KENNESAW, Ga. | Mar 6, 2023
Kennesaw State University has received recognition from the nation’s leading university professional development organization for an initiative that creators say has helped students and professionals better market their skills.
The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) awarded KSU the 2023 UPCEA Innovation in Alternative Credentials Association Award. KSU received the recognition for its micro-credential initiative, which provides students, faculty and staff with badges and certified links they can use on resumes and LinkedIn profiles that demonstrate verification of a particular skill to prospective employers.
“Student transcripts have lists of courses and lists of degrees, but that doesn’t tell the whole story,” said Brendan Callahan, interim executive director of general education in academic affairs and newly appointed director of KSU’s alternative credential initiative. “The micro-credential fills that gap and provides real, tangible evidence that you have a particular competency.”
Micro-credential badges can be earned in a variety of categories, including Adobe programs, digital learning, classroom technologies and more. Earning multiple micro-credentials that complement each other can also earn the learner a digital certificate.
Anissa Vega, assistant vice president for curriculum and academic innovation and professor of Instructional Technology, has been a member of the committee organizing the micro-credential initiative at KSU since it began in 2020 and said it’s exciting to see the team’s hard work pay off.
She said KSU’s micro-credential initiative is different than other universities’ because KSU offers the credentials through both formal and informal learning experiences. For example, a student could complete a class project with a software program that meets the requirements for a micro-credential within that program, or a lower-level badge can be earned through participation in a campus event. Micro-credential offerings are initiated by a faculty or staff member and reviewed by a committee.
“I am grateful to the KSU team members who have collaborated for the past three years across divisions to make this initiative happen and delighted to see our hard work and innovative approach nationally recognized,” Vega said.
Krysta Fry, director of Career Advising and Planning and part-time instructor of marketing and professional sales, has also worked on the micro-credential initiative for over a year and said her role was to ensure all proposed micro-credentials align with in-demand labor market skills and career readiness.
“Our goal is to provide students with mini learning opportunities that produce maximum understanding to employers of what the student is bringing to their company,” she said. “Our consistent design and digital sharing of our micro-credentials allows students to showcase micro-credentials earned on their resume, hyperlinking to the deliverable they want to showcase to an employer or highlighting the badge on their LinkedIn page to develop their virtual brand.”
Award recipients will be honored at the 2023 UPCEA Annual Conference, March 22-24 in Washington, D.C.
– By Thomas Hartwell
Photos by Darnell Wilburn
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A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 43,000 students. Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia with 11 academic colleges. The university’s vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the country and the world. Kennesaw State is a Carnegie-designated doctoral research institution (R2), placing it among an elite group of only 7 percent of U.S. colleges and universities with an R1 or R2 status. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.