Developing and Managing Competency-Based Education

Developing and Managing Competency-Based Education

May 15 -17, 2018
Orange County, CA


Understand, plan, enhance, and optimize competency-based education (CBE) on your campus.

Learn how your institution can overcome challenges and make sound decisions as you develop or improve your competency-based education (CBE) program. This conference goes beyond an overview of what CBE is in order to help you make genuine progress on your initiative. With the guidance of our experts you will be better able to:

  • Understand CBE trends and what may work best for your institution
  • Determine institutional priorities and readiness to adopt the CBE model
  • Prepare for CBE accreditation, financial aid, transcripting, and resourcing
  • Learn sound principles for program design and student learning assessment

Experts from five institutions on the leading edge of CBE will connect you with the tools you need to create and maintain high-quality CBE programs. Whether you are in the beginning stages of planning your program or are already entrenched in the development process, this program can help your CBE initiative succeed.

Learn from the Successes and Failures of Our Experts

Our speakers come from a wide range of institutions and they can guide you toward a successful program regardless of your unique institutional context. They have succeeded; they have failed; they’ve rallied to find solutions to their challenges; and now they are joining us to share what they’ve learned. Join us to hear from institutional leaders working on the cutting edge of CBE, including:

  • James Selbe, formerly with Kentucky Community and Technical College System
  • Hope Nordstrom, Lipscomb University
  • Josh Greenberg,  University of Maryland University College
  • Sheane Robinson,  University of Maryland University College
  • William Pena,  Southern New Hampshire University

Two Conference Workshops

Pre-Conference: Maintaining Quality in Your Competency-Based Programs

In this pre-conference workshop, you will delve into the C-BEN Quality Principles and Standards and learn how this framework can provide guideposts for your own CBE program. You will also review a case study from Lipscomb University and learn how you can apply the tactics discussed at your own institution.

Post-Conference: Translating Experience into College Credit with Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

To retain and graduate more adult learners, institutions are using PLA to award college-level credit for work and life experiences. This workshop will address how PLA can be designed to translate experiential learning into college credit.

Register Two People and a Third Can Attend for 50% Off!

Academic leaders tasked with implementing and managing CBE curriculum are encouraged to attend this conference with their committee. You and your team will leave with a working plan to creatively develop, implement, and manage your CBE programs. To encourage team participation, every third participant can register for 50% off!

Testimonials from Past Participants

“This conference presented a wealth of information that we will use in the months ahead. The presenters were knowledgeable and communicated effectively. This was a worthwhile use of our time and money”

- Jeromey Martini, President, Horizon College & Seminary

“It was a great opportunity for our faculty to learn and train together as we prepare to move forward with our transition into Competency Based Learning.”

- Eric A. Heiser, Associate Dean, Salt Lake Community College

“We are just starting to develop CBE, so I feel much more prepared now that I have attended this conference. So glad I attended.”

- Christine Burns, Faculty Member, Central New Mexico Community College

“This conference was an invaluable resource for our institution in moving ahead with our plans to implement CBE!”

- Todd Knudsen, Chief Academic Officer, Southern California University of Health Sciences

“Lots of sharing and expertise about embarking on path to CBE. Learned a lot. Have much to bring back to my institution for discussion and progress on CBE.”

- Diane Burke, Dean, Workforce Training Center, Central New Mexico Community College

“This was the most helpful conference I've attended for understanding the entire scope of Competency-Based Education.”

- Carol Jensen, Professor of Health Professions, Metropolitan State University of Denver

“A solid experience and a great way to network with professionals with common interests. The content was specific and clearly presented. Very little fluff.”

- Brian Tinker, EdD, MFA, Associate Professor and Program Director, Colorado Mountain College

“This conference provided attendees with the knowledge, skills, and tools to begin CBE at their own institutions.”

- Pat LaGrow, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of Central Oklahoma

“This conference is perfect for anyone trying to navigate the process of starting CBE programs. Lots of helpful information and you walk out with confidence that you can keep moving forward.”

- Aaron Black; Dean, Adult and Online Programs; Missouri Baptist University

"Excellent conference! I came away with new and important knowledge - perspective that will guide our strategic efforts as an institution."

- Bruce Kusch, Chief Academic Officer, LDS Business College

“The CBE conference provided an excellent overview of the CBE landscape and considerations in launching a CBE program.”

- Eric Goodman, President, Higher Ed Change

“A truly thought-provoking conference that inspired me to believe this really can work, given the right planning.”

- Scott Schuth, Director of Academic Tech, Concordia University, Chicago

“Bringing in the thought leaders of our education systems is a powerful and dynamic environment for learning and leading within my own institution!”

- Erin Mekelburg, TAACCCT Grant Retention/Liaison Coordinator, Southeast Technical Institute


Day 1: Tuesday, May 15, 2018


Pre-Conference Workshop: Maintaining Quality in Your Competency-Based Programs

Registration and Continental Breakfast (included in workshop registration fee) for Pre-Conference Workshop Attendees

8:30 - 9:00 a.m.

Pre-Conference Workshop: Maintaining Quality in Your Competency-Based Programs

9:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

In this opening workshop, you will review the C-BEN Quality Principles and Standards for Competency-Based Education Programs released in 2017. We will explore how these quality principles and standards can provide much-needed guideposts regardless of how your CBE program is structured. This workshop will focus primarily on curriculum design, assessment strategy, and continuous improvement. Included will be a case study on Walden University’s approach to developing its own CBE programs and a discussion of challenges, strengths, and lessons learned.

Lunch for Pre-Conference Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Registration for Main Conference

12:30 - 1:00 p.m.

Opening Remarks and Introductions

1:00 - 1:45 pm

The Foundations of Successful CBE Programs

Trends, Data and CBE Models

1:45 - 2:45 p.m.

CBE programs take many different forms within higher education. In this first hour, we will look at trends within CBE, as well as different models that institutions have adopted. We will review the opportunities and challenges associated with each trend and model discussed.

Afternoon Break

2:45 - 3:00 p.m.

Getting Started: The Key Ingredients Needed to Develop CBE

3:00 - 4:00 p.m.

Regardless of the CBE model that your institution follows, there are key elements that must be included. The lessons shared will allow you to explore the fundamental features that your institution must have to start a CBE program.

Making the Big Decisions and Choosing What Works Best for Your Institution

4:00 - 5:00 p.m.

Looking forward to day two, we will focus on making the right decisions for your unique institutional context. At the end of day one, we will prepare you to comfortably make decisions that:

  • Align your strategy for CBE with your institutional mission
  • Address organizational challenges associated with CBE
  • Place CBE in the context of your current educational model

Networking Reception (included in registration fee)

5:00 - 6:00 p.m.

Day 2: Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Administrative Considerations in CBE

Assessing and Evaluating Your Institutional Readiness to Implement CBE

8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

Making the transition to a learner-centered approach to education can be a challenge, especially if it is made too quickly. To ensure that your initiative is successful, you must develop strategies for implementation. Learn how to identify your institution’s readiness to implement CBE and how you can continue moving your program forward.

Morning Break

9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

Clearing the Path to Accreditation

10:00 - 11:15 a.m.

Learn how the Department of Education (DOE) and other accrediting bodies are addressing CBE models from an accreditation and Title IV funding perspective. With this knowledge, you can more effectively design your programs and prepare for the accreditation approval process.

Preparing Your Financial Aid Team for CBE

11:15 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Learn about the key factors critical to financial aid success for CBE programs, including:

  • Managing a prepared and coordinated team
  • Developing partnerships throughout student services
  • Selecting the right software for your institution
  • Staying on top of regulations and compliance requirements.

Lunch (included in registration fee)

12:30 - 1:45 p.m.

Translating Competencies into Grades and Transcripts

1:45 - 2:45 p.m.

CBE presents a unique challenge regarding student transcripts. When a student leaves your institution, what does their transcript tell employers or other colleges about their performance? In this session, we will explore your institution’s options for grading systems and learning transcription within CBE so that you will gain a better sense of what your institution should be doing to improve this process.


2:45 - 3:00 p.m.

Resourcing Your CBE Program: Staffing and Cost Models

3:00 - 4:15 p.m.

Supporting your CBE program will inevitably require you to change how resources are allocated at your institution. Learn what variables you need to consider and how those variables translate to your institution’s business model. With a special emphasis on staffing and cost models, you will leave with a better understanding of how to properly resource your CBE program.

Principles for CBE Program and Course Design

Methods for Articulating Competencies

4:15 - 5:15 p.m.

Programs built on competencies require an upfront and granular approach to articulating learning throughout the program. We will show you practical methods for articulating and modeling competencies upfront in your design process.

Day 3: Thursday, May 17, 2018


Continental Breakfast (included in registration fee)

8:00 - 8:30 a.m.

Practicing Backward Design Principles

8:30 - 9:45 a.m.

From a curricular perspective, CBE programs begin by assessing the knowledge and skills that students need to display and working backward from there. We will instruct you on how to backward design your CBE program by:

  1. Identifying a list of competencies that students need to develop
  2. Determining how you can help students achieve those competencies

Morning Break

9:45 - 10:00 a.m.

Assessing Student Learning Beyond Tests and Papers

10:00 - 11:00 a.m.

Learn how you can directly assess subsets of competencies by designing learning evaluation exercises that invoke observable behaviors from students. During this working session you will be divided into small groups to brainstorm a series of assessments (instead of traditional tests and papers) that could be used to evaluate student learning. We will end by reviewing how you can use the data from these assessments to identify at-risk students.

Supporting Faculty and Students to Succeed in CBE

11:00 - 11:45 a.m.

Faculty members’ roles change dramatically within the framework of CBE programs. We will discuss the critical role that faculty play in personalized learning, assessing student learning, and coaching to encourage student success. You will gain insights as to how you can engage faculty and ensure that they are comfortable both teaching and supporting students in this new model.

Wrap Up

11:45 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

Lunch for Post-Conference Workshop Attendees (included in workshop registration fee)

12:00 - 1:00 p.m.

Post-Conference Workshop: Translating Experience into College Credit with Prior Learning Assessment (PLA)

1:00 - 4:00 p.m.

To retain and graduate more adult students, institutions are using PLA to award college-level credit for work and life experiences. PLA kick starts student success, provides economic and time benefits, increases student persistence, and encourages lifelong learning by allowing students to engage in a course challenge, take a challenge exam, or present a portfolio to demonstrate his or her mastery of competencies. This workshop will address:

  • How PLA can be designed to translate experiential learning into college credit
  • Defining Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and what it involves
  • Types of PLA
  • How PLA contributes to academic success
  • Multiple approaches to PLA
  • How professional development can help prepare your faculty and administrators

May 15 - 17, 2018
Orange County, CA


Hyatt Regency Orange County
11999 Harbor Blvd
Garden Grove, CA 92840

Room Rate: $159
Room Block Dates: The nights of May 14, 15 and 16, 2018 .
Rate Available Until: April 23, 2018.

Please book early - rooms are limited and subject to availability.

Reserve Your Room: Click the button below or call 714.750.1234. Please indicate that you are with the Academic Impressions group to receive the group rate.


portrait of Josh Greenberg

Josh Greenberg

Business Analyst
Josh has been a business analyst in information technology consulting, manufacturing, and higher education for over 17 years. He specializes in customer focused analysis and making projects solve the right problems. He currently works in higher education where he focuses on student focused solutions and competency based education.

portrait of Cara Harris

Cara Harris

Instructional Design Consultant
Cara Harris has been in higher education for 6 years with the last two and half of those years working for the College of Professional Studies at Lipscomb University as an Instructional Designer where she combined an A.A.S. in Visual Communication and an M.Ed. in Instructional Technology to create quality, visually appealing courses. Cara worked specifically with the college to develop competency-based courses for a new competency-based program that launched in 2016. She worked with the curriculum director and faculty content creators to create courses and was responsible for designing the courses in the learning platform as well making changes and developing a system for continuous improvement. Cara also worked closely with the Curriculum director to develop ongoing trainings for faculty on subjects like backwards design and quality feedback. In addition to her role with the College of Professional Studies, she also worked with the Center for Teaching and Learning at Lipscomb doing internal Quality Matters reviews for online courses.

She is currently taking on contract instructional design roles and consulting. One of her current projects is with GoLong Consulting working to create competency-based online trainings for direct care workers in the state of Tennessee.

portrait of Hope Nordstrom

Hope Nordstrom

Director of Curriculum and Instruction and Assistant Professor
Lipscomb University

As a director, Nordstrom develops curriculum for the competency based education program. She collaborates with other faculty members and clients to develop new programs and courses for university and corporate uses. Additionally, she assists faculty members in implementing best practices for online teaching and learning.

Nordstrom has her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Tennessee Technological University and her Ed.D. from Trevecca Nazarene University. She most recently worked in the College of Education at Lipscomb University as the Director of Advanced M.Ed./Ed.S. Programs and the faculty coordinator of the technology integration program. She came to Lipscomb with 10 years of experience as a middle school language arts teacher. She has also earned an Advanced Online Teaching Certificate from the Online Learning Consortium (OLC). Nordstrom has presented at the local, state, and national level on effective technology integration strategies, online learning, and personalized learning.

portrait of William Pena

William Pena

Associate Vice President, Student Financial Services
Southern New Hampshire University

William leads the University’s financial aid interests relating to emerging and alternative learning models including competency-based education, direct assessment programs and the Department of Education’s Experimental Sites Initiatives. He also oversees the Student Financial Services office serving the students and business partners of College for America.

Prior to Southern New Hampshire University, William served with the University of Wisconsin leading financial aid initiatives for their state-wide portfolio of CBE programs, including obtaining the first federal financial aid approval for a public university offering a direct assessment program. He is also a member of the Competency-Based Education Network and has contributed to the organization’s publications on federal financial aid while also collaborating with accreditors and the U.S. Department of Education on emerging trends and challenges in the CBE space.

William has been in the higher education industry since 2004, serving primarily as a financial aid administrator. He has worked in the for-profit, public and private/nonprofit sectors with specialized focus on federal student aid compliance, alternative learning models and competency-based education programs.

portrait of Sheane Robinson

Sheane Robinson

Business Analyst

Sheane Robinson is a Business Analyst with over 12 years of experience spanning various industries including higher education. She has a passion for using focused facilitation to support her business stakeholders in the areas of process engineering, problem identification, and strategic planning. She combines traditional analysis with creative facilitation to empower business leaders to plan effectively, improve processes, and drive collaboration across their organization.

portrait of Jim Selbe

James Selbe

Selbe Consulting

Jim is a higher education consultant, specializing in online, competency-based education, enrollment growth, and serving student veterans. He served for over seven years as the President of Hopkinsville Community College. Until January 2015, Jim served as the System Director for Distance Learning Initiatives at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS) and guided the development of foundation principles for competency-based online education to be used statewide. Jim was also the director of KCTCS’ online, modularized, competency-based Direct2Degree program (D2D). Jim has had a distinguished career as a college and university administrator for more than 36 years.  Having served at a private liberal arts university, a technical institute, a regional research university, and several community colleges, Jim brings a wealth of knowledge from a variety of higher education sectors. He brings a unique perspective to guide planning and execution with full understanding of the cross-function implications.

Pre-Conference Workshop Only

$395 through May 4$495.00

Learn a framework for maintaining quality in your competency-based education programs.

Save $95 when this workshop is paired with the main conference.

Main Conference

$1,495 through May 4$1,595.00

Take the next steps in developing and implementing competency-based education (CBE) at your institution.


Post-Conference Workshop Only

$395 through May 4$495.00

Learn how to translate experience in to college credit with Prior Learning Assessment (PLA).

Save $95 when this workshop is paired with the main conference.

Can't Attend? Buy the
Conference Binder

Purchase the conference binder, which includes all presentation slides, worksheets, action plans, and additional resources.

Note: Conference attendees do not need to purchase materials separately.

Questions About the Event?

Barry Wilhelm
Program Manager, Academic Impressions

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