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Registration now open for the CAEL 2022 Conference in Chicago, IL. Join us!

Thank you to everyone for attending the 2021 CAEL Conference, making this the largest conference ever for CAEL outside of 2020. Our attendees represented approximately 250 postsecondary education providers and 115 other organizations, including nonprofits, businesses, and governmental agencies. They formed a comprehensive mosaic of the adult learning ecosystem, which included more than 150 workshops across eight tracks. 

Please stay informed throughout the year on 2022 conference updates through caelCONNECT, social media, and the CAEL Newsletter.

Thank you to our 2021 conference co-sponsor, Strada Education Network, and to our local sponsors, National University and San Diego Workforce Partnership. And, thank you to all of our sponsors and collaborators - we appreciate all that you do to provide solutions and support our work to better align learning and work so adult learners and communities can thrive. 

If you attended the 2021 CAEL Conference and would like to view the recorded virtual sessions, please click here


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Learner of the Year

Javier Garcia
Police Detective, Hendersonville

Hendersonville Police Detective Javier Garcia crossed the stage at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. on May 18 to receive his bachelor’s degree. Unlike the other 625 students who graduated that day, however, Garcia’s journey to earning a college degree began nearly two decades ago in a different country. While working full time, providing for his family and taking college courses, Garcia’s hard work propelled him to success, professionally and academically.

At the age of 29, Garcia left alone from his home country and emigrated from Cuba to the United States. In 2008, Garcia became a U.S. citizen. Garcia graduated summa cum laude and received an Academic Medal of Excellence.

Morris T. Keeton Award

Marcia Anderson
Director Emerita, Student-Directed Learning, Metropolitan State University, Minnesota

Marcia Anderson is a Senior Community Faculty Member in the College of Individualized Studies at Metropolitan State University in Minnesota. She was named Director Emerita after retiring from her position as Director of the Student-Directed Learning (SDL) Office in July 2021. As Director, she coordinated the university’s continuum of student-directed learning options, working with students, advisors and faculty to promote and arrange prior learning assessment, bridging theory seminars, and individualized student-designed independent study.

Anderson has taught a variety of courses in her decades-long career at the university, including the Perspectives 301: Educational Philosophy and Planning course or Theory Seminar for Individualized BA students; Metro 100: Getting Credit for What You Know and for Student-Directed Learning; and Metro 101: Your Academic Journey, for students new to university education. 

She helped to found and was the interim director of the Minnesota State system-wide Credit for Prior Learning Assessment Network (C-PLAN) in 2018-2019. She worked previously as an Individualized BA professional staff advisor, and as an admissions counselor.  Anderson has helped thousands of diverse adult learners identify learning interests and competencies and achieve learning recognition and graduation goals.  Her early career included work in the university's publications office as an academic editor, and in community journalism reporting and editing work with neighborhood and special-interest publications, including the Minnesota Women Press, which she helped to found. 

The Minnesota State Board of Trustees awarded Anderson its statewide Excellence in Service Award in 2021, for Administrative and Service Faculty employees. The university previously presented her the Carol C. Ryan Outstanding Advisor Award in 1990, and the Outstanding Teacher Award in 1988 for PRSP 301. 

Anderson earned a BA from Metro State in 1977 with an individualized focus in community journalism, and an MA in adult learning and development from St. Mary's University in 1991. 

She continues to work to expand adult, student-directed, and lifelong-learning opportunities for all, and to promote academic assessment and recognition of learning from diverse settings, experiences, communities, and cultures.

Pamela Tate Rise Award

Su Jin Jez
Executive Director, California Competes: Higher Education for a Strong Economy

Dr. Su Jin Jez serves as Executive Director of California Competes, an organization that develops nonpartisan and financially pragmatic recommendations for improved policies and practices in California higher education. Prior to joining California Competes, she served as Associate Professor of Public Policy and Administration at California State University, Sacramento. She also served as the Director of the CSU Student Success Network, Academic Advisor for the California Executive Fellows Program, and Associate Director of the Sacramento State Doctorate in Educational Leadership.Su Jin is an accomplished researcher whose work appears in a variety of publications including Teachers College Record, Education Policy Analysis Archives, Research in Higher Education, Community College Review, and Michigan Journal of Race & Law. Through her applied research, she has provided guidance to the California Community College Chancellor’s Office, the California State University system, and California’s Bureau for Private Postsecondary Education. Su Jin led a large scale study of the CCCCO’s Economic and Workforce Development Program and co authored multiple reports analyzing the role of the California Community Colleges Career Technical Education in the college completion agenda. She has presented across the country and internationally on key issues in higher education and systems change, including economic and workforce development, college readiness and success, student college choice and decision making, and institutional effectiveness. She holds a PhD in education administration and policy analysis and an MA in economics from Stanford University. She received a BA in statistics and a minor in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley.

Adult Learner Impact Award

Christine Billings
Director of the Division of Continuing Studies, University of Nebraska at Omaha

Christine Billings is the Director of the Division of Continuing Studies (DCS) at the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) which is home to the Bachelor of Multidisciplinary Studies (BMS) program. The program serves over 1,400 students between its two locations – the main UNO campus and a branch at Offutt AFB. Prior to joining UNO in 2018, Christine was the Assistant Dean of the College of Professional Studies, the Program Director for the Bachelor of Leadership Studies, and Director of Summer Sessions at Creighton University. Christine’s passion and commitment for adult and contemporary learners is grounded in her experience as a post-traditional student. She has more than 20 years of experience working with this diverse, multigenerational population and has competencies in multiple areas of higher education management.

Watch the Conference Videos

Thanks to Our 2021 Committee Members

Tracy Robinson, Director, Innovative Academic Initiatives, The University of Memphis

Sam Byrd Ph.D., Transition and Advising Coordinator Division of Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Hostos Community College, CUNY

Evelyn Fernandez-Ketcham, Executive Director, Workforce Development, Hostos Community College 

Devin Andrews, MAED Vice President, Office of Admissions & Evaluation, University of Phoenix

Kailey P. Soundara, MBA, Regional Director of Strategic Partnerships, Excelsior College

Anne Behler, Information Literacy Librarian and Instruction Coordinator of Library Learning Services, Penn State University

Sara Leiste, Director, Student-Directed Learning, Metropolitan State University

Join us in San Diego

We'd love to see you in November!

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