Competency-Based Education Network Appoints Dr. Laurie Dodge as First Leader of Quality Assurance and Accreditation

C-BEN expands staff, membership, and offerings to meet the growing needs of higher education leaders and employers

NASHVILLE, TN (April 4, 2023) — The Competency-Based Education Network (C-BEN) announced today the hiring of Dr. Laurie Dodge as the organization’s first Vice President of Quality Assurance and Accreditation. Dodge’s appointment is part of a significant expansion of the organization, a nonprofit committed to supporting higher education leaders and institutions working to meet the nation’s talent needs and the needs of their students through competency- based education (CBE), at a time when employers are seeking high-quality applicants with specific skills.

Dodge comes to C-BEN after more than three decades at leading higher education institutions, most recently serving as the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Global (UMass Global).

“As the founding chair of C-BEN’s board of directors and a long-standing member of the network, joining the organization in a leadership role is like coming home,” Dodge said. “After overseeing program assessment, planning, and accreditation for a leading competency-based higher education institution, I’m excited to advance C-BEN’s work to ensure quality outcomes for learners everywhere.”

C-BEN also announced three additional key hires to offer more robust support to colleges, universities, and employers in the U.S. and abroad. C-BEN supports institutions as they implement CBE models to ensure all learners can earn credentials that demonstrate mastery of the skills, knowledge, and behaviors required to thrive in their lives and chosen careers.

This growth comes at a pivotal moment for the organization, the higher education landscape, and the future of work. Employers in nursing, business, technology, and other high-demand fields are moving towards “skills-based hiring” as they seek out applicants who can demonstrate the competencies they need.

Simultaneously, colleges and universities are seeking new approaches to engage today’s diverse learners. A national survey found that 82% of higher education institutions expressed optimism about CBE’s growth.

C-BEN’s members include leading higher education institutions, state education systems and workforce programs, and corporations and nonprofits seeking to embed competencies into their existing programs or design full competency-based degree programs.

“We are seeing rapid expansion, with over 1,000 programs reported and 64% of institutions planning to increase their CBE offerings. Our staff is growing to serve this national need,” said Charla Long, President of C-BEN. “Now is the time for learner-centered, competency-based programs, and we’re ready to equip our members to meet this moment.”

On April 5, 2023, C-BEN will also open registration for CBExchange 2023, the foremost conference on CBE, where leaders from hundreds of institutions will gather to share best practices on building and scaling high-quality CBE programs.

New C-BEN Staff

  • Laurie Dodge, C-BEN Vice President of Quality Assurance and Accreditation. Laurie comes to C-BEN after 30 years at the University of Massachusetts Global, formerly Brandman University. In her role, she will work with institutions to lead the development of high-quality, accountable education and training systems for learners and employees, and serve as a liaison to accrediting bodies.
  • Tiffany Freeze, C-BEN Vice President of Consulting Services. Tiffany joins C-BEN after six years as Chief Assessment Officer at The QuILTSS Institute. She has previously served as a consultant for C-BEN, overseeing its work in early childhood education in Illinois. In her new role, she will partner with institutions on customized training and development solutions.
  • Brenda Young, C-BEN Director of Community Engagement. Brenda joins C-BEN as a proven leader in nonprofit membership development, previously working with the Make- A-Wish Foundation and Boise Art Museum. In her work with C-BEN, she’ll support the growth and engagement of C-BEN’s diverse member network.
  • Ryan Specht-Boardman, C-BEN CBE Consultant. Ryan comes to C-BEN after seven years as a Program Manager in the University of Wisconsin system. He brings with him a wealth of experience in CBE pedagogy and operations to support C-BEN in its mission to help institutions develop and implement CBE programs.

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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