Badges, Transcripts, and Skills – Oh My!

A rising trend in higher education is moving beyond the traditional transcript of courses to a skills-based student record known as ‘alternative credentialing‘ or simply ‘badging.’  Today a report was issued calling for an increase in badging across the board as a way to recognize the changing skills-based landscape of higher education and graduate education in particular.

The UPCEA report explains, “Non-credit training courses, non-credit certificate programs, and micro-credentialing all provide learners with less expensive and faster alternatives to traditional degree programs. Degree holders now acquire professional licenses, education certificates and other alternative credentials from a myriad of providers, including their professional associations and online programs as well as traditional higher education institutions.

Are badges the future of higher education?  Should transcripts reflect not just courses and degree programs but skill sets?  And how can we ensure transferability and equanimity of skills in a badging environment?

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Meet Arlea Carmack

Arlea Carmack

Name: Arlea Carmack
City: Boise, Idaho
Program: EdS in Educational Leadership

I am a mother of 3 sons, a daughter, and grandmother of 14 grandchildren. Attending FHSU Virtual College has given me the freedom to balance my personal life and realize my potential.

I love to learn, to teach, and I love my job as an Adjunct Instructor at FHSU in the Advanced Education Program. My goals are to make a difference in collegiate education and to work from home. I chose the EdS program because a great advisor and mentor, Dr. Suzanne Becking, has helped me see how I can reach my goals.

FHSU has the personal connections between students and faculty that inspire students to reach higher in their education goals and they truly care for their students’ successes. My experiences in the EdS program have been life-changing for me. It has opened doors of possibilities while showing me the difference an Educational Leader can make in their educational role, as well as, their personal lives.

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The Contribution of Masters Degrees at Public Universities

Today’s Inside Higher Ed  features a study of State Comprehensive Universities (SCUs), the category in which you’ll find FHSU.  The study points out that while flagship universities might get most of the attention, the SCU Master’s program offers some unique advantages for students to consider when selecting a graduate program.

“They really provide service to a large number of students, but they don’t get the same press as research institutions,” Titus said. “Many of those students come from disadvantaged backgrounds. They’re nontraditional students, students who don’t live very far away from the institutions they attend.”

FHSU’s mission focuses on serving students who are non-traditional, full-time employed, or from underserved populations.  Our small size also allows us to provide mentorship and support opportunities often lacking at flagship institutions.

Our affordable tuition also provides an advantage to serve students who might not otherwise find a good experience.  Like other SCU’s, Fort Hays State provides accessible quality education because we use our resources very wisely:

Researchers calculated cost-efficiency indexes for residual (short-term) efficiency and for persistent (long-term) efficiency using four models. Across all models, the residual, or short-term, cost-efficiency index for public master’s institutions notched a mean of approximately 91 percent. The persistent, or long-term, cost-efficiency index mean came in between roughly 84 percent and 86 percent. It was 85.7 percent in two models.

“That represents the percentage of efficiency compared to an institution that’s 100 percent cost-efficient, so they’re using resources in an efficient way that would minimize their costs,”

Want to find out more about what our service mission and agile organization can do for you?  There’s more information here or you can contact us at

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Meet Ryan Terry – MBA Alumnus

Ryan Terry

I am a Ph.D. Candidate in the Department of Management at The University of Texas at Arlington.  I teach human resource management and organizational behavior and conduct research in the areas of strategic human resource management and sports management.

The China MBA program was easily the greatest experience of my life.  Not only did I receive a great education that prepared me to excel in a Ph.D. program, I also gained invaluable life experiences that caused me to change the way I look at the world which cannot be duplicated.

I chose the China MBA program for the remarkable opportunity to simultaneously earn an elite degree, live overseas and experience a new culture, and gain valuable teaching experience which led me to my chosen career.  I’ll never forget the adventure, ambiguity, challenge, and satisfaction that came with everyday life in China.

Ryan Terry
Arlington, TX

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How is Analytics Changing Higher Ed?

In EdTech Magazine today, a good summary of the big emerging technology trends in higher education.  At the FHSU Graduate School we are always looking for new ways to better serve our students, and the use of data-analytic technology is coming with our new Predictive Analytics system and ERP transition.

But focus on the back-end processes is one thing.  Student learning is another, as one of the panelists shared at the conference:

“How much do you direct a student toward the best practices for them, and how much do you teach them what best practices are by presenting a dashboard and letting them make their own decisions, based on those analytics, about what they should be doing next?”

As students, what were the things that contributed most to your success, and how can we capture them?

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Meet Our Graduate Students – Nancy Patel

Nancy PatelNancy Patel

St. Robert, Missouri

Nancy’s degree: Master of Professional Studies in Human Resource Management.  I graduated from FHSU in May 2016. In June I started working as HR Manager for Woodridge of Missouri LLC dba Piney Ridge Center, it is a residential behavioral treatment center for kids from ages 6 to 21. My position has allowed me to explore various aspects of HR. I am responsible to manage overall processes of the HR functions at my facility. In short amount of time that I have been here, I have already looked into many areas such as the recruitment processes, performance management, employee relations, FMLA, worker’s compensation, policies and procedures etc.

With a background in Psychology, I knew I loved working with people and HR was a perfect balance for me to help people grow and be part of their success.

At FHSU I got excellent mentoring for my career in HR and extremely hardworking, dedicated faculties, who wanted success for their students. HR program at FHSU is outstanding, as it gives students a balance of theory and application in the field.

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Splitting Education and Certification?

A provocative story in today’s Inside Higher Education reports on a group’s desire to uncouple career certification from higher education.

Specifically, the group calls for:

A better approach, the group said, would be for the federal government to push for the creation of a “national network of certified organizations that assess the learning and skills of young people before they enter the workforce.”

Many programs already have standardized disciplinary accreditation, such as CAEP that accredits FHSU’s teacher education programming.  Should accreditation be discipline-specific?  And what implications would discipline-specific accreditation hold?  How would multi- and cross-disciplinary programs be covered in this new model?

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