Fostering Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through Competency-Based Instruction: A Path to Educational Excellence

 Please Note: While attending the webinar live is free for OLC members and non-members, on-demand recordings will be available post-webinar for Professional and Institutional Members only. Consider becoming an OLC member for access to these and many other great benefits!

**This webinar is part of the OLC Innovate 2024 Best-in-Track webinar series!**

This webinar will explore the intersection of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) with Competency-Based Education (CBE) and its relevance in the educational community. This topic is profoundly relevant to the educational community for several compelling reasons. Firstly, the pursuit of DEI in education is a moral imperative, fostering social justice and equality. Inclusivity ensures that all students, regardless of their backgrounds, have access to quality education and opportunities for success. Secondly, CBE, as an innovative pedagogical approach, offers a framework where the principles of DEI can be effectively integrated, leading to enhanced learning outcomes and student success. Combining these two paradigms can revolutionize education by addressing disparities, promoting engagement, and fostering lifelong learning.

Attendees will gain insights into the transformative potential of DEI within CBE, with a focus on practical takeaways to foster inclusive and equitable learning environments. Anonymized, real-world case studies showcasing how institutions have successfully integrated DEI principles into CBE programs will be presented. At the conclusion of the webinar, participants will be provided with a toolkit of actionable takeaways, resources, and best practices to implement DEI within their CBE programs.

Key Takeaways:

  • A Deeper Understanding: Participants will have a comprehensive understanding of the critical intersection between DEI and CBE, including why this intersection is essential for creating inclusive learning environments.
  • Practical Strategies: Attendees will acquire practical strategies for integrating DEI principles into CBE, ensuring that learners from diverse backgrounds receive equitable opportunities and support.
  • Anonymized Case Studies: Real-world, anonymized case studies will illustrate how other institutions successfully incorporate DEI into their CBE programs, providing inspiration and guidance.
  • Next Steps: Attendees will leave with a toolkit of actionable takeaways, resources, and best practices for initiating or advancing DEI initiatives within CBE programs.

Intended Audience: 

Administrators and faculty

Speaker Bio
Chalu Harris-Adams, Ph.D

Director, Instruction at Western Governors University

Dr. Chalu Harris-Adams is a dedicated educator and leader passionate about transforming online learning. Driven to make a broader impact in education, Dr. Harris-Adams joined Western Governors University as a Program Mentor. Over three years, she guided and supported students, eventually transitioning into the role of Instructor. For eight years, she worked closely with learners, imparting knowledge and skills while honing her expertise in e-learning. In 2013, Dr. Harris-Adams took on the role of Manager in Evaluation, where she worked with Faculty Evaluators in Elementary Methods. Her dedication and leadership were further recognized with a promotion to Senior Manager in 2019, where she has worked with the Professional Core Evaluation Team since. Fueling her commitment to advancing online education, Dr. Harris-Adams pursued her terminal degree in e-learning, focusing her research on reducing attrition through virtual communities of practice. Her work aims to create supportive learning environments that empower students to thrive in the digital age.
Sarah Skudin Evans, Ed.D

Senior Manager, Evaluation at Western Governors University

Dr. Sarah Skudin is a dedicated leader with a passion for serving underserved populations in an online environment. Before entering the field of Education, she earned a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology where she spent her free time tutoring inner-city K12 students. In 2010, Dr. Skudin began her career path at Western Governors University in the Evaluation department assessing student coursework in Mathematics. This position led her into leadership within Evaluation working to ensure students were being supported and faculty had a safe work environment to grow and assist with the development of courses. Dr. Skudin’s continued drive for personal growth led her to complete her doctorate in Educational Leadership in 2020. She is currently a Senior Manager of Evaluation faculty working to ensure faculty in an online environment feel supported, are given professional development opportunities, develop relationships in an online environment with peers, and prioritize student learning.

Courtney Munday, Ph.D.

Senior Manager, Evaluation at Western Governors University

Dr. Courtney Munday has worked as a 6-12th grade English Language Arts teacher in urban and suburban schools. As a classroom teacher, she co-taught with SPED teachers and worked as a literacy remediation specialist. She earned her B.A. in English with a writing emphasis from Southwestern Oklahoma State University (SWOSU), M.Ed. in English Education from The University of Oklahoma, and Ph.D. in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum from The University of Oklahoma. After leaving the classroom, she continues to volunteer in PK-12 schools as a literacy coach for elementary and high school students. Dr. Munday joined Western Governors University (WGU) in 2018 as a part-time evaluator in the School of Education and immediately fell in love with its mission to “change lives for the better by creating pathways to opportunity for all learners.” During her tenure at WGU, Dr. Munday has moved into senior leadership and has enhanced her skill set in topics of virtual learning environments, competency-based education (CBE), Social and Emotional Learning (SEL), growth mindset, and DEI. She enjoys working with cross-functional stakeholders to discover innovative ways to meet students’ needs.

Michelle Pohlen

Senior Manager, Evaluation at Western Governors University

Michelle Pohlen is a seasoned educator who champions competency based education and passionately works to serve diverse students in their unique online learning journey while also creating an amazing remote work environment for faculty. With a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, Michelle spent the first 10 years of her career teaching K-5 students with special needs. She was also a district level behavior consultant with a primary focus on behavior intervention and classroom management. Michelle is currently a Senior Manager of Evaluation faculty, where she leads evaluation teams who serve students in coursework related to Reading, Methods, Special Education, Preclinical Experiences, Student Teaching and performance portfolio assessments. Michelle’s passion lies in people development, and the importance of effective leadership in higher education. Providing innovating solutions and ideas to help better support students on their journey to graduation is the fuel for Michelle’s fire.