WCET's 28th Annual Meeting
A Credential Mashup: Creating Value and Cultivating College Completers

Moderator: , Manager of Course Media, Capella University
Speaker: , President, Nicolet College
Speaker: , Director, University of North Dakota Environmental Training Institute


The vast majority of Americans believe a college education is a good investment and the data shows they are right. But what kind of college education? For those with modest means or demanding work-life responsibilities, a traditional 4-year residential college experience may not be the best choice – or even a viable choice. At the same time, employers find that too few college graduates are ready for work and the age-old debate between advocates for liberal education and career-focused college muddles along. If liberal education “empowers individuals and prepares them to deal with complexity, diversity, and change” (AAC&U), and if professional and technical certification demonstrates command of specific knowledge and proficiencies, then is seems reasonable that both can create real value for individuals and to employers. Does steering learners toward one path or the other not reinforce a false dichotomy? Is there not a third way?

This session will look at the advantages of combining academic coursework with professional certifications. Examples of and possibilities for stacking and/or blending credit and non-credit programming will be discussed. Some of the challenges to more rapid innovation in this area will be reviewed, along with potential answers to these challenges, such as degree-inclusive certifications; creative use of educational technology; competency-based assessment; and flexible scheduling.

Presentation Slides