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Aurora Institute

What’s New in Competency-Based Higher Education?

CompetencyWorks Blog

Author(s): Natalie Slocum

Issue(s): Issues in Practice, Learn Lessons from the Field

What's NewMovements in CBE

  • Salt Lake Community College’s biotechnology program received an $819,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to further efforts in the area of competency-based education. The biotechnology program has partnered with Nelson Laboratories, BioFire Diagnostics and ARUP Laboratories, three local biotechnology companies that anticipate creating hundreds of new jobs in the next five years, for development of new curriculum.
  • Brandman University’s contribution to innovative programs for higher education business and financial management recently earned it the Innovation Award from the National Association of College and University Business Officers (NACUBO).

Thought Leadership


  • Ellucian, Eduventures and the American Council on Education (ACE) partnered on a three-year study to deconstruct CBE and assess institutional activities, goals and challenges in higher education. Here’s a snapshot of year one findings.
  • Adult learners make up a significant portion of college enrollment over the next ten years, and competency-based education can accommodate this growth and create opportunities for historically underserved populations through continuing education programs.
  • The Inspector General released an audit report evaluating the efforts of a large regional accrediting body, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), to evaluate competency-based programs. The report indicated there were not adequate procedures in place to properly classify competency-based education courses. In a response, the WASC said it doesn’t believe it’s required to classify programs in that way.

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