Credential Maturity Index - UPCEA

Last Updated: 03/15/2024

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UPCEA developed Credential Maturity Index, based on the Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation. The framework enables self-assessment of an organizational/unit’s effort around eight best practices, or hallmarks, with regard to credential innovation. The index provides users with an anonymous score for each Hallmark.

Each hallmark poses a series of prompts around how the unit/institution has organized efforts around elements related to that particular practice (e.g., engagement, leadership). There are four rating choices:

  1. Optimized (doing this work consistently)
  2. Established (processes are in place, but we have some gaps)
  3. Initiated (this work is begun but is not yet formalized or being done consistently)
  4. Not Started

Index respondents receive a set of scores for their unit or institution, correlated to their responses to the prompts around each of the eight Hallmarks of Excellence. This score may be used to seek further professional development, resources, or networking opportunities.


In 2021, UPCEA formed the Council for Credential Innovation and the Alternative Credentials Network. Together, the new bodies formed a new community to advance quality standards, policy, and best practices in credential innovation and the alternative and non-degree credentials arena.

A foundational resource in this effort was UPCEA’s Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation, a quality framework for non-degree credentials at the enterprise level.

A benchmark study was also released by UPCEA and research partners Modern Campus and The EvoLLLution, “Shifting Paradigms: Understanding Institutional Perspectives on Microcredentialing.” The report revealed how alternative credentials position higher education institutions to overcome one of the greatest critiques leveled at them, which is a lack of connectivity between programming and the needs of learners and the labor market.

The index is based on UPCEA’s work to identify eight pillars that define what it means to lead credential innovation in higher education. This information was distilled as the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation. These pillars, or best practices, are a collection of aspirational markers that can help guide institutions as they integrate their universities with the needs of employers and professions with agility, transparency, and accountability. The Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation are available as a free, downloadable resource.

The Hallmarks are:

  1. Advocacy and Leadership within the University
  2. Entrepreneurial Initiative
  3. University to Business Stakeholder Engagement
  4. The Faculty Experience
  5. The Learner Experience
  6. Digital Technology
  7. External Advocacy
  8. Professionalism


Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation – UPCEA | Learn & Work Ecosystem Library (

Take the Maturity Index here


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