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Call for Proposals for Microcredentials (AY 2021-22)

 The College of Engineering, Design and Computing plans to allocate ~$160K to faculty groups to advance its strategic vision through the creation of new modular (micro) credentials that provide opportunities for students to engage with cutting-edge topics, e.g., in emerging technologies, and receive a credential that acknowledges their mastery. 

What Are Microcredentials? 

Microcredentials are a rapidly growing trend in higher education and there are no broadly accepted definitions or standards. In short, they are a concentrated educational offering that focuses on a topic, often deemed important by employers; they involve verifying and certifying that specific competencies and/or skills have been achieved. Microcredentials tend to be modular, flexible, and stackable to permit building additional competencies, including up to a degree. There are no widely-accepted standards regarding the scale or scope of the activities that lead to a credential and how or even if they are connected to traditional content delivery. For example some credentials are a fraction of a 3-credit course, and others are a collection of multiple courses such as a certificate or a minor. The literature on microcredentials and their role in higher education and the economy is growing rapidly, e.g.,

We seek creative ideas about the form, length, etc. of a credential and how it will impact students and our programs. 

What Are We Doing? 

We plan to support 3-6 projects depending on the anticipated impact and the budget. These can be at the undergraduate or graduate level. We anticipate using about $120K in program fee funds as well as about $40K in non-program fee funds for this. Program fee funds must be used for eligible program fee expenses. During award of proposals, the college will work with recipients to align funding sources with eligible expenses. 

Proposals must result in an interdisciplinary credential (certificate, minor, etc.) with appeal to students across multiple departments; it is anticipated that the most compelling proposals will come from faculty teams with representation from multiple units. 

Overall the effort is expected to: i) result in the continual modernization and differentiation of our curricula and educational offerings, ii) provide opportunities for students to differentiate themselves through the contemporary educational experience and recognition of their subject mastery, and iii) attract students to our programs, courses, and offerings; and iv) advance campus and college strategic priorities to create and deliver modular, stackable offerings that lead to degrees and/or other desirable credentials. Proposals that attract partners from within and/or outside the university and generate and leverage their support are desired. It is expected that various models will be proposed and this will allow the college to explore creative new ideas and evolve to winning offerings in terms of content, pedagogy, and delivery. 

We realize there is a level of ambiguity in this description and look forward to the creativity of our faculty to develop compelling programs. If you have questions, please contact Associate Dean Mark Golkowski to discuss. 

What Should Be In Your Proposal? 

Proposals should be limited to a maximum of three pages and outline: 

1. the topic, the specific form of the credential (a class, half class, multiple classes, etc.), and justification for its importance to employers. 

2. description of the work needed to develop and launch the credential, e.g., new course(s) to be developed, content to be modified in existing courses, etc. 

3. description of target student audience (within and/or outside of CEDC) with estimates of and justification for interest, demand, and success. The latter should include discussion of relevant literature or programming across the country. 

4. description of how the credential leverages existing curricular and/or co-curricular offerings and how it fits into the curricular plans of the target student audience including pre/co-requisite implications; (if applicable) description of how the credential could be stacked with other offerings. 

5. timeline for development and launch. 

6. commitment by relevant departments/units to offer the needed courses and description of who would teach them in the early stages. 

7. budget including possible leveraging/matching and expected revenue if applicable. 

8. (if applicable) clear presentation of external partners, approach, and timeline for offering a parallel path for (micro) or (stackable) credentials with professionals and organizations. 

Please submit proposals to Tammy Hassan by Friday July 30, 2021. We intend to make decisions regarding funding by the beginning of the semester. These funds should be expended by May 2022. 

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