If you are wondering why we aren’t just enrolling learners now when there is such a clear and apparent need across our schools, it is because our programs must be recognized by our accrediting body and state licensing board before we can engage with learners. Only graduates of accredited programs are eligible for the professional licensure pathway we can offer through MLC. If you are interested in participating in this program, please check back here to find out when we have submitted the required materials to HLC and for updates on the status of our review.


MLC convened the Competency-Based Education Committee to research solutions for the growing need for called workers.

Fall 2022

Based on the recommendation of the findings of the committee’s research, MLC sought nominations and called two individuals to serve as the director and instructional designer for the Nontraditional Education Program. Dr. Nichole LaGrow accepted the call to be Director and Dr. Martin LaGrow accepted the call to be Instructional Designer of the Non-Traditional Education Program.

Spring 2023

The director focused on framing the Nontraditional Education Program by

  • Distributing a needs analysis to principals and pastors across the synod.
  • Analyzing data collected through the needs analysis.
  • Assuring compliance with our accrediting bodies, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and the Minnesota Professional Educator Licensing Board (PELSB).
  • Identifying a path forward to develop a competency-based program for Christian educators.
  • Reviewing internal policies and practices to support learners in this program.
  • Building communication resources, including this webpage, about this new program.

Summer 2023

In addition to administrative progress, a new emphasis was placed on instructional design.

  • The instructional designer joined us in July and began the process of testing and vetting software tools designed to implement a competency-based education program. As a result of this process, Desire 2 Learn by Brightspace was adopted as the program platform.
  • The director began the process of drafting new and program-specific policies for discussion at plenary faculty meetings in fall 2023 and worked with departments across campus to craft specific practices and procedures to support learners in this program.
  • The director began to establish and maintain contact with interested survey respondents with an update on our progress and resources to support their continued learning.

Fall 2023

  • The director is guiding all curriculum materials through our internal Curriculum Oversight Committee.
  • Program development began with the creation of two supporting emphases: a Competency-based Theology Education (CBTE) minor designed to meet all ministerial education requirements, and an academic program focused on the licensure and degree requirements–the Alternate Pathway to Professional Licensure in Education in elementary education (APPLE El Ed).
  • The designer is working with faculty to craft the competencies for the theology minor program based on the existing required course content.
  • We submitted all materials for the Higher-Learning Commission review of the CBTE minor in December. The review of our application may take up to six months.
  • In September 2023, representatives from MLC met with PELSB to discuss the proposed APPLE Elementary Education program. The review determined that the curriculum aligns with the approved MLC Elementary Education program. As long as our required courses and assessments are the same — just offered in different modalities — the APPLE El Ed Program is considered a part of our approved teacher preparatory program for Elementary Education, including all endorsements.

Spring 2024

  • The Director has submitted the CBTE program for approval by the Higher Learning Commission and it is pending review. This is the last approval necessary to be able to launch our first cohort of CBTE in the summer.
  • APPLE – Elementary Education is under review by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education. They have responded with a request for clarification on two points. Once the program is approved, we can work toward submitting the required materials to the Higher Learning Commission.
  • The Nontraditional Education team, along with the CBE Advisory Board, have begun the process of formalizing the policy manual that will guide program delivery.
  • The competencies for CBTE have been crafted by the MLC theology faculty and the Instructional Designer. The process of building courses in Brightspace (the LMS, sometimes referred to as Desire 2 Learn or D2L for short) has begun, and course instructors for the CBTE program are being identified.
  • The Director and Instructional Designer have completed training in Brightspace for administration and instruction.
  • The Director has submitted the CBTE program for approval by the Higher Learning Commission and it is pending review. This is the last approval necessary to be able to launch our first cohort of CBTE in the summer.

Summer 2024

  • Godwillling, the first cohort of CBTE will begin the program pending all approvals.
  • APPLE – Elementary Education will be submitted for Higher Learning Commission approval if all goes as planned.

If you would like to receive updates on our program, please complete the Interest Survey.