Competency-based Education:
A Blueprint for Success

In September 2013, the UW System received a $1.2 million grant from Lumina Foundation to both evaluate and relate the story of the UW Flexible Option, an innovative, competency-based educational program offered through a collaboration between UW-Extension and a number of UW institutions.

The University of Wisconsin Flexible Option provides a personalized, convenient, and affordable way for adults and other nontraditional students to earn a University of Wisconsin degree or certificate while balancing work, family, and other commitments. Programs are offered by partnering UW System institutions in the self-paced, competency-based UW Flexible Option format. Read more.

The charge of the Lumina Grant Project Team is to chronicle and develop a process guide for how a large public higher education system conceptualizes, develops, implements, and delivers a flexible, competency-based educational program for non-traditional, adult learners. The UW System is using Lumina funding to:

  • Develop a website as a resource for policy-makers, higher education leaders, and frontline staff
  • Identify metrics and collect data through interviews with stakeholders from UW-Extension, UW System Administration, UW-Milwaukee, UW Colleges, and other UW institutions participating in the UW Flexible Option
  • Document the academic, operational, budgetary, communications, and policy infrastructures necessary to offering competency-based education
  • Disseminate findings through trade publications, national conferences, webinars, and videos, in conjunction with the UW Flex staff

Lumina Foundation is an independent, private foundation committed to increasing the proportion of Americans with high-quality degrees, certificates, and other credentials to 60 percent by 2025. Lumina’s outcomes-based approach focuses on helping to design and build an accessible, responsive, and accountable higher education system while fostering a national sense of urgency for action to achieve Goal 2025. For details, visit Lumina Foundation.

The Lumina Grant of the UW  Flexible Option team currently consists of two staff members. Meet the staff.