Four higher education organizations are joining together to host a June event focused on state and federal policy trends impacting higher education. The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), and the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) have partnered to address policy issues that are vital for adult and non-traditional students that now constitute more than 80% of today’s post-secondary learners. This is the first time these four organizations have joined together to focus on policy related to online and adult learners.
The Policy Track at the 2018 Summit for Online Leadership and Administration (SOLA+R) will include speakers from the Washington D.C. policy community, including experts on a number of issues like Net Neutrality, workforce policy, Open Educational Resources (OER), congressional action on reauthorization of HEA, and state trends. There will also be a working session during the event where attendees will help shape a shared agenda on topics of importance. The organizations will then create an advocacy brief from these working sessions and input from the partnering organizations.
“Policy is such an important aspect of serving the adult learner,” Bob Hansen, CEO of UPCEA said. “Issues at the federal and state level impact how institutions operate and integrate adults into their programs, which is why this focus at the Summit is so important, and this partnership strengthens the impact of these efforts.”
“There is nothing more impactful for the adult learner than to remove structural and financial barriers to learning and credential attainment — and policy change is an important way to do that,” adds Pamela Tate, President and CEO of CAEL. “This Summit is pushing the boundaries of how we think about educational policy change — from technology infrastructure to support for innovative cost-saving strategies.”
“Policy remains an important issue for the adult learner population, which is why it is important for us to join with our partners in participating in the Summit,” said Kathleen S. Ives, DM, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director, Online Learning Consortium. “We are committed to educating our members and keeping them current with what is happening at both the federal and state level, and how it may impact institutions.”
“Innovation inevitably outstrips policy…and always will,” according to Russ Poulin, Director of Policy & Analysis for WCET-the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. “The partners in this Summit envision a space that will help attendees find pathways to manage existing policies, while informing and developing strategies that encourage new ways to support learners.”