Call for Chapters: New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Customized, DIY


Aaron Brower, University of Wisconsin Extended Campus, United States
Ryan Specht-Boardman, University of Wisconsin Extended Campus, United States

Call for Chapters

Proposals Submission Deadline: November 8, 2021
Full Chapters Due: February 6, 2022
Submission Date: February 6, 2022


This is an edited volume on the future of American higher education, focusing on how students mix-and-match education and training over the course of their careers to reach personal and professional goals. Broadly speaking, this describes the way in which students combine degrees and certificates, credit and non-credit programs, on-the-job training, and alternative credentials--all in active pursuit of their professional and personal goals.

It is no longer uncommon for working adults to actively create their own lifelong “DIY” education and training pathways by stopping in and out of formal education, often from more than one institution, and intermixing that education with on-the-job and other forms of noncredit training. Students' ability to build education and training paths for themselves demonstrates a clever and productive approach to lifelong learning. As a consequence, institutions of higher ed (IHEs) should strive to support students’ DIY and mix-and-match pathways.


This book will cover the practical ways in which IHEs, Ed Tech companies, and workplaces can better respond to, and enable, this new mix-and-match way in which students engage and consume education and training. This book will provide examples for IHEs to put into practice the systems, policies, and processes necessary to better engender the success of students as they continue to DIY their education and training across a range of unbundled educational products and services. While the formal academic degree currently remains the coin of the realm, rapid shifts towards skills-based learning and hiring, coupled with the proliferation of readily available postsecondary professional training outside academe, has opened significant opportunities for adult learners to meaningfully achieve their personal and career goals without necessarily completing traditional degree programs.

Our objective is to pull together leading voices and stakeholders who are committed to this student-centered, DIY, mix-and-match vision of how higher education has evolved. We believe that this future is already here, with students engaging in this way for their lifelong education and training, and doing it despite how higher education is currently structured. We hope to showcase what is already being done within IHEs and in the business community, and what is not yet being done but needs to happen. We therefore hope to push the higher ed field further down the road to fully embrace this student-centered approach to lifelong educational engagement.

By drawing on the experiences of a wide range of experts across industries and functional areas, this edited volume is intended as a playbook for institutions of higher education and their business and ed tech partners, to develop and grow high-quality postsecondary educational experiences in a variety of modalities that meet the demands of adult learners. Chapters will also discuss the ways in which policies (institutional, state, and federal) and “back office” operations (e.g. admissions, financial aid, bursar, registrar, LMS) will need to adapt to support this kind of fluid exchange between formal education and training, and throughout one’s lifetime. Important viewpoints from outside academia will be provided by educational technology companies and public policy makers. A section of this volume will be dedicated to quality assurance and credentialing, as IHEs wrestle with how to best document and validate mixed-and-matched learning from multiple sources. Particular attention will also be paid to the ways in which mixing-and-matching of educational products and services can lead to more equitable outcomes across diverse adult learners.

More coordination and intentionality in this sphere of educational engagement among IHEs, Ed Tech, policy makers, and business leaders will lead to better student outcomes.

Editorial Advisory Board
  • Sally Johnstone, President, NCHEMS
  • Debra Humphreys, Vice President of Strategic Engagement, Lumina Foundation
  • Rovy Branon, Vice Provost, University of Washington Continuum College
  • Ray Schroeder, Senior Fellow, UPCEA, & Professor Emeritus, University of Illinois Springfield
  • David Schejbal, President, Excelsior College
  • Bob Hansen, CEO, UPCEA
  • Susan Catron, Dean, Division of Continuing & Professional Education, UC Davis
  • Amrit Ahluwalia, Editor-in-Chief, The EvoLLLution

Target Audience

This book is aimed at leaders across the postsecondary education industry, broadly defined. This includes institutions of higher education, ed tech companies, public policy makers and think tanks, non-profit postsecondary education organizations, business training developers, and entrepreneurs in postsecondary education.

Recommended Topics

We are calling for chapters from a wide range of participants in postsecondary education systems in the United States. This includes professionals, faculty, and leaders from Institutions of higher education, ed tech companies, and nonprofits; as well as from public policymakers, business leaders, and corporate trainers. Chapters should address how the postsecondary industry can better facilitate adult students’ mixing-and-matching of educational credentials, products, and services. This volume will cover both theory and praxis, and so we are especially interested in hearing from institutions who are demonstrating success in meaningfully integrating diverse unbundled educational experiences and helping their students to “DIY” their own educational pathway. We welcome chapter submissions that propose solutions to complex policy problems, discuss inter-institutional partnerships (both within IHE’s and between IHE’s and Ed Techs), present new ways of developing academic programs, and consider how re-imaging postsecondary education as a series of self-directed, interconnected a la carte learning experiences may improve equity outcomes.

We expect most chapter submissions to fit under four broad themes (listed here in no particular hierarchy):

1. How IHE’s can better respond to, and lead, in this new educational market.
Topics in this theme might include:

  • How to (re)design traditional for-credit programs that are unbundled (e.g. stackable certificates; embedded microcredentials)
  • Faculty and provost perspectives on how to modernize the bachelor’s degree to account for a “DIY” and lifelong learning journey
  • Instructional design, user experience, and in-course student-engagement and how that facilitates improved student learning in unbundled educational experiences
  • Reforms to institutional academic policy that recognize learning from multiple validated sources, such as Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) and the American Council on Education’s credit-mapping tools

2. Innovations from private and nonprofit postsecondary education providers and workforce partners outside of colleges and universities that help students learn skills across a lifetime continuum of education.
Topics in this theme might include:

  • Perspectives from Ed Tech companies, online program managers (OPMs), corporate training offices, and private education providers on the approach they are taking to develop their own innovative non-credit programming separate from, and/or complimentary to, academia
  • How partnerships between IHEs and private education companies can better facilitate mixing-and-matching
  • Innovations in just-in-time non-credit education and training programs, like MOOCS, boot camps, short courses, microcredentials, badges, etc.
  • How to connect higher education programming with companies in-house training to create a more seamless educational experience from school-to-work
  • The emergence of, and role for, educational programming developed by industry leaders and the role of non-credit commercial educational programming

3. How IHEs can improve back-office operations and structures to more equitably, effectively, and efficiently recognize and document a DIY educational program.
Topics in this theme might include:

  • Practical considerations on how to document and transcribe multi-modality learning, such as the emergent role of the CLR (comprehensive learner record) and the recognition of prior learning
  • How to strategically approach financing of lifelong unbundled learning, program affordability, and design financial policies that better engender students to start and stop programs as needed
  • Practical case studies for student services and back office policies -- how to reform IHEs that remain grounded in policies and practices designed for 18-22 year olds attending full-time for 9 months a year
  • How can Registrar offices, Bursar offices, Admissions offices, Financial Aid offices, Advising and Career Services offices, change to facilitate the mix-and-match/DIY engagement of lifelong adult learners
  • How can IHEs make structural changes that yield improvements in equity access and outcomes in this arena

4. Policy considerations to improve integration across postsecondary educational products, services, and credentials.
Topics in this theme might include:

  • How state and federal policies can better support students mixing and matching their lifelong education across modalities (e.g. credit and noncredit), institutions, public and private partnerships, and school-to-work training pipelines
  • How accreditation policies can be modified to provide quality assurance of unbundled educational content both within and beyond academe
  • Examples (or recommendations) of changes to institutional governance and policies
  • How federal financial aid policies need to be changed in order to improve lifelong educational affordability and financing in this mix-and-match, DIY world
  • In what ways might better facilitating students’ mixed-and-matched educational pathways improve equity outcomes to meet the economic and civic goals for the United States and world

If your proposal is selected, full chapters will be between 7,000-10,000 words, inclusive of references, tables, and figures. Please carefully review the timeline below to ensure that if your proposal is accepted you are able to meet the stated publication deadlines.

We encourage you to reach out to us to discuss any chapter ideas you may have, or with any questions you have on the publication process.

Submission Procedure

Researchers and practitioners are invited to submit on or before November 8, 2021, a chapter proposal of 1,000 to 2,000 words clearly explaining the mission and concerns of his or her proposed chapter. Authors will be notified by November 22, 2021 about the status of their proposals and sent chapter guidelines. Full chapters are expected to be submitted by February 6, 2022, and all interested authors must consult the guidelines for manuscript submissions at prior to submission. All submitted chapters will be reviewed on a double-blind review basis. Contributors may also be requested to serve as reviewers for this project.

Note: There are no submission or acceptance fees for manuscripts submitted to this book publication, New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Customized, DIY. All manuscripts are accepted based on a double-blind peer review editorial process.

All proposals should be submitted through the eEditorial Discovery® online submission manager.


This book is scheduled to be published by IGI Global (formerly Idea Group Inc.), an international academic publisher of the "Information Science Reference" (formerly Idea Group Reference), "Medical Information Science Reference," "Business Science Reference," and "Engineering Science Reference" imprints. IGI Global specializes in publishing reference books, scholarly journals, and electronic databases featuring academic research on a variety of innovative topic areas including, but not limited to, education, social science, medicine and healthcare, business and management, information science and technology, engineering, public administration, library and information science, media and communication studies, and environmental science. For additional information regarding the publisher, please visit This publication is anticipated to be released in 2022.

Important Dates

November 8, 2021: Proposal Submission Deadline
November 22, 2021: Notification of Acceptance
February 6, 2022: Full Chapter Submission
April 6, 2022: Review Results Returned
May 18, 2022: Final Acceptance Notification
June 1, 2022: Final Chapter Submission


Aaron Brower
University of Wisconsin Extended Campus

Ryan Specht-Boardman
University of Wisconsin Extended Campus


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