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K-State Research and Extension
123 Umberger Hall
Manhattan, KS 66506-3401

June 27, 2023

Microcredentials and KSRE

Submitted by Rick Peterson

Kansas State University has approved a Microcredentials Initiative to develop a micro-credentialing infrastructure for the university, its colleges and departments. Microcredentials are comprised of relevant, high-quality market-aligned short units of learning and offer pathways to achieve affordable, accessible, focused and immediately acknowledged learning opportunities. Microcredential offerings can be credit, or noncredit, bearing and have the following characteristics:

• Are focused on learners, based on their interests, needs, skills and career goals
• Are awarded based on demonstrated skill or competency in a specific area(s)
• Are developed, approved, and endorsed by the University
• Can be gained in a shorter or more flexible time period
• Can act as stand-alone or stackable, with stackable offerings combined to count toward a higher education qualification (e.g., certificate, degree, etc.)

These market-aligned learning opportunities, delivered across flexible timespans, will expand the historic access mission of K-State and position the University in an increasingly competitive environment.

This initiative has great potential for KSRE to engage learners by providing opportunities to expand their knowledge plus gain a microcredential, if desired. Microcredentials, or badges, are an easy way to obtain professional development. Business and industry are also looking for trusted sources of professional development training for their employees. Extension is used to partnering with business and industry to provide education and training that is both timely and meets the needs of the audience. Microcredentials provides Extension an opportunity to capitalize on its land grant mission, research and educational network; to meet business and industry consumer need; and offer tailored training through microcredentialing courses, and face-to-face settings.

Over the last year, several microcredential pilot courses have been offered with over 200 microcredentials (badges) being awarded using the Credly Badge System (check out offerings at https://www.credly.com/organizations/kansas-state-university/badges). Several of your Extension colleagues have successfully completed, or are currently participating in, the university’s pilot microcredential course process. These courses include: Elaine Johannes’s Grant Development and Management as a non-credit offering of the credit-earning HDFS 801 course; Grant Writing Basics, led by Nancy Daniels; Facilitation Basics for Research and Extension Professionals with Deborah Kohl; and Working with Older Adults in Cooperative Extension led by Erin Yelland.

Stay tuned for more information on the potential that microcredentials has for K-State Research and Extension.