WASHINGTON—Lumina Foundation is convening a new Quality Credentials Task Force comprising 20 leaders in education, policy, and workforce development to explore new ways to assure the quality of a college education and other forms of learning beyond high school. The group will meet periodically, starting with a two-day launch meeting that begins today.

The task force will inform Lumina’s strategic thinking on the rapidly changing environments for work and learning. The group will explore the implications of these changes for defining and assessing the quality of college degrees and other credentials earned after high school.

Lumina will rely on the task force to guide its work within postsecondary education as the broader field strives to build a more contemporary and integrated system of quality assurance. Lumina believes this system should support increasing attainment rates nationally while assuring the quality of credentials, and fairness in access to quality credentials for African-Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians. For decades, persistent inequities have caused students of color to earn credentials at rates far lower than among white students.

“We are excited to learn from this impressive group of experts, all of whom are committed to advancing the goals of providing high-quality educational opportunity and advancing racially and economically just outcomes for individuals and society,” said Debra Humphreys, Lumina’s vice president for strategic engagement. “At Lumina, we want to expand access to credentials of value in today’s world—that is, credentials that open doors to economic opportunity, social mobility, and full civic participation. To effectively meet these demands, every program that leads to a post-high school credential should provide clarity about what students will learn. And every credential should give people the capacity to find meaningful work, grow and learn on the job, and pursue further education.”

Lumina created this task force with the recognition that, while many individuals are earning quality degrees or other credentials, pernicious inequities persist in access to and success across academic programs. Moreover, even when individuals earn credentials, assessment studies and employer surveys show that many graduates lack the knowledge and skills they need to succeed. A disproportionate share of people of color lack access to quality learning experiences and the meaningful credentials that signify completion of rigorous learning programs.

The need to update our systems to address these inequities is urgent. Today, systems that govern providers of higher learning, assure the quality of programs, and even those that track the success of students rely on outdated assumptions. Lumina will rely on these outside advisors and others in the field to move toward a new learning system that better meets people’s needs.

Members of the Quality Credentials Task Force include:

  • Aaron Ament, President, National Student Legal Defense Network
  • Nate Anderson, Senior Director, Jobs for the Future
  • Robert Anderson, President, State Higher Education Executive Officers Association
  • Isis Artze-Vega, Assistant VP for Teaching and Learning, Florida International University
  • Lauren Augustine, Vice President, Student Veterans of America
  • Michelle Asha Cooper, President, Institute for Higher Education Policy
  • Barbara Gellman-Danley, President, Higher Learning Commission
  • Jim Grossman, Executive Director, American Historical Association
  • Mary Dana Hinton, President, College of St. Benedict
  • Kim Hunter Reed, Commissioner, Louisiana Board of Regents
  • Tiffany Jones, Director of Higher Education Policy, The Education Trust, Inc.
  • Jody Lewen, Executive Director, Prison University Project
  • Michael McComis, Executive Director, Accrediting Commission of Career Schools and Colleges
  • Ted Mitchell, President, American Council on Education
  • Elsa Núñez, President, Eastern Connecticut State University
  • Julie Peller, Executive Director, Higher Learning Advocates
  • Lenore Rodicio, Executive Vice President and Provost, Miami-Dade College
  • Matt Sigelman, Chief Executive Officer, Burning Glass
  • Jamienne Studley, President and CEO, WASC Senior College and University Commission, former Chair, National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity
  • Aaron Thompson, Executive VP and Chief Academic Officer, Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education
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