Organization: Council for Adult & Experiential Learning

Location: Chicago, IL

Express Interest!

About Council for Adult & Experiential Learning:

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) supports one goal: making it easier for people to get the education and training they need. CAEL works to find practical ways to link individuals’ education to their jobs or future careers. CAEL also supports ways to link learning from work and life experiences to educational goals – so individuals can earn their degrees and credentials faster.

Started in 1974, CAEL was a project of the Educational Testing Service in Princeton to test whether the skills and knowledge of adult learners that occurred outside of the classroom could be validly and reliably assessed by college faculty. Very soon, CAEL also began to review and advise on a much wider array of service offerings for adult learners. Today, as a national leader, CAEL leads the evolving national discussion on unique challenges and opportunities linking adult learners to their work. In addition to working with colleges and universities, CAEL collaborates with state systems of higher education, national higher education associations, corporations, labor organizations, policymakers, nonprofit workforce and policy organizations and state and local governments to increase access to education and economic security for all adult learners and to develop and provide effective services and tools to improve the opportunities offered through lifelong learning.

Key service areas include:

Higher Education Services: Provide higher education faculty, staff and administrators, institutions, consortia and state systems with the information, training and tools to enable them to help adult learners achieve their academic and career goals and complete appropriate degrees and credentials.

Learning Counts: A comprehensive on-line prior learning assessment service dedicated to assisting adults in earning college credit for their college-level learning acquired outside the traditional college experience. LearningCounts is both a resource for adult learners to help them demonstrate that their expertise is at the college level, and an information source about other assessment approaches.

Employer Services: Design and deliver CAEL products and services to businesses, business associations and joint labor-management groups to develop the incumbent and future workforce in ways that support both the strategic direction of the organization and the needs of individual employees.

Public Sector Services: Increase the effectiveness of public investment in skill development and certification and the effectiveness of public agencies charged with workforce and economic development. Support skill-based economic development and provide research coordination among employers and industries, inventories of education and training providers, program design and assistance with regional collaboration and partnerships among government, postsecondary education providers and industry.

Innovation & Policy: Create and test new policies and practices that will enhance lifelong learning, prior learning assessment (PLA), competency-based assessment (CBA), veteran’s initiatives, career development and workforce and economic development. Also conduct research and publish materials and articles on areas that advance lifelong learning, PLA, CBA, career development and workforce development.

Revenue generated by CAEL’s programs and services has grown from $700,000 in 1983 to nearly $10 million. CAEL’s revenue growth has come largely from an increase in contracts and fees, which increased 22-fold in 20 years. In addition, CAEL’s grants from foundations and the public sector have also significantly increased. Presently, CAEL receives approximately 30% of its funding from foundations including: Lumina, Kresge, Joyce, Ford, McCormick, Heron, Brown Family, State Street, USA Funds, Davis Educational Foundation and the Houston Endowment.

Under the leadership of President and CEO Pamela Tate, CAEL is a high energy and fast-paced work environment with a collaborative and team-oriented culture. CAEL’s team members are inspired by, and dedicated to, CAEL’s mission and promoting the agenda of lifelong learning and competency-based assessment.

For more information on CAEL, please visit:

The Opportunity:

The Associate Vice President, Higher Education (AVP) will market, customize, sell and deliver various Higher Education services and programs. Based out of CAEL’s headquarters in downtown Chicago, the AVP will report to the Vice President for Higher Education and will work in close collaboration with the Vice President to continue to grow this pillar of CAEL’s core business.

The AVP will speak to colleges, universities, state boards and system offices, corporations and accrediting agencies to promote CAEL’s offerings. This will involve developing an extensive list of prospects, offerings and channels and actively reaching out to those prospects; developing customized proposals that respond to specific needs of prospective clients; responding to inquiries and requests for proposals; developing and managing workshops, presentations, webinars and other opportunities that sell CAEL’s products and services; and working with the Vice President for Higher Education to deliver and/or manage the delivery of these services and ensure that sales goals are met in all areas of the Higher Education unit. A key part of this role will be to meet net revenue goals while delivering services and reaching out to qualified consultants in the CAEL network.

The AVP will also be responsible for:

  • Developing and nurturing extensive lists of prospects and channels for higher education services;
  • Reaching or exceeding targets for annual net revenue from all higher education services;
  • Proactively following up on inquiries and connecting with former and prospective CAEL clients;
  • Consistently integrating LearningCounts services into the higher education suite of offerings;
  • Developing and writing proposals, including pricing and timelines, for colleges, state higher education systems, foundations and other clients/prospects;
  • Writing reports for colleges, state higher education systems, foundations and other clients/prospects as needed;
  • Creating and delivering workshops and presentations for local, regional and national conferences and other meetings;
  • Promoting CAEL membership, participation in LearningCounts Featured Provider network, conference sponsorship, exhibiting and attendance, CAEL publications and other CAEL offerings for higher education;
  • Identifying appropriate CAEL consultants for delivery of consulting and training projects in higher education;
  • Representing CAEL in a variety of venues, both formal and informal;
  • Strategizing with CAEL’s Vice President for Higher Education on the effectiveness of current products and services, the development of new offerings and the various avenues for selling them (i.e., on-site delivery, workshop, webinar or other);
  • Delivering grant-funded CAEL Higher Education projects as appropriate; and
  • Strategizing with CAEL’s Associate Vice President of Research and Policy Development to promote and expand research on adult learners, lifelong learning programs, PLA, competency-based programs and partnerships among higher education, government and the private sector.

Candidate Profile:

The ideal candidate will have the following qualities and characteristics:

Content Area Expertise & Passion for the Mission

The AVP will be passionate about CAEL’s mission and will have significant higher education expertise. S/he must deeply believe in, and be committed to, adult and lifelong learning in order to discuss issues, needs and opportunities and to develop initiatives that will benefit CAEL and its clients. Although coming from an institution of higher education is not a requirement, the AVP must be credible to higher education audiences, possessing applicable experience, knowledge of prior learning assessment and competency-based education and an intimate understanding of the nuances of the sector. S/he will be able to communicate effectively and speak comfortably with all levels of contacts within higher education.

Executing for Results

The AVP will be an entrepreneurial, self-motivated, well-organized and results-oriented leader with deep business and partnership development expertise. S/he will have a successful track record of marketing and consultative selling of services and/or products in higher education, as well as pricing of projects and budget management. The AVP will be an astute business developer with the ability to create and manage project budgets, sales proposals and pricing. S/he will have great attention to detail and have the ability to balance multiple projects and sales relationships.

Leadership and Collaboration

The AVP will be a strong leader who can effectively manage up, down and across. S/he will have superior presentation and client relationship skills and be able to represent CAEL within the higher education community. With the ability to take initiative and work both independently and with others, the AVP will be a natural collaborator and will embrace CAEL’s fast-paced, entrepreneurial and innovative culture. S/he will demonstrate superior written and communication skills and will be an individual of unquestioned integrity, ethics and values; someone who can be trusted without reservation.

A Bachelor’s degree is required; an advanced degree in Adult Learning Theory or related field is strongly preferred.


Alexandra N. Corvin and Anny K. Chou of Koya Leadership Partners have been exclusively retained for this search. To express your interest in this role please click here or email Alex and Anny directly at All inquiries and discussions will be considered strictly confidential.

About Koya Leadership Partners:

Koya Leadership Partners is a national retained executive search and human capital consulting firm that works exclusively with nonprofits and social enterprises. We deliver measurable results, finding exceptionally talented people who truly fit the unique culture of our client organizations and ensuring that organizations have the resources and strategies to support them. For more information about Koya Leadership Partners, visit