculty and staff in the course articulation process.

Learn more.

Why AI Will Soon Become an Integral Part of Higher Education

Colleges and universities across the country have entered into a partnership to promote and expand AI education for all students, an area that has exploded since the emergence of tools such as ChatGPT.

Learn more.

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National College Credit Recommendation Service (NCCRS)

89 Washington Avenue, 510W EB

Albany, NY 12234


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