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Connected Credentials and Competencies: New Insights


February 25, 2016 9:30 AM


The American Council on Education's Center for Education Attainment and Innovation has produced two innovative white papers examining the evolving uses of credentials and competencies to address the needs of our diverse, rapidly changing knowledge economy. This work is part of the Alternative Credit Project, sponsored by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

The white papers analyze two interrelated topics: quality dimensions for connected credentials and communicating the value of competencies. They address how higher education institutions articulate the competencies represented in their credentials and the connections among credentials to increase their value for students, employers, and the institutions themselves.

The current credentialing ecosystem in the United States developed over time to meet the needs of society and economic structures in which often a single credential served an individual well for a stable career over a lifetime. Today there is a proliferation of credentials, as well as rapid growth of innovative educational approaches, but the diversity of credentials and new approaches is not always meeting the needs of students, educational institutions, and employers. There is a lack of shared understanding about what makes credentials valuable, how that value varies across different types of credentials for different stakeholders, what constitutes quality, and how credentials are connected to each other and to opportunities for the people who have earned them.

Scores of experts worked together to address:

  • How employers value and assess students’ competencies

  • The quality dimensions of connected credentials (transparency, modularity, portability, relevance, validity, and equity)

  • How educational institutions can improve their credentials and clearly articulate competencies to provide greater value and meet the needs of stakeholders

On February 25th, 2016, we will convene higher education leaders to join the discussion on connected credentials and competencies at ACE’s conference center. The convening will include an overview of the white papers and a panel discussion with leading experts on these topics. Experts will also answer questions concerning credentials and competencies in higher education. You may register to attend the event in person or virtually by clicking on the green button.


 Opening Remarks by

  • Molly Corbett Broad

    Molly Corbett Broad

    President, Office of the President



  • Deborah M Seymour

    Deb Seymour

    Chief Academic Innovation Officer, American Council on Education

  • Deb Everhart

    Strategic Advisor, American Council on Education

  • Deb Bushway

    Formerly Senior Policy Advisor to the Under Secretary, U.S. Department of Education

  • Marie Cini

    Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, University of Maryland University College

  • Mary Alice McCarthy

    Senior Policy Analyst, New America

  • Evelyn Ganzglass

    Independent Consultant, Corporation for a Skilled Workforce


This event took place Thursday, February 25, 2016. 
Please click below to view a free archive of the event.

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 Event Location


​American Council on Education

Conference Room 1B
1 Dupont Circle, NW
Washington DC, 20036



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