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National Network Devoted To Expanding Competency-based Learning Appoints Seasoned Higher Ed Innovator

Dr. Amber Garrison Duncan joins C-BEN as Executive Vice President to help meet increased interest and growth in flexible, learner-centric model of education

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 23, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- The Competency-based Education Network (C-BEN), the nation's largest non-profit organization devoted to focusing education on what learners know and can do, announced today the appointment of Dr. Amber Garrison Duncan as its first-ever executive vice president. With two decades of experience across higher education and philanthropy, Dr. Garrison Duncan will help the organization meet the rising demand to expand and grow competency-based learning models across the country. She begins her new role on October 4.

"The pandemic and its impact on our economy have demonstrated the need for learning to center around competencies, in order to equitably expand the promise of higher education. Now, more than ever, institutions and employers are beginning to recognize the need to walk the walk,'' said Charla Long, president of C-BEN. "Amber's leadership, experience, and knowledge will be critical to meeting this moment of change--supporting colleges, universities, and employers as they embrace and implement competency-based learning."

Demand for competency-based education (CBE) has continued to grow. The recently released American Institutes for Research's 2020 National Survey of Postsecondary Competency-Based Education found that more than 82% of higher education respondents expect CBE to grow nationally over the next five years. In particular, leaders highlighted a shift underway in the higher education landscape, noting the potential of CBE to help students successfully navigate the ever-changing future of work.

Dr. Garrison Duncan brings a track record of success in and commitment to improving educational quality, equity and learning outcomes for all students. In her new role, she will provide strategic and operational leadership to expand C-BEN's work as an innovation network and membership-based organization focused on student outcomes.

"C-BEN is uniquely positioned to advance a truly learner-centric model that creates new, more equitable opportunities for economic mobility across our nation," said Dr. Garrison Duncan. "I'm delighted to have this opportunity to further scale the promise of competency-based learning, to help all learners attain their personal and professional goals."

Previously Dr. Garrison Duncan served as Strategy Director at the Lumina Foundation, where she oversaw a project portfolio driving innovative higher education policies and practices to better serve non-traditional students, especially within underserved populations. Prior to Lumina, she served in senior student affairs and services roles across a range of higher education institutions, including the University of Oregon and the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.

About C-BENC-BEN is a network of institutions, employers, and experts who believe competencies can unlock the future of learning — making postsecondary education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. We support stakeholders across the spectrum of competency-based learning, from institutions and employers who want to embed competencies into their existing programs to those looking to design full competency-based degree programs from the ground up. Across all our work, our aim is to make education and training more flexible, responsive, and valuable. For more information, visit .

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