ERIC Number: EJ1070712
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Reference Count: 6
Competency-Based Education: Leadership Challenges
Nodine, Thad; Johnstone, Sally M.
Change: The Magazine of Higher Learning, v47 n4 p61-66 2015
Competency-based education (CBE) refers to online and hybrid courses and programs that offer credit or degrees based on evidence of student learning, or competencies, rather than on the amount of time spent in a course. Students work at their own pace, receive personalized academic support, and demonstrate mastery as they progress through their degree programs. Although multiple colleges and universities have launched various forms of CBE over the past two years, Western Governors University (WGU) has demonstrated CBE's feasibility since its inception in 1997. Over 55,000 students enroll in its degree programs currently. WGU has been working with a group of community colleges that have developed their own versions of CBE programs, mostly with their own resources but also supported by grants from the US Department of Labor and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. The group spans five states: (1) Indiana: Ivy Tech and the Fort Wayne and Lafayette Districts; (2) Florida: Broward College and Valencia College; (3) Ohio: Sinclair Community College; (4) Texas: Austin Community College and Lone Star College; and (5) Washington: Bellevue College, Columbia Basin College, Edmonds Community College, and Spokane Falls Community College. It is too early to know the results of the programs, but so far all of the colleges are moving forward with CBE expansion beyond the pilot phase, and two states are developing statewide CBE programs. Considering CBE's continued traction in higher education, the authors asked presidents and academic vice presidents at some of the colleges about the implications of CBE for college leadership. They found that developing CBE programs presents college leaders with opportunities and challenges in a number of areas. The college leaders report that developing CBE programs offers opportunities to personalize the educational experience for students. They also say that doing so presents challenges and highlights the barriers to individualized educational delivery embedded in existing systems (e.g., in programs, curricula, enrollment processes, and instructional and learner supports). College leaders also say that CBE offers opportunities to develop partnerships with local business and to work with faculty in cultivating a vision for change in higher education.
Descriptors: Competency Based Education, Instructional Leadership, Individualized Instruction, Community Colleges, Higher Education, College Presidents, Barriers, Partnerships in Education, School Business Relationship, College Faculty, Curriculum Development, Department Heads, Administrator Attitudes, Enrollment, Costs
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Two Year Colleges; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Sponsor: US Department of Labor
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Florida; Indiana; Ohio; Texas; Utah; Washington