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Vice President, Research and Impact
Becky Klein-Collins is the vice president for research and impact at CAEL. In this role, she is focused on shaping and managing a robust thought leadership strategy for CAEL, which includes curating content for membership, public-facing advocacy, and special research initiatives. Previously, Klein-Collins led CAEL’s research and public policy activities, with research projects focused on the impact and value of prior learning assessment (PLA), competency-based education (CBE), best practices in serving student veterans, mature workers, and system-transforming practices in workforce development. Klein-Collins also speaks regularly to national audiences on topics related to adult learners, and she is the author of numerous articles and policy position papers for CAEL.
Among her portfolio of published work is her first book, Never Too Late: The Adult Student’s Guide to College, produced in partnership with The Washington Monthly and published in 2018 by The New Press. Klein-Collins was the principal investigator and author of CAEL’s 2010 Fueling the Race to Postsecondary Success: A 4-Institution Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes, along with several subsequent research briefs on PLA; she is currently the co-PI for a similar study in partnership with the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education.
Klein-Collins earned a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College and holds master’s degrees from Indiana University and the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy.
Examples of Work
- Op ed: “As Colleges Stare Down Declining Demographics, Now Is the Time to Support Adult Learners,” Higher Ed Dive, March 4, 2021.
- Video interview: “Will Higher Ed Win the Adult Upskilling Game?” Helix, 2021.
- The PLA Boost: Results from a 72-Institution Targeted Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes. CAEL and Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), 2020.
- “Learning Recognition and the Future of Higher Education--A Vision for a Post-Pandemic Learning Ecosystem.” With Nan Travers, SUNY-Empire State College. Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), 2020.
- Never Too Late: The Adult Student’s Guide to College. New York: The New Press, 2018.
- Targeting the Technical: Prioritizing Analysis of Student Transcripts in Degree Reclamation Efforts to Improve Student Completion Outcomes
Areas of Expertise
Becky has extensive expertise on approaches to support adult learners in postsecondary education, prior learning assessment (PLA)/credit for prior learning (CPL) policy and practices, PLA/CPL research, PLA/CPL business models, and competency-based education. Other areas of expertise include the work/learn cycle, stackable credentials, employer tuition assistance strategies, career pathways, upskilling/reskilling, student veterans, supporting adult students of color, federal financial aid strategies for adult learners, adult learner personas, adult learner barriers/challenges, and career and education navigation.