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Spring 2020 CAEL Newsletter

Inside this Issue

CAEL and iDesign Offer New Upskilling Pathway That Helps Colleges and Universities Build Internal Capacity to Create Online Courses

Leadership Transition

Virtual Engagement Sustaining IDN Collaboration

KC Scholars Partners Convene at Adult Learner 360 Summit

CAEL Hosts 34th Meeting of Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group

Strada Center for Consumer Insights Weekly Surveys Underscores Importance of Upskilling

CAEL Hosts Annual LASS Convening

CAEL Hosts a Virtual Employer-Education Coalition Meeting

CAEL Employer-Education Initiative: EPCE Pilots Micro-Certificates

Membership Updates

COVID-19 Updates

Recent Blog Posts and Other Articles

CAEL and iDesign Offer New Upskilling Pathway That Helps Colleges and Universities Build Internal Capacity to Create Online Courses 

CAEL and iDesign have partnered to help colleges and universities "insource" online program development that benefits working adult learners. The new program, called LX Pathways, is a “choose your own edventure” competency-based approach to acquiring beginning and advanced learning design and instructional technology skills, with a focus on quality and leadership in the field. Competencies cover everything from the basics of learning management systems to universal design for learning (UDL), backward design, and project management. LX Pathways offers both self-paced and direct-feedback coaching options. In addition, participants can earn stackable credentials and certificates. CAEL members receive a 10% discount on LX Pathways courses. 

Leadership Transition

Effective May 1, Alex Morrison, senior vice president of strategic partnerships at Strada, will take on the role of interim president at CAEL. His focus will be on clarifying CAEL’s product offerings, refining work with philanthropic foundations, and setting a clear strategy for workforce and economic development services. 

Virtual Engagement Sustaining IDN Collaboration

Members of CAEL’s Inclusive Development Network (IDN) will be able to participate in an interactive, virtual convening June 17-19 regardless of the state of shelter-in-place guidelines. CAEL staff are developing methods to engage members with interactive tools and collaborative exercises to ensure the convening structure is effective and its value realized. Our partners at Ernst & Young (EY) will present strategies for communities to keep momentum going after they launch their plans, including finding and cultivating partner relationships and taking advantage of applicable funding opportunities. 

Another CAEL IDN partner, the International Economic Development Council, will also be presenting on best practices learned  among its member communities that have faced challenges and opportunities similar to those identified by communities throughout the IDN planning process. Through the online platform, IDN members will be able to ask live questions, answer interactive polls, and discuss details and challenges of their strategy processes with peers and presenters.

CAEL also has added a COVID-19 resource page to the resources available at the IDN portal. Regularly updated, it is designed to help ensure the IDN community is aware of the support available during this time and also includes examples of the latest measures other communities in the network are taking to assist businesses and their workforce. 

KC Scholars Partners Convene at Adult Learner 360 Summit

On Feb. 6, KC Scholars CEO Beth Tankersley-Bankhead and CAEL Director of Higher Education Consulting Projects Barry L. Nickerson led an AL 360 summit in Kansas City for the KC Scholars program. They discussed high-level AL 360 results for seven participating higher education institutions. During the summit, participants broke into focus groups to complete deep-dives into several shared challenges across the KC Scholars Postsecondary Network. Using results from the AL 360 assessment, each institution will begin working on an action plan to address challenges that will help them improve their support of adult learners' success. CAEL thanks The DeBruce Foundation for sponsoring the event through its grant and the KC Scholars and the KC Area Education Research Consortium for their partnership. More details about CAEL’s work with KC Scholars are available in a recent “EvoLLLution” article.

CAEL Hosts 34th Meeting of Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group

As institutions have transitioned courses to a variety of virtual instructional formats due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we know that many student veterans are struggling to adapt to the online learning environment. On March 31st, R.J. Jenkins, Curriculum Design Specialist at the Center for Veteran Transition & Integration (CVTI), joined CAEL at a virtual meeting of CAEL’s Veterans Higher Education Affinity Group. He discussed the critical and timely online resources Columbia University has designed for student veterans, active-duty members, and military-connected students transitioning from the military to higher education. This includes a FREE curriculum, entitled "Veteran Transition: Academic Excellence to Career Readiness," which is open for use to all institutions. This unique curriculum empowers student veterans to successfully traverse the online academic environment and is specifically designed to:

  • Assist student veterans in navigating the college admissions process.
  • Maximize academic success in the college classroom.
  • Identify and secure meaningful and fulfilling careers after service or school.

The curriculum, hosted on the edX platform, can be found here.

Strada Center for Consumer Insights Weekly Surveys Underscores Importance of Upskilling 

Strada Education Network produces a weekly, nationally representative survey of Americans on COVID-19’s impact on their work and education. Designed to track the impact of the pandemic on Americans’ lives, work, and education, the Public Viewpoint: COVID-19 Work and Education Survey is produced by Strada Education Network’s Center for Consumer Insights. As of the fourth week of the survey, more than half (55 percent) of Americans had experienced a job loss or a reduction in income or hours. Nearly two thirds (62 percent) were worried they’d lose their jobs. And more than one third (34 percent) of those surveyed felt that if they did lose their job, they’d need more education to secure a comparable one. 

CAEL Hosts Annual LASS Convening

LASSA 2020 MeetingOn Feb. 26 and 27, CAEL held the second of three annual Latino Adult Student Success (LASS) convenings, in Miami. It provided the LASS community with an opportunity to share progress and best practices with peers and to further optimize their action plans ahead of the start of the initiative’s third year, on May 1. Fifty-four attendees representing teams from all fifteen participating institutions attended. Resources included a leadership panel featuring Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) administrators and a student panel comprising adult and Latino adult learners.

The three-year partnership between CAEL and Excelencia in Education opens with an Adult Learner 360 survey to help the 15 Hispanic Serving or Emerging Hispanic Serving Institutions identify opportunities to better serve their Latino adult learners. Action planning and evaluation efforts follow. The program is made possible through the generous support of The Kresge Foundation, Ascendium Education Group, and Greater Texas Foundation. 

Year two of the LASS Academy focused on finalizing institutional action plans and designing evaluation plans to measure impact. CAEL began scheduling and delivering the first round of technical assistance and holding regular support calls with institutions. Institutions were introduced to the case study and interview process so they could begin telling the stories that are unfolding at each institution. CAEL remains encouraged by the Academy cohort’s ongoing engagement and its commitment to serving adult and Latino adult learners. We look forward to the work to come in the final year of the grant and to sharing case studies detailing outcomes.

CAEL Hosts a Virtual Employer-Education Coalition Meeting

EPCE, a CAEL employer-education initiative, hosted its first virtual meeting on April 15. EPCE typically meets face to face twice per year, but due to the COVID pandemic, the meeting was conducted virtually. The coalition represents more than 75 percent of the energy workforce across the nation and is dedicated to creating and sponsoring relevant, accredited online training to support the needs of the energy workforce. Despite the disruption in work and other challenges faced by this essential workforce, EPCE members were able to come together to learn and share strategies for upskilling and reskilling the energy industry workforce. EPCE's education providers, Bismarck State College, Excelsior College, Worcester Polytech, and Clemson University, also participated in the virtual meeting.

CAEL Employer-Education Initiative: EPCE Pilots Micro-Certificates 

The need to enhance core competencies in leadership and project management for the energy industry workforce has led to the pilot of new credentials designed as micro-certificates to improve the knowledge and skills needed in many positions for working adult learners. CAEL member Excelsior College, in response to input from Energy Providers Coalition for Education (EPCE) members who represent energy employers nationwide, developed micro-certificates in leadership and project management designed to fill energy industry workforce skills gaps. The EPCE micro-certificates are stackable and create a degree pathway for those with an ultimate educational goal of degree completion. The micro-certificates expand job competencies in: corporate communication, talent management, financial administration, logistics strategy, and process efficiencies and training.

Micro-certificates help meet the demand for flexible lifelong learning. The EPCE coalition has indicated that the energy workforce of today has opportunities to move into positions requiring leadership and project management skills more frequently than in the past. This means it’s more essential for employees to have options like micro-certificates that makes ongoing, continuous learning and recognition of capabilities more accessible.

CAEL Membership Update

“Thank You” to our members who piloted our member community platform. CAEL’s pilot members tested our new platform and provided essential feedback on our communities of practice. We are working on making adjustments and improvements so CAEL members, the “Champions of Working Adult Learners,” can collaborate and learn together. Stay tuned for an upcoming announcement to kick off our new community platform.

Welcome New Members
CAEL’s members represent an extensive community of stakeholders working to build new ecosystems and transform traditional structures to better meet the needs of today’s working adult learners in communities, across industries and inside all postsecondary institutions. Our members are 'Champions of Working Adult Learners' and we look forward to supporting them as they create new approaches to serving working adult learners.

We are pleased to welcome our newest 2020 members: Northern Michigan University; North Carolina Community College System; University of North Carolina System; the North Carolina System Office;  Mountain Empire Community College; International Sports Sciences Association College; Colorado State University - Pueblo; Hadley Institute for the Blind & Visually Impaired; Division of Professional Studies-UMBC; Northern Michigan University; Sienna Heights University; Wilberforce University; Southeast Missouri State University; Rock Valley College; and Southern Wesleyan University. We are excited to bring on new members who continue the purposeful work of serving working adult learners everywhere.

We are working regularly to improve and make the CAEL community rewarding in new ways for our members. Chronicling the work our members do is critical to providing improved and continuous educational pathways for working adult learners. You can find links to these articles and stories on our blog site. And many of these also are published on The EvoLLLution. If you -- or a colleague -- would be interested in “joining the conversation,” please let us know. We would love to share your story.

Save the Date for our Upcoming Member Webinars
We hope you'll join us for these valuable upcoming members webinars. Save these dates and watch your inbox for your invitation.

  • Career Support Reimagined for Today’s Students - May 19 at 1 p.m. Central
  • Exciting New CAEL Membership Benefits - June 10 at 12 p.m. Central

For questions about your membership, or to discuss your membership options, please reach out to membershipservices@cael.org 

COVID-19 Updates

The CAEL Conference: The 2020 CAEL conference is scheduled for November 4-6 in New Orleans and, like all of you, we hope that by November we are well past the worst of COVID-19. 

However, as nothing about this virus has been predictable, we also are planning backup contingencies. We will hold a conference in the manner that is best suited to your health and safety so that you can continue to network and share knowledge with one another, even if from a distance. We will confirm the form of the conference later this year, but for now, we want you to know that we are planning ahead. Thank you to all who submitted a proposal; we appreciate your interest and will inform you of your acceptance status this summer. 

Engagements and Technical Assistance: As exemplified by several stories in this newsletter, CAEL can be flexible with much of our onsite support. As needed, much, if not all, of this work may be conducted remotely and/or online. We can also delay some portions of this work until later this year. To discuss available options, please reach out to your CAEL contact or Beth Doyle at bdoyle@cael.org.

Professional Development: CAEL has created online versions of many of our professional development offerings and is continuing to refine and build more valuable content online. If you have a face-to-face session scheduled with us in the near future that you would like to postpone or replace with an online engagement, please reach out to your CAEL contact or Beth Doyle at bdoyle@cael.org to discuss your options. 

We are also rolling out a number of new professional development offerings in 2020 and will be using an “online first” strategy for accessibility and affordability. When normal travel patterns resume, we will, of course, accommodate your wish for a face-to-face offering.

Help is Available Now: In conjunction with our partner, iDesign, we are pleased to let you know about new tools and resources available to you free of charge. 

  • A new e-book, The iDEA Book: Educational Research and Practical Examples for Distinctive Course Design is available.
  • In response to faculty needs during this time, iDesign launched a new Digital Teaching track to its LX Pathways offerings on March 23 and will offer free course access for at least the next six months. This brief, focused, competency-based certificate program, designed by digital teaching and learning experts, will address how to:
    • Recognize and debunk myths around online learning;
    • Support peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration in asynchronous spaces;
    • Communicate expectations and feedback clearly to students with diverse needs and access to resources; and
    • Form meaningful connections with learners in spite of—or perhaps because of—the physical distance.

Recent Blog Posts and Other Articles     

‘Terminal Degree’ Takeoff: ECU’s Bachelor of Science in Industrial Technology

Learning from Experience: Northeastern’s Robust Connections Between Classroom and Commerce

Report Highlights Impact of Prior Learning Assessments

Where Building (It) Together Goes From Here

New Upskilling Pathway Helps Colleges and Universities Build Internal Capacity to Create Online Courses

Amid the Confusion and Chaos of Current Events, Our Mission Has Never Been Clearer

‘Conversations With CAEL’: Amy Belcastro, Ph.D. of Southern Oregon University

Community Eclipses Technology When Creating Scalable Solutions for Working Adult Learners

Lifelong Learners: the Ultimate ‘Transfer Students’

Conversations With CAEL: Jennifer Sparrow, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs for CUNY SPS

Can Behavioral Science Help College Students With Children Graduate?

FIU Participates in Comprehensive Project to Discover Best Support for Adult Latinos

Insights and Opportunities -Student Parents & Behavioral Science

Microcredentials are Playing a Major Role in the Success of DCCCD’s WorkReadyU

Form Follows Function: Monroe Community College’s Modular Career Pathways


Want to learn more? Let's talk!

If your institution or organization is seeking guidance, solutions, or support from CAEL, or if you have an idea for a future collaboration initiative with us, please reach out. We'd love to connect.

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