Microcredentials at GVSU

Updated April 21, 2021

Definitions and Principles

The concepts, process, and 2-year pilot program for managing microcredential proposals at Grand Valley was approved by the Provost in May 2020.  

The term microcredentials refers to small, focused programs that are intended to help students reskill, or to add new skills or core competencies for which an entire undergraduate or graduate degree is not needed. 

Badges and certificates are examples of microcredentials and are awarded to students at the completion of such programs.

Microcredentials may be credit-bearing or non-credit bearing in nature—or a combination. Microcredentials may include a focused component of non-credit-bearing co-curricular experiences that support student learning. It is up to the badge proposers to track and verify participation in these experiences, as they are not trackable in Banner. 

When credit-bearing, they may stack into a major or minor. Units are encouraged to consider how successful completion of the courses in a microcredential may be credited toward a future degree program, subject to existing university policies (e.g., the 8 year catalog limit).

Microcredentials are meant to be flexible. As focused programs of study, they are often offered online, or in an accelerated format; they may consist of coursework broken down into smaller modules, or as “bundles” of existing coursework. As Grand Valley explores the creation of microcredentials, we are taking an open stance toward creativity in how such microcredentials might be structured.

The Online Education and Microcredential Council (OEMC) has responsibility for:

  • Reviewing all microcredential proposals
  • Proposing new forms in Sail pertaining to microcredentialing, as needed
  • Recommending for University Academic Senate’s (UAS) approval guidelines or policies for microcredentialing, as needed

Microcredential proposals are routed directly to the OEMC, which works to identify proper approvals across units/colleges. Upon deliberation of the proposal, OEMC may request other approvals to be secured.

Any new courses created for a microcredential, or any existing course changes, must follow the normal process in Sail for New and/or Change Course Proposals.

Approval Process (for credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing microcredentials)

To be recognized as “university-approved” programs, all proposed microcredentials require approval by the Online Education and Microcredential Council (OEMC) and the Office of the Provost. This is a five-step process.

Step 1
For all credit bearing and non-credit bearing microcredentials, complete and submit in Sail.

Step 2
The OEMC chairperson may schedule a meeting with associated personnel connected to the proposed microcredential, to discuss information in the Prospectus Form (Part 1). This meeting will take place during a regularly scheduled OEMC meeting, which currently occurs on Wednesdays from 1pm - 2pm. 

Step 3
Once the prospectus form is approved by the OEMC, complete and submit in Sail.

Step 4
The OEMC chairperson may schedule a second meeting with associated personnel connected to the proposed microcredential to discuss information in the Detailed Form (Part 2). This meeting will take place during a regularly scheduled OEMC meeting, which currently occurs on Wednesdays from 1pm - 2pm. 

Please be aware that additional documentation will need to be submitted toward ensuring the microcredential can be implemented—i.e., catalog copy (if credit-bearing); information that helps the digital badge to be created and awarded through Acclaim, a third-party badge awarding platform; and other documentation as requested by the OEMC.

Step 5
When the Detailed Form (Part 2) has been approved by the OEMC, proposers will work with specified personnel to finalize the microcredential (e.g., Budgeting, Institutional Marketing, Adult and Continuing Studies, etc.). 



Page last modified February 9, 2022