Eight Innovative Ideas That Came Out of the 2014 APSCU Convention

The 2014 APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition included five keynote speakers, several hundred exhibitors, and dozens of breakout sessions, all energized around one theme: the education evolution. During the many facets of the Convention, there were eight ideas that regularly emerged about how best to innovate and collaborate in postsecondary education:

  1. The terms 'military-friendly' and 'veteran-friendly' are upheld through a framework that promotes transparency, compliance and support for student veterans, student servicemembers and their families.
    "Defining Military-Friendly and Veteran-Friendly: A Blueprint for Sector Success"

    2014 Convention attendees
  2. There is a strong need to demonstrate value of competency-based programs to students, employers and politicians. The best way to do this is through direct assessment of the program which will define competencies, survey employers to validate the competencies, and empirically demonstrate validity and reliability of competency-based learning.
    "Innovations in Direct/Competency-Based Assessment and Learning to Ensure Employability"

  3. The role of innovation in the next generation of higher education will be all about knowledge-sharing and acquiring a deeper understanding of the students that institutions will serve.
    "The Value of Innovation in Higher Education" – Leslie Sanchez

  4. We must empower people to make choices about their education. We need to embrace the digital revolution and move towards customized learning. Allow students to learn at their own pace through competency-based education.
    "Leading in a Climate of Change" – former Governor Jeb Bush

    Charlie Cook
  5. Millennial voters don't hate government, but they don't love government. Their impression is that government doesn't work well after witnessing the Administrations of Bush and Obama, so they are more are willing to consider private sector options, but social issues are deal-breakers for this demographic.
    "A Political Outlook from Charlie Cook" – Charlie Cook

  6. By 2022, the United States will fall short by 11 million of the necessary number of workers with postsecondary education. In terms of the Workforce Investment Act, it's important for institutions to connect with the workforce boards in their local communities and states to collaborate on shared goals and make sure their voices are heard.
    "Workforce Investment Act"

  7. Open badges help standardize specific student achievements, but help provide more transparency for employers and their needs, as well as customization for students. Open badges should originate from a recognized brand, require some form of rigor in the subject, and should represent marketable skills.
    "From College to Careers: Sharing Competencies through Open Badges"

  8. The stigma associated with vocational or technical training lies in tension between young people who are pro-education and the older generations who only want to invest in what will benefit them, while business is caught in the middle of that tension.
    "The Value of Innovation in Higher Education" – Dr. Marci Rossell

Overall, some of the most recurring themes throughout the convention emphasized collaboration between institutions and employers, lifted-up the various ways to implement a competency-based education program, and how institutions can translate curriculum and employer efforts into measurable outcomes.

The 2015 APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition will be held in Denver, Colorado on June 2-5. Stay tuned for more updates on next year's event.



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PSCUs open doors to many of the 9 million unemployed and 90 million undereducated Americans by providing a skills-based education. To remain competitive over the next decade, we must identify between 8 and 23 million new workers with postsecondary skills. PSCUs are a necessary part of that solution, having produced over 800,000 degrees last year alone.