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, Initiatives
Wilson Finch joined CAEL in 2014 via dual roles within the Higher Education and Workforce and Economic Development teams. In 2020, he began overseeing CAEL’s advising and program support work, which includes delivery of higher education, workforce, and economic development projects and products. Finch has delivered and directed various complex projects, primarily focusing on statewide and systemwide approaches to credit for prior learning (CPL), strategy development for CPL implementation, and implementation and improvement of institutional CPL programs.
He was the lead on projects with state systems and consortia in Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Illinois, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, Wisconsin, several multi-state projects, Australia, and Singapore while assisting on state projects in Arizona, Colorado, Florida, Maine, Michigan, Mississippi, New Hampshire, Texas, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Washington. Finch is the author of “The Adult Learner: A Critical Ally for State Economic Development” in the Council of State Government’s Book of the States 2016 and “Adult Learners: Activating Prior Knowledge and Acquiring New Skills” in the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s 2018 Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers.
Before joining CAEL, Finch was the Assistant Director for Postsecondary Completion Initiatives for the Tennessee Higher Education Commission (THEC). He directed and coordinated grant-funded policy and program initiatives in adult education and CPL.
Finch holds a Master of Philosophy in Early Modern History from the University of Cambridge and a Bachelor of Arts in History from The University of the South. He is passionate about institutional change management, offering CPL in conjunction with public sector job training, higher education policy, and process, and helping to bridge the gap between higher education and other sectors such as workforce systems, employers, and community partners.
Links to Related Work :
- The Adult Learner: A Critical Ally for State Economic Development” in the Council of State Government’s Book of the States 2016
- Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s 2018 Investing in America’s Workforce: Improving Outcomes for Workers and Employers
- Linking Public Workforce Systems and Community Colleges through Prior Learning Assessment: Learnings from a National Pilot Project (2018)
- Recommended Standards in Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) Policy and Practice for Tennessee Public Colleges and Universities (from 2012 while at THEC)
Areas of Expertise : Wilson has extensive expertise on approaches to adult learners in postsecondary education, as well as in advocating for, designing and implementing high-quality prior learning assessment (PLA)/credit for prior learning (CPL) programs. Other areas of expertise include institutional change management, strategies for offering PLA in conjunction with public sector job training, higher education policy and process, and making the case for why adult learners matter to states, postsecondary education systems, workforce agencies, and employers.