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Peter Smith, Ph.D., University of Maryland University College Orkand Chair and professor of Innovative Practices in Higher Education, has been named recipient of the 2019 Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature, sponsored by the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), for his book “Free Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education.”

The award, given to the author and publisher of “an outstanding work of continuing higher education literature,” will be conferred at the UPCEA annual meeting in Seattle, March 27-29, according to the association’s announcement.  In all, UPCEA honored 10 individuals and six programs with awards in 2019.

In his book, Smith questions many of higher education’s foundational principles that have served as roadblocks to degree attainment for the countless millions of Americans with high school diplomas—many with some with college credits—who are underemployed and frustrated in their attempts to get ahead in a world frequently structured to reward only educational attainment.

“The plain fact is that millions of Americans have historically faced huge barriers to getting the education and the jobs that they want,” he wrote.

But in “Free Range Learning,” Smith describes the silent revolution underway that is changing all that. The revolution, which calls for new methods of delivering opportunity and democracy in higher education, includes “adult-friendly” colleges and universities that, among other adaptations, are giving students course credit for what they already know, instead of insisting that they sit through classes that rehash their skills.

The book gives practical examples of new services that empower learners by increasing their access to education, reducing costs and improving quality. It also serves as a roadmap for education professionals so they can find their way in today’s disruptive and highly competitive world of higher education.

“Free Range Learning” was met with high praise when released in June 2018.

“The future of education is one where it never ends,” said Jeff Selingo, a best-selling author who writes about higher education and student potential.  “And Peter Smith provides an essential guide to this new learning economy,”

In his commentary, former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta wrote that colleges and universities must adjust if they are going to stay relevant.  “Peter [Smith] understands change and that in a changing world, education cannot be limited to the limits and barriers of the past. It must be about results—the development of the human potential in all of us.”

Read more about “Free Range Learning in the Digital Age: The Emerging Revolution in College, Career, and Education,” in the Global Media Center archives.

For more about UPCEA and the list of awards and recipients, see the UPCEA 2019 Association Award announcement.