The CAEL team draws great strength from its varied set of backgrounds and skills. But we hold one very important quality in common: dedicated expertise in forging the connections between learning and work that adult learners—and their communities—depend on for social mobility and economic equity.
Vice President, Research and Impact
Becky Klein-Collins is the Vice President, Research and Impact at CAEL. In this role, she leads CAEL’s research initiatives, evaluation activities, and impact measurement strategy. Her work has been foundational in building CAEL’s reputation as a national resource in advancing Credit for Prior Learning/Prior Learning Assessment (CPL/PLA). Her other research and public policy activities have focused on competency-based education, student veterans, mature workers, and system-transforming practices in workforce development. Klein-Collins regularly speaks 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 the 2020 CAEL and WICHE prior learning assessment study, The PLA Boost: Results from a 72-Institution Targeted Study of Prior Learning Assessment and Adult Student Outcomes, along with several other research reports focused on the use and impact of credit for prior learning. She has been the PLA Editor for the Journal of Continuing Higher Education, a Contributing Editor to the Journal of Competency-Based Education (Wiley), and an advisory board member for the National Research Collaborative on Postsecondary Competency-Based Education.
Klein-Collins holds a Master of Public Policy from the University of Chicago, a Master of Arts in Germanic Studies from Indiana University, and a bachelor’s degree from Grinnell College.
Links to Related 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.