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A Natural Fit?

Community Colleges and Competency-Based Education

The past year has seen an explosion of interest in CBE on the part of students, institutions, employers, and policymakers. With the cost of higher education sky rocketing, recent graduates struggling to find good jobs, and real questions about how much students are actually learning, colleges and universities are under more pressure than ever to equip students for career and life success. CBE has the potential to address a variety of the challenges facing higher education – from cost, to relevancy, to transparency of learning outcomes – by shifting the measure of student learning from seat time to mastery. To make that transition, however, requires significant changes in current policy and practice at the institutional, state, and federal levels.

While the adoption of competency-based approaches by universities such as Western Governors and Southern New Hampshire has been widely covered by the press and policy community, CBE at community colleges has received less attention, despite its close fit with the more career-focused programs at two-year institutions. In fact, for many community colleges, competencies have been at the core of their instructional design models as they strive to meet the needs of regional employers and adult learners seeking industry-recognized skills and credentials. 

This event will explore how community colleges are designing CBE programs that meet the particular needs of their key stakeholders and what lessons those efforts hold for other postsecondary institutions. Speakers will also examine how the current policy environment helps and hinders the scaling of CBE models and similar innovative approaches to postsecondary education. 



9:00    Welcome and Opening Remarks

Amy Laitinen
Deputy Director for Higher Education, New America Foundation

Eric Seleznow
Acting Assistant Secretary, Employment and Training Administration, U.S. Department of Labor

9:15    Overview of Competency-Based Education

Sally Johnstone   
Vice President of Academic Advancement, Western Governors University 

9:45    Building Competency Based Models: The Essential Role of College Leaders

Jerrilee Mosier
Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College, Northeast  

Jean Hernandez
President, Edmonds Community College  

Linda Howdyshell
Provost, Broward College

Dan Phelan
President, Jackson Community College
American Association of Community College Board Member

10:30    Coffee Break

10:40    Moving from Institutions to Systems: Implications for Policy and Practice

Jay Box
Chancellor, Kentucky Community and Technical College System

Amy Laitinen
Deputy Director for Higher Education, New America Foundation

Belle Wheelan
President, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools

Louis Soares
Vice President, Policy Research and Strategy, American Council on Education

11:30    Adjourn



Event Time and Location

Monday, November 18, 2013 - 9:00am - 11:30am
New America Foundation
1899 L Street NW Suite 400
Washington, DC 20036

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