Public Relations & Communications > Facts & Stats > School for New Learning

DePaul’s School for New Learning (SNL) is internationally acclaimed as a leader in educating adults. SNL offers innovative competence and course-based undergraduate and graduate degree programs designed to meet the needs of working adults.   SNL offers several options for prior workplace learning assessment to accelerate degree completion.

SNL enrolled 1,207 undergraduate and 126 graduate students in Fall 2015. 
- 62 percent of these students are women. 
- 40 percent are African American, Asian or Hispanic.  
- 89 percent attend classes part time. 
- 46 percent attend online classes.
More than 6,000 students have earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees through SNL since 1995. 
SNL’s undergraduate competence-based program has been entirely available online since 2001.


SNL was named one of six “Best Practice” institutions in North America by the Chicago-based Council for Adult and Experiential Learning. 
The Houston-based American Productivity and Quality Center has touted SNL for its individualized education of adult students. 
In his book “Lifelong Learning at Its Best,” author William Maehl cites SNL for its comprehensive advising component, which he says is key to the educational process.
SNL’s online program was ranked ninth for facility of faculty credentials and training in U.S. News and World Report’s first review of online undergraduate programs.
Among 2012 DePaul SNL graduates, 91 percent were employed or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation.  Of those who were employed, 27 percent were employed full time in better jobs with the same employers, or had new jobs with new employers.


SNL offers bachelor of arts degrees with either individualized or structured concentrations. Graduate programs include a master of arts in applied professional studies, a master of arts in educating adults, and a master of science in applied technology (jointly with the College of Computing and Digital Media).
SNL offers a number of joint degrees with other DePaul colleges, including a bachelor of arts in early childhood education (with the School of Education), a bachelor of arts in general business (with the Driehaus College of Business), and a bachelor of arts in computing (with the College of Computing and Digital Media).
SNL partners with Tangaza College in Nairobi, Kenya to offer an undergraduate degree for students who are assuming leadership and management roles in their religious communities and social service organizations across Africa. Underwritten by a grant from the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, the program gives students engaged in human service ministries a range of practical knowledge as well as a solid theological and pastoral foundation for their unique vocations.
SNL’s Adult Bridge Program helps adult learners make a smooth transition from the City Colleges of Chicago. The program provides a unique learning environment that is student centered and faculty and administration-supported and nurtures academic growth and personal empowerment.
In addition to offering classes online and on campus, SNL designs customized programs for corporate, government, nonprofit and organizational partners. These degree and certificate programs are taught on-site by DePaul faculty. To date, SNL has partnered with Allstate Insurance Co., American Society for Training and Development, Building Owners and Managers Institute, CNA,  DePaul’s Continuing and Professional Education office, Indiana Steelworkers, Motorola, Society for Human Resource Management, True Value Hardware, United Parcel Service, US Department of Housing & Urban Development, United Steel Workers, University of Chicago Hospital Academy, and overseas with St. Gabriel’s College / Assumption University in the Philippines and the International Bank of Asia in Hong Kong.
SNL is the home of the Center to Advance Education for Adults (CAEA) which promotes professional development and networking opportunities for adult learning practitioners.  SNL also sponsors the Labor Education Center in its ongoing educational and training mission for union leaders, and the Polk Bros. Foundation Center for Urban Education which uses research-based structures to improve literacy and math performance in the Chicago Public Schools.
SNL full-time faculty provide a unique and supportive level of mentoring to students to enhance learning and academic development.

About the Dean

Marisa Alicea was named dean of the School for New Learning in April 2008. She brought a wealth of experience as an educator and administrator to the deanship, having served in a number of leadership positions in SNL and throughout the university. Alicea is an authority on the migration and settlement patterns within Latino communities; immigration issues for Mexicans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans; and race and ethnic relations and gender studies. In 1989 she earned a PhD. in sociology at Northwestern University with a specialization in race ethnicity and immigration. She earned a master’s degree in sociology from Northwestern in 1986 and a bachelor’s degree in education, also from Northwestern, in 1981. At DePaul, Alicea was named a St. Vincent DePaul Professor in 2006. 

She is the co-author of two books: “Women Surviving Heroin: Interviews with Methadone Users” (University Press 2001) and “Migration and Immigration: A Global Perspective” (Greenwood Press 2004).

Living the DePaul mission has resulted in numerous community ties for Alicea. She has served as a board member and chairman of Mujeres Latinas en Acción, on the advisory committees of Amigas Latinas and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund, and as chair of the Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture. 

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