Advancing CBE through C-BEN

July 23, 2014

As the momentum around competency-based education builds, it needs advocates and organization to serves as force multipliers to advance the cause. C-BEN, the Competency-Based Education Network, is just such a force multiplier. It’s a collection of institutions practicing CBE and outside organizations that see the potential for CBE to provide a more relevant, flexible and less expensive pathway to a degree. It is organized around trying to be a compelling voice for supportive, rational policy around CBE and the sharing of best/emerging practices.

I was privileged to join Dr. Deb Bushway, Vice President of Academic Innovation and Chief Academic Officer and Tracy Smith, Director of Information Delivery, in representing Capella at the meeting. Deb is one of the world’s best people to travel with and it was fun to get to know Tracy better (Tracy was recognized for the contributions she has already made to C-BEN with a little bottle of Grey Goose…so she’s kind of a big deal).

We kicked off yesterday with a conversation with Ted Mitchell, the under secretary of education. Paul Fain does a good job of recapping Mitchell’s announcement here, but the bottom line is that the Administration is taking a major step forward in the creation of an experimental site for competency-based education programs. They are creating a safe space for new models to test and learn what works and understand what it will take to create a common-sense regulatory structure to support these new models.

The rest of the day was spent sharing best practices and developing new lines of work for the next three months. Deb and I worked on the communications and storytelling track. The advancement and adoption of CBE programs will be directly tied to the ability of institutions and supporters to articulate its potential benefits in serious and credible ways.

Finally, a big shout out to Alison Kadlec, Amy Laitinen and Mike Offerman (who used to occupy his own Capella blog space) for their leadership on this issue. Excited for the work ahead. See everyone in October.

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