May 24, 2022 – Education

In case you missed it: Innovative leaders building a better postsecondary education system for all learners


Charles Koch Foundation (CKF) Executive Director Ryan Stowers recently co-hosted two episodes of the EdUp Experience podcast with Dr. Joe Sallustio.  

In the first episode, Stowers and Sallustio sat down with Unmudl CEO Dr. Parminder Jassal to discuss working learners, or non-traditional students who are balancing obligations at work and home in addition to school. 

“Access to education needs to be instant and seamless,” said Jassal. Unmudl’s skills-to-jobs marketplace seeks to achieve that goal by allowing working learners to enroll in multiple postsecondary education programs at once. The platform lets people take advantage of learning opportunities when and where they want, and at an affordable price. It also connects learners directly with employers and family-sustaining jobs. Unmudl recently raised nearly $1.28 million in seed funding in a round led by Stand Together Ventures Lab. The funding will allow Unmudl to expand its network and operations.

In the second episode, Stowers and Sallustio talked to Arizona State University (ASU) President Michael Crow about innovating personalized learning options at scale. Under Crow’s leadership, ASU has committed itself to building a student body that represents the United States’ ethnic and socioeconomic diversity; established 25 new transdisciplinary schools; and created programs for working learners, parents, and high school students.  

Many universities operate programs like ASU’s independently, but at ASU they are fully integrated. Faculty buy-in was a large part of building that structure. “[W]e didn’t have to acquire a for-profit like some other schools have done. We don’t have a bolt-on like some schools,” Crow explained. “It’s our faculty, our instructors, our teaching assistants, our staff designing and creating all of these highly-technologically enhanced and highly-technologically enabled learning platforms that allow us to teach … hundreds of degree programs, thousands of courses all designed by our faculty. We found a way to change the spirit … to be more than just a place, but to be a force for human agency and empowerment.”

The Charles Koch Foundation is proud to sponsor the EdUp Experience podcast, which brings innovative leaders in higher education to the microphone every Monday to Wednesday.