Badges - Credit Bearing

Approved by the Provost on April 25, 2018

As explained in a white paper on badging:
           A “digital badge” is an online record of achievements, tracking the recipient’s communities of interaction that issued the badge and the work completed to get it.
           Digital badges can support connected learning environments by motivating learning and signaling achievement both within particular communities as well as
           across communities and institutions.(1)

 At Grand Valley, a badge recognizes a student’s completion of a coherent and meaningful academic experience. Less formal than a certificate, minor, major, or degree program--but still a grouping of academic credits--a digital badge allows students to promote academic achievements online more effectively than via a transcript. When linked to online résumés and portfolios, career websites, or social media, a digital badge highlights skills, experiences, competencies, or knowledge to a wide audience that may include current and future employers, professional and community organizations, recruiters, and graduate programs.

The UCC proposes a badging policy that promotes creative thinking from badge proposers. UCC does not want to hamstring faculty and units that may have interesting ideas for serving students and community partners. To that end the badging criteria below is quite minimal, and UCC is prepared to revise that policy in the future, if needs be. At the same time UCC is proposing “guiding principles” that, while not official policy, give insight into how UCC foresees badges being used within the university.

A badge must include anywhere from 0.5 to 15 academic credits. Additional non-credit criteria are left to the discretion of the unit. No more than one third of the credits for the badge can be transferred from outside GVSU.


UCC will be working with Institutional Marketing to implement a New Badge Proposal form in Sail. For the time being, units must propose a badge using the New Certificate Proposal form in Sail. To clarify that the proposal is for a badge, the title of the proposal in Sail must include the word “Badge”. The name of the badge (ignoring the word "Badge" itself) may not exceed 30 characters. Institutional Marketing will create a logo for you featuring this name.

Any new courses created for a badge must follow the normal process for New Course Proposals, and grouped with the badge proposal in Sail.
The proposal must include a detailed description of the digital badge. This description should be written with a wide audience in mind, as it will communicate to viewers of the badge what the student did to achieve the badge. A sample description
The proposal must also include detailed credit criteria that showcases projects completed, skills mastered, knowledge gained, or experience demonstrated. A sample credit criteria description.
The proposal must name a point person for the badge who will field student questions and administer the issuing of badges upon verifying students’ completion of the badge’s requirements.

Badges may include a focused component of non-credit-bearing co-curricular experiences that support student learning; it would be up to the badge proposers to track and verify participation in these experiences, as they are not trackable in Banner.
Badges may be cross-disciplinary.
Units are encouraged to consider how successful completion of the courses in a badge may be credited toward a future degree program, subject to existing university policies (e.g., the 8 year catalog limit).
Badges may include a combination of undergraduate and graduate coursework. Registration in specific courses is subject to existing university policies (e.g., the 12 credit-hour limit(2) , and the dual-level enrollment policy(3).


(1)This white paper can be found at the following link:   
(2) The 12-credit hour limit allows non-degree graduate students to apply up to 12 credits toward a future graduate degree.
(3) The dual-level enrollment policy states that an undergraduate student must specify whether a graduate course will be counted toward their current undergraduate degree, or a future graduate degree.