June 12th, 2019
Exhibitors Hall
Registration & Networking:
4:00 – 8:00 PM
Pre-Conference Workshop:
5:00 – 7:00 PM
CBE101: How to set up and sustain your CBE program

Come participate in an interactive, hands-on workshop led by nationally renowned experts in CBE who pioneered the first successful CBE programs in Texas!

Dr. Emma Miller
Dr. Ali Esmaeili
South Texas College

James Fountain
Carlos Rivers
Texas A&M University–Commerce


June 13th, 2019
Exhibitors Hall
Registration and Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:15 am
Phoenix Central
OPENING PLENARY: 8:15 – 9:30 am

Are you Ready for the Future?

Julian Alvarez III
Commissioner Representing Labor, Texas Workforce Commission

Using new and innovative pedagogies, the Texas Workforce Commission is upskilling new and incumbent workers and preparing students for the future workforce.

Session 1: 9:45 – 10:45 am
VCT: What’s Next on the Horizon?

Virtual College of Texas is a consortium that supports digital learning and innovation at Texas public community colleges. This presentation will provide an overview of VCT’s history and services and then share VCT’s new strategic plan, including implementing support for open educational resources and other innovations in instruction and learning in higher education.

Judith Sebesta
Virtual College of Texas

Curriculum Mapping for Core Curriculum: A Look at MATH 1332 Contemporary Mathematics

In education having a clear path for curriculum is an important tool that helps administrators, faculty, and students understand the “what”, “how”, and “why” aspects. Having a clear curriculum map shows not only the administrators and the instructors “what” is being taught, it also enlightens the “how” and “why” components. In this session attendees will be provided an overview of the process used to develop the curriculum map for the MATH 1332 Contemporary Mathematics course for the Texas A&M University – Commerce’s TAB CBE program. This will be followed with discussions on the procedures used to ensure both state coordinating board and university course learning outcomes were met through the development of the curriculum mapping.

George Swindell
Texas A&M University–Commerce

Development of Air Force Foundational Competencies

This session will describe the process used to create universal competencies for all personnel in the United States Air Force. As the Air Force shifts to competency based learning and development, there is a need to establish a core set of competencies that lay the foundation for all uniformed and civilian members to grow and succeed. Over the past year, the Foundational Competencies Team has developed and validated a set of behavior based competencies to fill this requirement. This presentation will outline the processes utilized, and look at how the Air Force will use these competencies in future personnel development.

Lt. Col. Paul Kulpa
Dr. Alex Barelka
United States Air Force

Negotiated Rulemaking is over—now what?

Are you interested in higher education public policy? Did you ever wonder why and how colleges implement higher education laws? Learn about the history and hierarchy of the federal statutory Higher Education Act (HEA) and other higher education legislation, the federal regulatory process, and the concept of negotiated rulemaking. Recently, the U.S. Department of Education reached “consensus” on a plethora of regulatory issues on Accreditation and Innovation – learn more about the current Neg Reg process, outcomes, and next steps. Learn about the recent White House Executive Order on Improving Free Inquiry, Transparency, and Accountability at Colleges and Universities, the FY20 federal budget proposal for higher education administration, and recent legislative activities related to the HEA reauthorization. This session will provide a high-level public policy overview, in plain language, and is willing to get into the weeds with ample time for questions and answers.

Bob Collins
Western Governors University

Session 2: 11:00 AM – NOON
Perusall: A formative Assessment tool that Develops Faculty / Student Engagement

This workshop trains faculty on the use of the Persusall platform. Participants with Internet access will be able to log into the program during the presentation. Attendees will learn how to create a Perusall course, identify management tools in a Perusall course, and utilize Perusall analytical tools. Perusall automatically generates optimal student groupings and social interactions, and grades students’ engagement to ensure they are prepared for class. This free software tool is helpful for formative assessments in competency based courses.

Scott Mann
Jorge Valenzuela
El Paso Community College

Design and Implement Competency Based Education “Live Course Demo”

South Texas College and Austin Community College developed a fully online, Competency-Based Education (CBE) program for the Bachelors of Applied Technology in Computer and Information Technologies (BAT-CIT). The Advanced Networking course in this demo is part of the CBE program. This course is composed of four competencies: Networking Fundamentals, LAN Switching, Routing Protocols, and Network Infrastructure Services. Through a live course demonstration, we will explore course design, competencies, course policies, assessments, learning outcomes, online faculty-student interaction, and rubrics.

Nicholas Hinojosa
Saeed Molki
South Texas College

Eliminating Competency Gaps and Redundancies with “Maker Moments”

With today’s near immediate access to new information and technologies, individual courses and degree programs have opportunities to iteratively innovate on content, design, and technology. However, doing so is challenging with students and instructors from varying backgrounds and experiences. Knowledge gaps across diverse backgrounds can surface for students and instructors while refreshing content. Attempt to address these knowledge gaps ad hoc can result in redundancies in the curriculum, and lost time in more advanced topics.

The solution? Maker moments! These are based on the idea of makerspaces, experiential and collaborative spaces meant for hands on exploration. Each “moment” targets a narrowly defined competency, making them feasible targets for instructors and students alike. Maker moments may be included at the beginning of a curriculum or course, or as a filler or refresher. Students build a tangible piece of content that can then be incorporated into a larger lab or project. Benefits of this approach are to

  1. provide students with the necessary background for higher-level topics,
  2. allow instructors to more easily refresh their courses each semester, and
  3. streamline and optimize the curriculum as a whole.

We hypothesize that the student population on average will graduate with more advanced hands-on skills and competencies.

In this session, we will look at how “maker moments” can address the types of gaps and redundancies that can occur in a curriculum, and brainstorm maker moments that help students achieve some fluency and build confidence at their own pace.

Rita Mitra
University of Texas at San Antonio

Lightning Talks
What can research do for me?

What can research do for me? Getting to know the research in CBE & related approaches

How can research be helpful to program leaders and faculty building innovative programs and testing new practices for learners? How can it be helpful for learners? What resources exist already, and what’s in progress? This lightning talk will take an engaging approach to:

  • (1) sharing the research agenda for CBE and related competency-based learning approaches and
  • (2) inviting participants to inform and contribute to the research agenda to build an evidence base about what works to support learners’ success.

Kelle Parsons
American Institutes for Research (AIR)

How early is too early?

How Early is Too Early? The Assessment of Early College High School Cohorts

Much has been written about the college readiness of Early College High School (ECHS) students. In terms of readiness of ECHS students, several things should be considered from accountability measures to expectations and experiences. When we think about the state of traditional high school students versus Early College High school students, the overall objective is to increase the number of graduates and ensure the preparation of post-secondary education. If we examine the current model on some college campuses, data suggest that pass rates for courses, graduation, and even transfer rates are not as projected. Why? We have expanded access to include first-generation college students and in terms of constructs, how does competency-based education fit and how can it be assessed?

Jennifer Cameron
Central Texas College

Phoenix Central
Plenary Panel and Lunch: Noon – 1:30 PM

Authentic success stories of competency-based education

Plenary Panel
Session 3: 1:30 – 2:30 PM
Key Elements to Successful Collaboration in Competency-Based Curriculum Development

Austin Community College has successfully launched two CBE programs and developed more than 60 CBE courses in the past five years. This presentation introduces the CBE curriculum development model and the key elements to successful collaboration in competency-based curriculum development. The purpose for this presentation is to help audience be able to adapt the model and elements to their own CBE curriculum development.

Dr. Ninghua Han
Dr. Erasmus Addae
Austin Community College

Tackling the faculty learning curve: Training and open communication with CBE educators

Institutions ask a great deal of faculty during the transition from traditional programs to CBE, particularly if the CBE faculty model is disaggregated. This presentation is a case study of Rasmussen College’s change journey from traditional learning to CBE for 15 academic programs and their faculty. Designing a self-paced program doesn’t mean human collaboration must vanish. Just as we give learners opportunities to work in diverse groups, perspective-take, and solve problems; we can do the same with faculty during the CBE training process – and the ongoing conversations about the successes and anxieties surrounding the transition.

Brooks Doherty
Rasmussen College

Playing to Learn! Using Sandboxes and Support for Professional Development

Faculty need help to learn how to use Blackboard. What better place to experiment than a sandbox? We all remember the fun of playing as a child. A sandbox invokes memories of somewhere safe to play. At UTSA, we plan Blackboard professional development for faculty using support data. Then, as part of the training process, we create a sandbox course in Blackboard to help them continue self-directed learning after training sessions. One sandbox lasts as long as the professor needs it. We add more “sand,” by adding content related to each training session.

After a quick look at support data, join our Instructional Designer/Trainer/Support Lead as she uses CourseSites to conduct a training. Learn how to set up resources that can be added easily to sandboxes to promote self-learning. Experience first-hand the hands-on training using your laptop, tablet or phone. Just like students, log in from anywhere! Participants will create content as they follow along. Learn how we follow up with faculty to encourage them to continue learning. Join the discussion after the mini training to collaborate on ways to implement, change, or improve the process. Please create an account on before the session.

Laura Sheehy
University of Texas at San Antonio

Honors Projects: A Gate to Introduce Research-Based Projects in Community College Students—A Case Study in Computing Courses

El Paso Community College (EPCC) offers Honors Projects for current enrolled students, allowing them to enhance their participation in classes through additional relevant course-related work. Faculty has the decision to assign these honors projects and topics, depending on the student interests and based on the course’ scope. Degrees plans, such as Computer Science, have a series of sequential courses that students must take consecutively before they transfer to a four-year institution (e.g., CS 1 before CS 2, CS 2 before CS 3, CISCO I before CISCO 2), allowing the student to plan their class schedules before transfer.
Instructors from the computing program, are encouraging to promote Honors Projects and Enhanced Honors Projects to students who would be interested in developing a project through the semester. Due to the strongest consecutive course dependency at the associate degree, faculty can work with students through longer time periods such as a one-year or three semesters, on relevant honors projects that include research components.
In this presentation, we report the Honors Project Model that has been implemented at EPCC, in particular in the areas of computing, that allows students to design, implement, and test selected projects through a time period of a year, that has led to research projects. We provide examples of such projects, and the value achieved by the students once they finished their AA in Computer Science and transfer to a four-year institution.

Christian Servin
El Paso Community College

Session 4: 2:45 – 3:45 PM
What's going on across the country? Findings from the National Survey of Postsecondary CBE

What is the state of the field nationally when it comes to CBE and related innovations in teaching and learning? In this session, American Institutes for Research (AIR) will share findings from the 2018 National Survey of Postsecondary CBE, which includes data from 501 responding institutions about CBE interest, adoption and implementation, as well as barriers and expectations about the future. In this interactive session, participants will have time to reflect on and discuss the major findings, and consider what dynamics they think might be affecting the results, and discuss implications for their work at their own institutions.

Kelle Parsons
American Institutes for Research

A Collaborative Approach to Creating a CBE Handbook

The purpose of this presentation is to share progress and solicit the input of colleagues in the elaboration of a handbook on the planning, creation, and implementation of competency-based academic and workforce programs. The presenter has received a grant to write this handbook and appreciates the opportunity provided by this Conference to benefit from the input of his colleagues.

Building a High Quality Competency-Based Assessment System

(abstract to be posted)

Dr. Jason L. Meyers
Western Governors University

Dr. Jamey Heit

Making a *REAL* Connection with Your Students

Discuss the importance of making a personal connection with students. Provide tips and strategies for those who support student services and work directly with students. Also, will describe various methods of how to equip students with various resources that they may utilize and lead to success. REAL is an acronym I created which stands for:

  • Realistic
  • Encouraging
  • Available
  • Listen.

All of these characteristics are key in supporting students.

Judy L. Arriaga
Austin Community College

Session 5: 4:00 – 5:00 PM
Creating and sustaining competency-based learning programs

Competency-based education (CBE) models have gained a lot of attention over the past few years. Although CBE has been around on a small scale for many years, today over 600 colleges are actively exploring creating such programs. What does it take to create and sustain a successful competency-based education program? Which models are the most effective? Where can I gather more useful resources and information on the subject?

This panel will explore the topic of creating and sustaining competency-based learning programs with representatives from Texas A&M University-Commerce open to sharing tips, strategies, tactics, and lessons learned.


Michael Moore

James Fountain
Carlos Rivers
Texas A&M University–Commerce

Beyond Traditional Mentorship: New Ways to Empower Students to Succeed

Not very long ago, educators took a traditional instructional role and students relied on textbooks and intuition for the guidance they needed to navigate their career paths. Now with the broader scope of faculty roles and the latest technology, students have an abundance of options when it comes to maximizing their potential. In this session, learn how your institution can best utilize the role of faculty in student success, alumni who want to give back to the university community, and staff who want to empower students’ careers.

George Swindell
Texas A&M University–Commerce

Joanne Lacsina

Curriculum Planning: Creating the ‘Good Bones’ of a Viable CBE Program

Competency-based education is fundamentally different from traditional learning models primarily due to its focus on content mastery rather than time-to-learn. Developing competency-based education programs is time intensive and challenges institutions of higher education to embrace more student-focused, outcomes-based approaches to teaching and learning. Developing perspective around curriculum development for both new programming and conversions of existing programs is critical to successful planning and implementation of CBE models in higher education. Online course development for competency-based education, in particular, requires “regular and substantive interactions” (Higher Education Act) as a key component for improving the quality of student learning, outcomes and overall satisfaction. Creating a framework that supports student participation, necessary faculty professional learning, and fidelity of implementation are crucial to the success of CBE. Such integral planning creates the ‘good bones’ of a viable CBE program. In this session, learn more about the curriculum planning approach currently being implemented in Marian University’s MPath Flexible Program and how you might utilize a similar process at your institution.

Polly Manske
Marian University

There is an "US" in Syllabus

Advisors frequently assist students to navigate between curricular and co-curricular concerns, and an advising syllabus is one way to close the gap between the two. Additionally, advising is one of the few resources students find consistent from semester to semester. Oftentimes, advisors model and teach life and professional skills that support students’ academic success. Generally, most advising syllabi have eight main components, and can include calendars of advising events and appointment times. This session will focus on creating an advising syllabus to help advisors better connect with their students.
What does this description of teaching imply about advising? “I suggest that an excellent advisor does the same for the student’s entire curriculum that the excellent teacher does for one course” (Lowenstein, 2000)

Lowenstein, M. (2000). Academic advising and the “logic” of the curriculum. The Mentor, 2 (2), Retrieved April 10, 2019, from


Reception: 6:00 – 7:30 PM


June 14th, 2019
Exhibitors Hall
Breakfast: 7:30 – 8:15 AM
Phoenix Central
MorninG PLENARY: 8:15 – 9:30 AM

The New Digital Divide in a Work+Learn Future

Dr. Parminder K. Jassal
Work + Learn Futures Group Director
When imagining the future we often assume things will keep moving in the direction they have been in the recent past.  The Institute for the Future helps infuse the present with visions of transformative possibilities. Dr. Jassal will lead a futures expedition to explore a merged work + learn future.
Session 6: 9:45 – 10:45 AM
Competency-Based Education: The Return on Investment for both Students and Institutions

As new education models emerge in the higher education landscape, constituents and stakeholders increasingly demand greater evidence of the return on investment to both students and the institution. The purpose of this presentation is twofold. First, the presentation will show a program performance comparison of two completer degree programs targeting adult learners. The comparison analyses key student success metrics including student enrollment, retention and graduation rates, as well as other data points such as time-to-degree, cost-to-degree and student debt scenarios for both a CBE program and a comparable traditional program. Second, the presentation will highlight both revenues and expenses associated with launching competency-based programs, and forecast timelines for projecting a return on investment. The findings of this presentation suggest that the CBE program results in higher performance across all key performance indicators for the adult learner population. The results also support the notion that institutions should expect a competency-based program of this type to break-even by the fifth year of operation and a strong long-term financial outlook. While further research is needed, this presentation adds to the limited body of knowledge to understand both the return on investment for both student and institutions alike.

Carlos Rivers
James Fountain
Texas A&M University–Commerce

How to Execute Higher Education Innovation Projects at Scale

Generating innovative ideas is only the beginning; it’s in the execution of those ideas that teams can stumble. The Texas OnRamps Project Management (PM) Methodology was developed to help realize OnRamps’ overarching program mission: to increase the number and diversity of students who experience college-level learning experiences aligned with the expectations of leading research universities. Informed by evidence-based project management principles and best practices, the seven-phase methodology provides a framework for achieving goals and executing work from start to finish within a rapidly scaling innovation context. In this session, the facilitators will equip attendees with a framework for executing high-quality, cross-team higher education innovation projects at scale.

Emily Wade
Annie Biggs
Texas OnRamps, University of Texas at Austin

More than Sitting on their Hands: How to Engage Faculty and Staff while Enriching CBE Programs

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor (UMHB) offers two fully accredited CBE bachelor degree programs as well as a Teaching Alternative Certification program (Teaching MyWay). MyWay at UMHB is a $3000, all-you-can-master, six-month subscription CBE program that launched in August of 2016. Join the program’s CBE team for a discussion about how they have implemented professional development within the alternative modes of delivery department. The CBE team will also lead an extensive Q & A session on best practices from session participants’ institutions, culminating in a collaborative list that will be disseminated upon request.

Pedagogical Tools of CBE: Modifying Instructional Practices and Expanding Horizons

As you implement CBE programs you will be modifying traditional and creating new instructional and assessment practices. In this session we will review key pedagogical strategies used in the delivery of competency-based education. To aid in this process, the beginning of this session will consist of a short high-level presentation of the larger historical context of this change in the education system. Some of the areas of instruction to be addressed include teaching to competencies, formative assessment, grading, and the role of collaborative work with students.

Dr. Craig Schieber
City University of Seattle

Session 7: 11:00 AM – Noon
Student Orientation for Competency Based Programs

Creating an orientation, and iterating on that orientation to find the right fit for your new competency-based program is essential. Every learning community and program is a little different from one another, but there are some lessons to be learned from experiences at other institutions. Texas A&M University- Commerce’s experiences will be the starting point of a larger discussion of the different efficient and effective modalities available for this process. Best practices, as well as strengths and weaknesses of each approach will also be discussed based on the information and experience gathered in the first five years of the program.

Robert Brown
Texas A&M University–Commerce

Bridging the Disaggregated Faculty Model to Design and Develop High-Quality Master CBE Courses for 30,000 Students (using OER)

Objective: To share our experiences and lessons learned as well as learn from others who have faced similar challenges developing and implementing master CBE courses.

Significance: Our challenge is scaling high-quality, high-enrollment business core CBE course experiences that serve the needs of all learners and stakeholders.

Description: In 2018, work began on five business core course redevelopment projects. Analysis indicated opportunities for improvement including: 1) implementing modular design, 2) improving cross-functional collaboration, 3) using OER content 4) ensuring ADA compliance, and 5) improving student outcomes. Cross-functional collaboration enabled the teams to bridge the disaggregated faculty model divide and improve alignment between the course objectives, content, and assessment. The modular design and use of OER allows WGU to make data-driven decisions to continuously improve these courses. An analysis of student engagement in the courses will be shared. This ongoing evaluation informs WGU stakeholders how students are engaging with the course resources as they master course competencies which helps WGU to improve student motivation and success. What did we learn? What are the critical elements of CBE? What would we do differently? How are we making even more improvements? Come join the conversation.

Kathy Ebert
Ningchun Han
Peg Williams

Western Governors University

Development of “Soft Skill” Competencies Through Entry-Level Job Experience

Objective: Present results from a survey of technical training instructors and first-line supervisors of entry-level employees from diverse occupations (including aircraft mechanics, security, medical support) on development of employer-valued “soft skill” competencies during initial occupational training and entry-level jobs.

Description: This session will describe validation of the Air Force institutional competency model which defines organizational expectations for “soft skill” competency proficiency for all personnel, regardless of occupation. We provide a brief overview of Air Force entry-level training and placement into occupational career fields. We then describe research to obtain input from technical training instructors and first-line supervisors of recent Air Force accessions to identify potential gaps in the level of institutional competency proficiency expected of their students and supervisees. We present results on the extent to which new enlistees demonstrated proficiency on each of the institutional competencies (a) on Day 1 of their occupational training program, (b) upon graduation (immediately before their initial duty assignment), and (c) after four years on-the-job (first-term enlistment). We compare the extent of longitudinal development on each of the institutional competencies, identifying commonalities across occupations.

Laura Barron
Imelda Aguilar
United States Air Force

Phoenix Central
Closing Remarks and Box Lunch: Noon – 1:30 PM