February 15, 2021

Purdue University Global reaches micro-credential milestone

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Higher education is responding to a growing demand from students and employers for shorter, more-focused opportunities to learn valuable skills.

Instead of being able to choose only from full degree programs, with the resulting finish line years away, certificates, credentials and short programs offer a closer finish line and specific skills that can help move students’ lives and careers forward more quickly. With talent shortages and skills gaps, employers are increasingly looking for creative and nimble new ways to meet their talent needs.

Many educational institutions have turned to micro-credentials as a way to provide new benchmarks of achievement for their students. Purdue University Global launched a new landscape of micro-credentials in 2020 in order to meet students’ needs with creative and innovative academic solutions. Purdue Global students earned over 6,000 micro-credentials in the past year.

What is a micro-credential?

Across higher education, a micro-credential can range from not-for-credit workshops completed in a few hours to a certificate-length curriculum that includes multiple full college-credit courses. Given this breadth of potential offerings, it’s not surprising that there is confusion about the purpose and value of a micro-credential. Purdue Global cuts through this confusion by defining specific types of micro-credentials that make it easier to see the value and to select a micro-credential that meets a particular goal. Many of these micro-credentials can be used as building blocks toward a full degree at Purdue Global.

Workplace Series: Includes courses designed in partnership between an employer and the university to meet specific job and professional development needs.

Foundation Series: Provides a student with introductory skills relevant to a particular industry-specific field.

Personalization Series: Allows a student to gain skills and experience in a specific area as a way to customize their degree program.

Pathway Series: Helps a student develop a strong academic pathway toward collegiate success. 

Short-Course Series: Provides study in a particular subject of interest via select noncredit courses.

“Micro-credentials are an increasingly important vehicle for student success at Purdue Global,” Provost Jon Harbor said. “By creating micro-credentials that are valuable on their own and that can also be stacked toward degree completion, we’re finding new ways to give students an opportunity to study in emerging fields as well as a chance to gain recognition for milestone achievements throughout their academic journey. We’ve created a dynamic system of micro-credentials that will meet students where they are and help get them where they want to be.”

Purdue Global currently offers over 30 different micro-credential options. Purdue Global has focused on developing micro-credential opportunities that expand students’ options in new and quickly developing spaces. This has included skills that are in high demand to address employer talent needs, as well as micro-credentials that build skills needed to respond to changing societal needs. For example, when the pandemic emerged in early 2020, Purdue Global quickly convened a team of faculty experts to design a contact tracing micro-credential course, which is offered free of charge to interested students. Additionally, in response to the civic unrest around racial injustice in mid-2020, Purdue Global launched a micro-credential focused on law enforcement’s role in society and social change. Students pursuing a program in criminal justice now have an opportunity to enroll in a targeted series of courses dedicated to studying the complex interaction between law enforcement and society.

In addition to serving many thousands of students through completion of micro-credentials, Purdue Global continues to develop innovative academic solutions that amplify the usefulness of degree progress for its students and give them more opportunities to pursue, achieve and celebrate success.

About Purdue University Global

Purdue University Global delivers personalized online education tailored to the unique needs of adults who have work or life experience beyond the classroom, enabling them to develop essential academic and professional skills with the support and flexibility they need to achieve their career goals. It offers a hyper-tailored path for students to earn an associate, bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral degree, based on their work experience, desired pace, military service, previous college credits and other considerations – no matter where they are in their life journey. Purdue Global serves approximately 36,000 students (as of January 2021), most of whom earn their degree online. Purdue Global is a nonprofit, public university accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. It is affiliated with Purdue University’s flagship institution, a highly ranked public research university located in West Lafayette, Indiana. Purdue University also operates two regional campuses in Fort Wayne and Northwest Indiana, as well as serving science, engineering and technology students at the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) campus. For more information, please visit purdueglobal.edu.

Media Contact: Tom Schott, 765-427-1721, tschott@purdue.edu

Sources: Jon Harbor, jon.harbor@purdueglobal.edu

Allegra Fowler, AlFowler@purdueglobal.edu

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