Thanks to all who participated in our 2015 Symposium held on July 31, 2015 at
Arapahoe Community College.

The theme for this year’s Symposium was Minding the Gap. The Symposium focused on two major topics within this theme:

  • Minding the gap between higher education and business
  • Minding the gap between college enrollment and completion

Highlights from 2015:

  • Over 200 people from higher education, state agencies, businesses and educational and community organizations participated
  • 17 breakout sessions focused on ‘enrollment to completion’ and ‘education and business’ for adult learners
  • Conversations centered around the need to educate adult learners to fulfill our state’s workforce needs, including incumbent workers, veterans, career transitioners and the underemployed
  • Ideas were discussed on establishing partnerships between higher education and businesses in our communities
  • KenoteThis year’s keynote speaker was Kelly Brough, President and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber of Commerce, who gave an insightful speech on our economy and how that relates to the adult learner and the need to educate our population in general to meet future workforce needs.



There were 2 plenary panel discussions this year

Morning Panel

The morning panel focused on the necessity of partnerships between industry and education in order to create and sustain a qualified workforce. Included in this discussion were some of Colorado’s leading industries and how they are focusing on talent development, requirements for meeting our state’s workforce needs and how higher education plays a crucial role in this.

Panelist included:

  • Marisa Alexander-Daspit, Director, Human Resources & KPCO Center for Continuous Improvement, Kaiser Permanente Colorado
  • Stacey Bibik, Government Sales, Stacy Machine & Tooling, Inc.
  • Renie DelPonte, Director of Health Science, Aurora Community College
  • BeverlyAnne C Torkelson, Senior Education Specialist, Software Engineering, Echostar LLC
  • Sue Wyman, Director, Business Career Connections, University of Colorado Denver Business School
  • Linda Comeaux, Vice President of Instruction, Red Rocks Community College (moderator)
Afternoon Panel

The afternoon panel discussed policies and practices in our state and how the current legislation in higher education, workforce development and college completion impacts the adult learner.



Panelists included:

  • Ian Macgillivray, Director of Academic Affairs, Colorado Department of Higher Education
  • Danielle Forrest, Prior Learning Specialist, Center for Individualized Learning, Metropolitan State University, Denver
  • Diane Hegeman, Vice President for Instruction, Arapahoe Community College
  • Emily Templin Lesh, Asst. Director, Policy and Industry, Colorado Workforce Development Council
  • Tricia Johnson, Director, Adult Education Initiatives, Colorado Department of Education (moderator)

Thank you to all who participated!
Check in for 2016 plans.


Highlights from the 2014 Colorado Adult Learning Symposium

On July 30, 2014, the Colorado Adult Learning Symposium: On the Road to Completion hosted 205 participants at Regis University.

  • A keynote address by Pamela Tate, CEO and President of the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) presented a national perspective and look to the future through innovative strategies, research, and policy that supports adults in achieving success.
  • An engaging panel discussion sparked a conversation about adult learning in Colorado today and where we are headed in the future.  Panelist included:
    - Patricia Ladewig, Provost, Regis University
    - Betsy Oudenhoven President, Community College of Aurora
    - Ian Macgillivray, Assoc. Deputy Director of Academic Affairs, Colorado Department of Higher Education
    - David Longanecker, President, WICHE
    - Bruce Vandal, Vice President, Complete College America
  • Our colleagues from across Colorado presented 15 breakout sessions on innovative programs, teaching and learning strategies for adults,  road maps for completion, Colorado’s talent pipeline, competency-based education, veterans on campus, and successful collaboration in serving adult learners.

Highlights from the 2013 Colorado Adult Learning Symposium

On July 29th My Degree Matters Colorado (MDMCO), the Colorado Department of Higher Education, Regis University, and CAEL held the first Colorado Adult Learning Symposium: Moving the Tassel.

  • 186 participants from higher education, industry, community organizations, and the public sector gathered to discuss policy and practice for improved adult learning access and opportunity. Conversations centered on reverse transfer, competency-based education, veteran support, and assessment of prior learning.
  • Lt. Governor Joe Garcia was the morning's keynote speaker, and reminded attendees that, "Adult learners are an increasing proportion of our population.... We need to have a world-class workforce to fill the jobs of tomorrow; [in Colorado] we'll have fewer jobs than any other state that require just a high school education."
  • An opening panel, moderated by Dr. Geri Anderson, Vice President of the Colorado Community College System, set the stage for the day. Dr. Becky Takeda-Tinker, CSU Global; Dr. Chari Leader Kelley, CAEL; Alison Griffin, Miles Above Strategies; and Dr. Vicki Golich, Metropolitan State University of Denver gave an overview of adult learning in Colorado and across the country.
  • A Town Hall, moderated by Dr. Roxanne Gonzales of Regis University, closed the session. Participants discussed maintaining momentum, potential next steps, and ideas for future events.

We look forward to receiving your proposal, and seeing you in July!

Photos c/o Brett Stakelin/Regis University