Feb. 13, 2020— Northern Kentucky University’s commitment to increasing access for all learners has earned the university the designation as an Age-Friendly University. NKU is the only university in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky to join the international effort to support intergenerational learners.
To earn the designation, institutions must commit to ten principles related to ‘age-friendly’ programs and policies. NKU has a number of programs and activities that align with each principal, and many are housed within Adult Learner Programs and Services (ALPS). In addition, NKU has a transdisciplinary approach to being age-friendly and student ready. This can be seen in the creation of a Gerontology microcredential, the NKU Aging Resource Center—a centralized location for NKU faculty, staff and students to gain access to relevant and important information, education and resources pertaining to aging—and the aging-specific research opportunities created by faculty.
“This international designation demonstrates our commitment to making NKU a place where all ages feel welcomed,” said Amy Danzo, director of Adult Learner Programs and Services. “Creating an environment for our adult students that reduces barriers and creates a community is paramount to being designated an age-friendly institution. This shows NKU has the right support, courses, and resources for our adult students to become successful in their educational pursuits. It is also a main tenant in NKU’s Success by Design Strategic Plan.”
The Academy for Gerontology in Higher Education in conjunction with The Gerontological Society of America awards the designation to institutions that contribute to an educational movement of social, personal, and economic benefit to students of all ages. NKU joins 62 higher education members in the collective.
“This is a rapidly growing network with a shared challenge to promote an inclusive approach to healthy and active ageing through research, enhanced learning opportunities for people across generations, and through innovations that address specific issues affecting older adults,” Brian Mac Craith, president of the Age-Friendly University Global Network and professor at Dublin City University, stated in his welcome letter.
NKU’s proposal to join the Age-Friendly University Network was a collaborative effort by Amy Danzo, director of Adult Learner Programs and Services; Sara Conwell, ALPS advisor; Dr. Allyson Graf, assistant professor of Psychology; Dr. Suk-hee Kim, assistant professor of School of Social Work; and Dr. Katie Terhune, assistant professor of School of Social Work, in collaboration with the Adult Learner Advisory Board.
“We are teaching our students to confront ageism and we are doing so by engaging our local community in our efforts. We are setting a standard for our students to think beyond the stereotypes. To go beyond what they think they know about a family member, a coworker, or a neighbor based on their age. To go beyond the beliefs that may come to influence their perceptions of their own aging experiences,” Dr. Allyson Graf, assistant professor of Psychology.
“Becoming age-friendly university is not just about meeting the needs of age population; it benefits everyone, enriches all of us personally and professionally, and maximizes our potential through this opportunity,” said Dr. Suk-hee Kim, assistant professor of Social Work.
“NKU is the first Age-Friendly University in the state of Kentucky. It is important for the community and other academic institutions in the state to recognize the benefits and opportunities that being part of the Age-Friendly University Global Network brings,” said Dr. Katie Terhune, assistant professor of Social Work. “Becoming part of this essential education movement will help expand collaborations with surrounding institutions and our community to promote interdisciplinary initiatives that address the needs of older adults.”
“I feel honored to be part of this accomplishment at NKU and am looking forward to the future opportunities that being an AFU recognized institution provides,” said Sara Conwell, Adult Learner Programs and Services advisor.
To learn more about the Age-Friendly University Global Network, visit its website.
About NKU: Founded in 1968, we are a growing metropolitan university of more than 15,000 students served by more than 2,000 faculty and staff on a thriving suburban campus near Cincinnati. Located in the quiet suburb of Highland Heights, Kentucky—just seven miles southeast of Cincinnati—we have become a leader in Greater Cincinnati and Kentucky by providing a private school education for a fraction of the cost. While we are one of the fastest growing universities in Kentucky, our professors still know our students' names. For more information, visit nku.edu.