CBExchange 2022: An Update on KCTCS’s Statewide Approach to CBE

As the afternoon sessions continue at CBExchange 2022, participants had an opportunity to learn from presenter Harmony Little, Executive Director of Credentialing Strategies at Kentucky Community and Technical College System (KCTCS). Little shared an update on KCTCS’s statewide approach to CBE, which Little, Dr. Barbara Endel, and Maggie Snyder presented during last year’s C-BEN conference.

KCTCS is the largest provider of postsecondary education, workforce, training, dual credit classes, and online education in Kentucky. It has 16 colleges with more than 70 campuses that share courses, a catalog, and a commitment to making life better for their students.

Little started with a recap from last year’s conference. In 2019 and 2020, KCTCS received funding from Ascendium Education Group to engage in a comprehensive planning process for the system to consider the adoption of CBE. C-BEN supported their planning process to design what a future educational model could look like; evaluate what would be needed to launch and sustain such a model; and make a recommendation on whether to implement a new model.

More than 100 faculty and staff were involved in the planning process, and in total, more than 200 people were part of the initiative across the system. The process included six phases and culminated in a proposed feasible plan, including 17 recommendations. Read about the process and recommendations at this link.

During the presentation, Little shared that the recommendations created last year were unanimously endorsed by KCTCS leadership. Following their endorsement, KCTCS is now entering an action plan phase. KCTCS is aligning program competencies with employer needs, including developing a process to review, validate, and rewrite competencies and piloting the process with technical curriculum committees.

They are also piloting faculty-driven technical CBE programs, including creating certificates that stack to Associates of Applied Science, making development funds available to faculty, providing professional development, utilizing the Quality Framework for CBE Programs, and developing a marketing strategy to promote CBE.

Because KCTCS is a state-wide system, providing a pilot for CBE requires a nuanced approach. Little shared:

“Because we have a common course catalog and students are attending multiple institutions at once, we need some uniformity across our CBE programs, such as having the same pricing structure for CBE programs, but allow colleges to determine the start times of programs. We are looking at what we need to do at the state level to provide a systemic approach while still allowing autonomy at the campus level.”

KCTCS is also building capacity for CBE implementation. Over the summer, 35 faculty and staff from 10 colleges participated in C-BEN’s backward design workshops, where they identified and worked on at least one stackable certificate. KCTCS also established a CBE steering committee to advance the development of CBE programs.

Little shared the importance of building capacity for scale, stating:

“We don’t want one-off programs. We want to build and scale across the system. We want to have steps set up so that institutions coming aboard have a streamlined path to offering CBE to students.”

Follow this page to stay up-to-date on CBExchange 2022.

About the Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN)

C-BEN is a network of institutions, employers, and experts who believe competencies can unlock the future of learning — making education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. We support stakeholders across the spectrum of competency-based learning, from institutions and employers who want to embed competencies into their existing programs to those looking to design full competency-based degree programs from the ground up. For more information, visit C-BEN.org

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