The Institute for Competency-Based Education (ICBE) at Texas A&M University-Commerce recently sponsored 25 university personnel to attend CBExchange, an annual conference hosted by the Competency-Based Education Network (CBEN).
The event is the foremost conference on competency-based education, where leaders from hundreds of institutions gather to learn about designing and implementing high-quality competency-based degree programs.
Competency-based degree programs are designed for adult learners and working professionals who find it difficult to attend traditional face-to-face classes. Instead, students can plan schoolwork around their busy schedules and work at their own pace. The fully online, competency-based format also allows students to accelerate through coursework by leveraging their current knowledge, which helps to speed up the time it takes to complete their degree.
ICBE advocates for competency-based education at A&M-Commerce and across the state of Texas. The institute has routinely sponsored conference attendance for faculty who teach courses in the competency-based programs housed in the College of Innovation and Design at A&M-Commerce.
This year, ICBE also supported participants outside of the college to foster awareness of competency-based education program development prospects for other university divisions, including the College of Education and Human Services and the Graduate School.
A&M-Commerce produced the largest number of institutional attendees at the conference. Faculty and personnel representing offices and departments across the university presented at eight breakout sessions and one mainstage presentation.
Yvonne Villanueva-Russell, Ph.D., dean of the College of Innovation and Design, described A&M-Commerce as a pioneer in competency-based program offerings.
Joining David Deggs, associate director of academic programs, and Carlos Rivers, executive director of ICBE, Villanueva-Russell spoke during a featured session about their experience engaging in a yearlong “Equity Collaboratory,” in which the college participated in several webinars hosted by CBEN and Jobs for the Future to address the need for equitable student success outcomes in current and future competency-based programs.
“Our faculty and the ICBE are regularly sought-after for webinars and demonstrations about integrating competency-based education into higher education settings because A&M-Commerce was an early adopter of this delivery mode and has seen great success providing flexible and affordable degrees for adult learners and working professionals.”
April Sanders, associate professor and assistant head of the Department of Curriculum and Instruction, said the conference provided valuable insight into the benefits of competency-based education.
“Attending the CBExchange conference gave me a better understanding of modern students’ needs,” Sanders said. “I came away with renewed energy to implement these strategies and modes of delivery in an effective way.”