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ACE Launches National Search for Lifelong Learning Innovator

May 30, 2012

Kresge Foundation Grant, New Vice President to Help ACE Develop Comprehensive National Strategy to Increase the Number of Adults With College Degrees

ACE is searching for an innovative higher education leader as part of a multipronged national initiative to ensure more adults in the United States obtain college degrees.

A Kresge Foundation grant of nearly $600,000 will enable ACE to hire a new vice president for education attainment and innovation who will convene national leaders from across higher education, business and government as part of a multiyear plan that will guide ACE’s efforts to help adult learners gain college degrees.

ACE also is devoting additional grant funding to the initiative and will spend a total of about $1 million on the effort, which aims to propel action on a national scale.

“ACE’s historic commitment to lifelong learning uniquely positions the Council to help our member institutions meet the challenge of developing a bold new national adult learning and attainment agenda,” said ACE President Molly Corbett Broad. “Increasing the number of adults who enter or re-enter school and obtain a college degree is a crucial component of returning the United States to preeminence in postsecondary educational attainment.”

ACE has long led the national movement to recognize and promote adult learning in higher education, from initiatives for returning World War II veterans to the GED® test and other programs that evaluate military and corporate training and courses for college credit recommendations.

“We are looking for a senior education innovator who can map out the requisite components for an adult learning and attainment agenda and ensure that ACE continues to be a trailblazer in the field of lifelong learning,” said Gretchen M. Bataille, ACE senior vice president for Leadership and Lifelong Learning. “Through our partnership with The Kresge Foundation, we are making a powerful statement about the magnitude of this critical issue and the importance of raising its national visibility.”

“The combination of the country’s declining relative stature in higher education attainment and continuing difficulties for older workers to adjust to new economic realities makes ACE’s renewed emphasis on adult education particularly important,” said William F. L. Moses, program director for education at The Kresge Foundation. “In particular, we see great opportunities to harness technology as a way to enhance adult success in postsecondary education.”

As part of this new initiative, ACE will survey existing best practices and devise innovative new methods to help more adult learners gain college degrees.

The Kresge Foundation grant also will allow ACE to award grants to institutions for pilot projects to test new strategies to assist adult learners—from veterans to displaced workers to GED® test completers—in pursuing a postsecondary path.

Other aspects of the initiative will include surveys conducted through ACE’s Center for Policy Analysis on the use of prior learning assessment by higher education institutions, the military, employers and adult learners in obtaining postsecondary credentials, and a series of focus groups with college and university presidents, other academic leaders and adult learner groups to examine how to remove barriers to adult education.

The Kresge Foundation is a $3.0 billion private foundation that seeks to influence the quality of life for future generations through its support of nonprofit organizations in six fields: health, the environment, arts and culture, education, human services and community development. Fostering greater access to and success in postsecondary education for low-income, minority and first-generation college students is the focus of Kresge's Education grantmaking. In 2011, Kresge awarded more than $22 million in grants to support higher education in the United States and South Africa, with half benefiting U.S. community colleges. For more information, please visit the Foundation website: or follow @kresgedu.

MEDIA CONTACT: Jonathan Riskind ▪ 202-939-9453 ▪

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