Microcredential Initiative - State University System of New York (SUNY)

Overview

The State University of New York (SUNY) adopted a broad microcredential policy in 2018, following recommendations of a Micro-Credentialing Task Force created in 2015. Through a collaborative process and endorsed by SUNY Trustees, SUNY defined microcredentials to ensure that their rigor and quality match those of every type of credential that SUNY offers. SUNY also established a taxonomy of terms related to microcredentials.

SUNY microcredentials:

  1. Verify, validate, and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved.
  2. Are endorsed by the issuing institution.
  3. Are developed via established faculty governance processes.
  4. Are designed to be meaningful and high quality.

SUNY's policy framework supports microcredentials that:

  • motivate current students to persist
  • provide a pathway to (or back to) higher education
  • foster individualized learning
  • allow students to distinguish themselves in a competitive marketplace
  • support life-long learning and professional development.

SUNY policy requires that a SUNY microcredential is:

  1. Competency based
  2. Endorsed by the issuing campus
  3. Developed through faculty governance
  4. Meaningful and of high quality

Six key principles guide SUNY microcredentials:

  • Academic quality is paramount
  • Faculty governance engagement required
  • Aligned with campus mission and strategic goals
  • Aligned with industry/sector standards
  • Portable and stackable
  • Online or in class, non-credit to credit, credit

Implementation Working Groups are charged with supporting campus success by:

  • Removing policy barriers
  • New readiness assessment tools/resources
  • Data collection and reporting framework
  • Tools for transferability and portability

Since development of the SUNY microcredentials policy, SUNY campuses have developed more than 525 microcredentials at about half of its campuses (both community colleges and universities). Microcredentials are available in 60+ discipline areas in high-demand fields, including:

  • Accounting, finance, and taxation
  • Supply chain, project management, and business practices in the US
  • Entrepreneurship, leadership, and marketing
  • Non-profit, small business, and grant writing
  • Computer science, data science, and analytics
  • IT, cybersecurity, networking, cloud, and support
  • Esports and gaming
  • Renewable energy, green building, and clean technology

SUNY has developed a common website to list microcredentials available at all its campuses at: Search Microcredentials at SUNY - SUNY

SUNY microcredentials often combine courses from its registered degree programs, applied learning experiences, preparation for industry certifications, and/or non-credit coursework. Microcredentials can be taught online or in the classroom, or at a work or job site with support from employers.

A microcredential can be coursework alone, a series of workshops, or a combination of coursework and an applied learning experience or certification preparation. The most common microcredential length is three courses.

SUNY microcredentials are taught by SUNY faculty and students have access to academic supports and campus resources.

Many microcredentials result in a digital badge, which students can put on their resume or a profile (e.g., LinkedIn) to show employers what skills have been achieved.

Resources

Micro-Credentials Task Force Report

SUNY Trustee SUNY Micro-Credentialing Implementation Memorandum

SUNY Micro-Credential Definition and Related Terms

Resources for Developing Micro-Credentials

Search Microcredentials at SUNY - SUNY

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