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“The plain fact is that millions of Americans have historically faced huge barriers to getting the education and the jobs that they want.” – Excerpted from “Free-Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education,” by Dr. Peter Smith

Since WWII, the college degree has increasingly become more important when it comes to landing and advancing in the “right job,” according to Peter Smith, Ph.D., University of Maryland University College Orkand Endowed Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education.

In his new book “Free-Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education,” Smith notes that the consequences for the estimated 60 million Americans with high school diplomas and some college credits but no degree—and the many millions more with high school and no college at all—includes underemployment, unemployment, and frustration with the inability to get ahead in a world frequently structured to reward only educational attainment.

But, there is a silent learning revolution underway that calls for a better way to deliver opportunity and democracy in higher education, said Smith. And this Thursday, June 14, in a live discussion on Facebook at 1 p.m. ET, he talks about the future of higher education, knowledge discrimination and technology’s role in forging new ways to acknowledge personal and experiential learning—what Smith calls our hidden credentials.

Making a special Facebook Live appearance, UMUC Senior Vice President and Chief Academic Officer Alan Drimmer, Ph.D., will conduct Smith’s interview.

About Peter Smith

Much of his academic career has focused on helping adult learners realize their potential. For the last two years, Smith has held the posts as UMUC Orkand Endowed Chair and Professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education. He has served on the Provost’s Academic Innovation Advisory Council.

Over the course of his career, Smith worked on education issues with the United Nations, was a high-ranking executive with Kaplan University and dean of The George Washington University Graduate School of Education—and was the founding president of both California State University Monterey Bay and The Community College of Vermont.

Formerly, Smith was a member of the U.S. House of Representatives and Lt. Governor of Vermont.

 Upcoming Thursday Thoughts line-up

  • Trends in systems engineering with Barry G. Douglass, program chair, Systems Engineering Information and Technology Systems, The Graduate School
  • The growing importance of data analytics in all kinds of businesses, with Elena Gortcheva, program chair, Graduate Data Analytics
Previously on Thursday Thoughts

 May 31—Professor Robert Ouellette, UMUC Environmental Management Program Chair, talked about the “environmental injustice” that makes the threat posed by climate change more pronounced for the nation’s most vulnerable populations, and the paradigm shift he believes is required to manage water resources in the face of climate change both here at home and across the globe. Watch it here.

May 17—the series premiere featured Jeff Tjiputra, UMUC chair of Cloud Computing Architecture, who discussed the advantages and disadvantages of businesses increasingly migrating their data to the cloud, and the importance of understanding cloud computing and the services associated with it. Watch the interview, “The Cloud: What Is It and How Does It Work?” here.

Thursday Thoughts airs every other Thursday at 1 p.m. ET on UMUC’s Facebook page.