In January 2014, Texas A&M University-Commerce launched the Texas Affordable Baccalaureate (TAB) Program, a BAAS in Organizational Leadership, the state’s first competency-based bachelor level degree program. In 2015, the 60x30TX initiative tasked all Texas colleges and universities with promoting student success through focus upon educating and empowering the next generation of citizens and employees. The strategy targets Texas residents who are mainly aged 25-34. It seeks to have at least 60% of Texans graduate with either a certificate or degree by 2030. 60x30TX’s chances for success depend upon attracting new learners, ones that might already be on a career path, but need further education for advancement. Or perhaps they have already done some higher education, but are looking for ways to leverage what credits and skills they currently possess.
These “new traditional” learners have unique needs and issues that have customarily impeded them from achieving educational and career goals. As such, the state of Texas has recognized how important building the next generation of Texan is going to be for the economic and social destiny of the state.
A&M-Commerce’s embrace of innovative education programs and technology to address the needs of the 60x30TX initiative set it apart. The University helped pioneer blended learning and flexible models such as competency-based education (CBE). CBE and Prior Learning Assessment (PLA), as well as leveraging predictive analytics are all recommended by the state initiative [source] as a means of helping students to persist through and succeed in their education.
While CBE is a heavy lift in the initial stages, the rewards to students are numerous and tangible, as we hope this story will reveal.