The Lumina Foundation recently awarded a three-year, $1.2 million grant to UW System to create a blueprint for replicating the creation of a competency-based approach to higher education. The grant project will chronicle the creation of and evaluate the impact of the UW Flexible Option, a self-paced, competency-based way to earn a degree or certification. UW Flexible Option is a joint undertaking of UW-Extension and UW System.
Rebecca Karoff will serve as the lead investigator for the grant. A senior special assistant in the UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs, Karoff has been working on the development of the Flexible Option since fall 2012. Karoff will direct all grant project activities, including developing a blueprint for other university systems to build similar programs. She will also hire and supervise grant staff, including a project manager, data analyst, part-time administrative assistant and two half-time graduate students. Other principal investigators include UW-Extension Interim Provost and Vice Chancellor Aaron Brower, UW-Extension Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning Dean David Schejbal, and UW System Senior Vice President Mark Nook.
“The Lumina Foundation recognizes the game-changing potential of the UW Flexible Option – and other programs that could be modeled after it – to help reach the foundation’s goal of by 2025 increasing to 60 percent the number of Americans with high-quality college degrees, certificates and other credentials,” Karoff said. “In fact, higher education institutions and policy-makers across the country are watching closely, and the faculty and staff at UW-Extension, UW Colleges and UW-Milwaukee working to mount Flex should be really proud of the work they are doing.”
Additional details are provided in the news release.