Degree Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Jerry Robicheau


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the landscape of Competency-Based Education in institutions of higher education, and how these institutions have successfully implemented a new model into their existing structures. Interviews were conducted to explore the rationale, implementation strategies, and challenges at institutions involved in Competency-Based Education. Interviews were conducted with ten professionals who held positions in administrative roles, faculty roles, and sometimes both roles simultaneously. A thorough research of the literature was conducted, and there was found to be a lack of consensus of best practices and implementation strategies for institutions. Best practices at the institutions that participated in the study were analyzed in comparison to Johnstone and Soares’ (2014) Principles for Developing Competency-Based Education Programs as well as through the lens of the Competency Based Education Network (C-BEN), Shared Design Elements, and Suggested Practices of Competency-Based Education Programs (2015). The strategies in place for the implementation of this change at the institutions was analyzed through the lens of John Kotter’s (1985) 8-steps model for change implementation. The research in this dissertation built upon that of Dragoo in 2015, and adds new knowledge to the field. The rationales, strategies, and programming at the institutions who took part in this research vary. While there were some similarities, it is clear the institutions must examine specific rationales for implementing CBE programs, and how CBE best fits with the overall strategic plans and missions of the institution. CBE programs provide institutions with many opportunities, but also some challenges.