Could a regulatory overhaul open up the gates for competency-based education?

Nearly 25 years ago, 18 governors gathered in Park City, Utah, and found common ground in the problems that plagued colleges in their home states. Their complaints are familiar, even today: There was too much regulation, too many hang-ups with accreditation and too much resistance to meaningfully improve higher education.So, they decided, they would build their own university from the bottom-up.Two ideas emerged during that 1995 meeting that formed the backbone of the hypothetical university, according to an account by Kevin Kinser, now head of the education policy studies department at Penn State University.One was using the newfound capabilities of the internet to reach students across state lines. That would be critical to address growing enrollment in the nation's western states. The second was a more radical suggestion: awarding credentials based on whether students could prove they mastered a skill, instead of how much time they spent in the classroom. Colorado's governor, Roy Romer, suggested the governors create a university to pilot the idea.The idea, competency-based education (CBE), traces its origins back hundreds of years with the use of outcomes-based learning in fields requiring technical skills or licenses, such as the military and the law. But it had never before been attempted at scale. That would change when the governors' two ideas came together in 1997 with the opening of Western Governors University.

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Online Education, Continuing Education

W. P. Carey School of Business, Televerde Foundation expand prison education program

PR Newswire | January 08, 2024

The ASU W. P. Carey School of Business and Televerde Foundation have worked alongside community partners to offer a unique PATHS program for women as they transition out of prison. PATHS, an acronym for Prepare, Achieve, and Transform for Healthy Success, teaches skills in personal wellness, workplace readiness, employment strategies, mentoring, financial literacy, and lifelong learning. The program begins while the women are still incarcerated and continues through their reentry and transition back into society. "We are thrilled to expand our partnership with the ASU W. P. Carey School of Business, further empowering women through education," said Michelle Cirocco, executive director of Televerde Foundation. "Our PATHS program goes beyond just providing skills; it's about transforming lives. This expansion marks a significant step toward reducing recidivism and opening new opportunities for women from all walks of life to rewrite their narratives. It also underscores our belief in education as a crucial driver of personal growth and societal advancement. We are committed to helping these women become positive role models in their communities and building a brighter, more secure future for themselves and their families." Julia LaRosa, clinical associate professor, and Kostas Voutsas, assistant teaching professor, from the Department of Management and Entrepreneurship, are two members of the W. P. Carey community who teach in the program. They focus on workplace readiness skills through college-level business fundamentals, business communication, and professional development courses. As of fall 2023, women who complete the Career PATHS coursework earning a C or better have the opportunity to turn their completed work into college credit through ASU's Universal Learner program. The associated fees are currently covered by Televerde Foundation, with future iterations also being funded by the generosity of donors through the ASU Foundation. "Turning time in prison into a college education experience is truly inspiring," says Voutsas, who teaches the Effective Communication for Career Success class. "It is a practical course that empowers students to communicate as leaders, embrace diversity and inclusion, build positive relationships, and maximize efficiency and effectiveness in the workplace. It explores both verbal and nonverbal communication, cross-cultural communication, customer service, the writing process, writing mechanics, interviewing and resume techniques, as well as delivering presentations with confidence." Since the program's inception in 2020, the results have been truly remarkable. Of the 161 students who have completed the program, the recidivism rate is zero compared with the expected 40% to 60% rate. According to the Televerde Foundation, graduates' salaries are also 61% to 75% higher than their less prepared counterparts. While the quantitative outcomes are extraordinary, the qualitative impacts are equally important. Mary Montemorra, a PATHS graduate, explains, "Televerde Foundation and PATHS have given me the ability to fit into a community that once felt so far away. Remember, being sent to prison means the society you once were part of decided to remove you from its communities physically. PATHS gave that community back to me." One benefit of the Universal Learner program is the connection it helps non-traditional students form with ASU. "At W. P. Carey, we are prioritizing access in the communities we serve," says Raghu Santanam, senior associate dean for Executive Education, Corporate Partnerships, and Lifelong Learning. "Connecting PATHS to ASU as a for-credit course legitimizes the hard work these women are undertaking and makes it easier for them to transition into college in the future." Higher education is indeed more within reach for individuals involved in the justice system. As of July 1, 2023, the FAFSA Simplification Act provisions make PELL grants available to all qualified incarcerated people to further pursue post-secondary education through approved Prison Education Programs (PEPs). "A mere vision has blossomed into a sustainable program," says LaRosa. PATHS is "dedicated to aiding incarcerated women in reshaping the course of their lives and those of their families. Witnessing the transformative impact of a college education unfolding within our community is truly remarkable and the high point of my career."

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Continuing Education

Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds Merge to Expand Impact from Birth Through Grade 8

PR Newswire | January 09, 2024

Today, Collaborative Classroom and FluentSeeds announce a merger into a single nonprofit organization to serve educators and other adults responsible for nurturing children's language, literacy, and social and emotional learning from birth through grade 8. With this merger, Collaborative Classroom is uniquely positioned to provide seamless support for children from birth through early childhood and beyond, ensuring kindergarten readiness and long-term academic success. Collaborative Classroom's evidence-based literacy and social and emotional learning programs and wraparound professional learning serve students and educators in grades K–8, with some programs extending through grades 9–12. Collaborative Classroom is one of the largest education nonprofits in the country, supporting educators in all 50 states in over 1,000 school districts. FluentSeeds supports adults, including parents, family and community members, child care providers, and other educators, with ©SEEDS of Learning, a rigorously-researched and proven set of literacy and social and emotional frameworks for children from birth through age 5. FluentSeeds currently serves more than 4,000 adults and 30,000 children in a variety of environments including home, community child care, pre-kindergarten, transitional kindergarten, and K–2. On a daily basis, this newly merged organization already impacts nearly 2 million children across the nation. Collaborative Classroom President and CEO Kelly Stuart says, "Bringing FluentSeeds into the Collaborative Classroom family of programs is especially exciting because it allows us to support children throughout their earliest years—a long-term goal of our organization. We know how crucial the first five years are for children's social, emotional, and early literacy development. FluentSeeds' expertise and offerings perfectly position us to serve even more children." Stuart adds, "Collaborative Classroom's and FluentSeeds' instructionally aligned and consistent, research-based frameworks are already used together with great success in schools and districts across the country. Recently, The Oakland REACH released a study on the impact of their tutoring programs that utilize SEEDS and our SIPPS® program. We are confident this merger will impact children from the beginning of their literacy journey and ensure their success as confident, fluent readers." FluentSeeds Executive Director Kate Horst says, "The gift of SEEDS and its impact on early literacy and social-emotional development will continue to spread in an ever-widening circle, thanks to Collaborative Classroom's mission, people, programs, and professional learning. Their deep literacy expertise and commitments to evidence and impact align with our strong foundations of birth to kindergarten professional development and SEEDS quality interactions. We are delighted to bring our FluentSeeds staff, friends, and partnerships into Collaborative Classroom's excellent programming and far-reaching impact." The new organization will operate under the banner of Collaborative Classroom, and Kelly Stuart will continue to serve as President and CEO. FluentSeeds' Executive Director, Kate Horst, will serve as both a senior advisor and a member of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees. Susan Wally, Chair of the Collaborative Classroom Board of Trustees, says, "On behalf of the entire board, I want to welcome Kate Horst to our board and share our excitement and optimism as Collaborative Classroom expands its ability to support young learners through this merger with FluentSeeds. These two extraordinary organizations share a commitment to helping all those who teach and support young learners to access high-impact, evidence-based strategies and quality resources. We look forward to using our combined expertise and expanded scale to build vital literacy and social-emotional skills for our youngest children, as well as those who have already begun their K–12 journey."

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Education Technology, Corporate Education and Training, Continuing Education

Elsmere Education Launches EPaaS: Powering Smart Growth in Higher Education with Streamlined Processes and ROI-Driven Strategies

PR Newswire | January 31, 2024

Elsmere Education, a leading force in online program enablement, announces the official launch of Education Process as a Service (EPaaS). This innovative ecosystem empowers universities to achieve smart growth in their online programs by streamlining operations, maximizing ROI, and catering to the unique needs of non-traditional students. EPaaS encompasses Elsmere Education's proven business processes tailored for an enriched student journey supported by dynamic communication strategies. Our solutions are powered by a curated technology ecosystem that includes omnichannel marketing capabilities and is designed to integrate with a wide range of existing campus systems. Built on Feedback, Designed for Growth The subscription-based model empowers universities to bring essential services in-house efficiently, leveraging a comprehensive suite of 40+ technologies through a single procurement process. EPaaS is intentionally designed to streamline and optimize the entire student lifecycle, specifically catering to the needs of non-traditional and online adult learners. Dan Janick, CEO of Elsmere Education, states: "EPaaS is a game-changer in terms of ROI. We've created a flexible, scalable solution that gives universities complete control and empowers internal teams to be more agile. It's the ultimate enablement model for driving efficiencies, increasing enrollment, and boosting student retention." Addressing Common Challenges Elsmere Education recognizes the challenges faced by university leaders in meeting the unique needs of non-traditional students and online adult learners. EPaaS addresses common challenges, including reliance on campus systems built for traditional students, lack of a CRM platform, and manual workflows hindering efficient student journey execution and monitoring. EPaaS Delivers Tangible Results 360-degree business intelligence: Make data-driven decisions for improved performance across the student lifecycle. Real-time marketing metrics: Optimize your marketing efforts and maximize enrollment yield. Increased staff productivity: Streamline processes and free up your team to focus on student success. Elsmere Education is your partner in online education success. Contact us today to learn how EPaaS can transform your institution.

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