The First Day of the Education Evolution Kicks Off

The first day of the 2014 APSCU Annual Convention and Exposition kicked off with an impressive slate of sessions and speakers. The three-day event, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, includes four plenary sessions, five educational tracks, a learning lounge with several demos and presentations, and plenty of networking opportunities.

The Convention’s Opening General Session began with an award presentation. The Educator of the Year Award was presented to Debra Berglund, of Minnesota School of Business. Debra’s commitment to her students was exemplified in her heartfelt speech in which she reflected on the lessons she has learned as an educator. Berglund’s lessons include:

  1. Be passionate about what you do.
  2. Don’t stop being a student.
  3. Learn from your students. They have new and different ideas or ways of doing something.
  4. Motivate and inspire your students.
  5. Get to know your students.
  6. Remember to give back to your community.

Following the presentation, former U.S. Senator and Nebraska Governor Bob Kerrey discussed innovation in education. Kerrey explained that he doesn’t believe that higher education is simply evolving. For something to evolve, it takes thousands of years. Kerrey believes, that change is indeed happening and it’s exciting to watch, but that the pace is faster than evolution, but slower than he’d prefer.

During the day’s first breakout sessions, Michael Betz, the general manager of military student initiatives at Education Corporation of America, presented a five-year case study on improving and implementing the military student experience.  Betz explained that according to research from the Million Records Project, student veterans persist and graduate at higher rates than other non-traditional students. He encouraged the audience of military and veteran affairs leaders from APSCU institutions to acknowledge this important finding when implementing new programs for military and veteran students.

Some key takeaways included:

  1. Launch a Military Student Center
  2. Provide sensitivity training for all faculty and staff
  3. Develop a student transition component that includes interactions with a military student services coordinator
  4. Develop a one-stop shop for information for military students and their families

Another session featured panelists Steven Klingler, vice chancellor of Argosy University System; Steve Pappageorge, senior vice president of Helix Education and Dr. John King, chief academic officer of Lincoln Educational Services. The higher educational professionals were brought together to have a robust conversation on navigating the waters of competency-based education.

One of the most profound challenges of competency-based education, CBE, lies merely in its definition. Ultimately, among private sector institutions, CBE is education focused on outcomes where curriculum is developed to help learners achieve mastery in skills or competencies.

While designing a CBE program takes an extremely dedicated team of individuals, the panelists, who have all had experience working and implementing a CBE program, explained that it’s important to strike the perfect balance between meeting students’ needs and the employers’ needs.

Stay tuned for more updates from the 2014 APSCU Convention and Exposition.


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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.