AN OPEN LETTER FROM NEW CAEL PRESIDENT, DR. MARIE A. CINI
Dear Members and Friends of CAEL,
I am grateful for your support and collaboration over the years with CAEL, and I am humbled by the opportunity to lead an organization that’s mission has never been more relevant—or urgent.
Our work together reflects the economic and moral imperative of building strong links between learning and work as adult learners become the new majority across our colleges and universities. It reflects the potential for partnership between institutions and employers to make higher education possible for working learners. And it reflects an understanding that investments in education can help employers to retain—and expand—their talent pipeline in a rapidly evolving world of work and constricted labor market.
For nearly three decades, Pamela Tate led the field in building partnerships to unlock the potential of the more than 80 million adults nationwide who have never attended college—or started college, but never earned a degree. It is work that earned the respect of practitioners across sectors working to develop programs, approaches and services for adult learners.
The challenge—and opportunity—of creating high-quality educational and career pathways for adult learners is one that I embraced working on behalf of active-duty military personnel through the Servicemembers Opportunity Colleges. And it informed my time as provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Maryland University College (UMUC), which serves 85,000 adult students each year, and is now the nation’s largest online public institution.
As part of Strada Education Network, CAEL now has access to resources, expertise and innovations to support learners within the classroom—and beyond. But our ability to respond—and lead—during such a transformative period will depend on the sort of insight and experience that our partners in the field can provide. We seek ideas and input with enthusiasm and humility from all of you who are working with and on behalf of adult learners every day.
In the coming months, we will be facilitating a variety of opportunities to engage and share your perspectives on where CAEL should lead and how we can better support your efforts. I look forward to hearing your thoughts directly. We are also planning small group events as I travel to visit with partners around the country.
I encourage you to attend our annual CAEL International Conference in November, where I invite your participation in a series of “fireside chats” with the goal of providing an additional opportunity to hear your thoughts and ideas. Of course, please don’t hesitate to reach out to arrange a time to connect, or share specific feedback and ideas.
We need all of us—employers, workforce development professionals, colleges and universities, and associations like CAEL—to work together in the service of adult learners. I look forward to building on CAEL’s rich legacy to amplify our collective impact for adult learners working to achieve educational and career goals.
I especially look forward to collaborating with all of you to advance this important work.
Marie A. Cini