Student and Academic Life

UK’s Digital Badge Pilot Program Resumes This Summer

Man working on computer.
Pete Comparoni | UK Photo.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (June 2, 2021) — The University of Kentucky's Digital Badge pilot program will resume this summer with over 20 badges available. The program gives UK students and non-UK students an opportunity to take courses in a specific area, regardless of their major or current studies, with the ability to earn demonstrated competency in a specific skill or area of expertise.

“We are in our second summer of the Digital Badging pilot. Faculty embrace this innovation because it allows us to pull back the veil on our courses and show explicitly the kinds of essential analytical skills our students are developing in their course work,” said Associate Provost of Teaching, Learning and Academic Innovation Kathi Kern. “Employers seek graduates who are critical thinkers, problem solvers, adept communicators and seasoned collaborators. Those very skills are at the heart of how we teach and learn at UK. Digital badges are a way to acknowledge our students’ achievement along the way, and also to enable our students to advertise their strengths and expertise to future employers.”

Badges are offered in a variety of fields. With no prerequisites required to earn a badge, students have the opportunity for professional growth in areas that are directly related to their future or current career interests, or they can try something new to diversify their skill set. 

The program requires students to complete two related online courses to earn a digital badge in the area of their choosing. Recipients of digital badges can display them on their LinkedIn profiles and personal websites as visual credentials of their knowledge and skills. 

Leslie Vincent, senior lecturer in the UK Department of Marketing and Supply Chain, teaches one of the courses that leads to a digital marketing badge in the Gatton College of Business and Economics. The relevant courses will be offered online this summer, enabling students to earn a badge in eight weeks. 

"The digital badge provides students with the opportunity to develop a skill set that is highly valued by employers," Vincent said. "Digital marketing is a specialized skill and, as a field, is projected to grow over 25% over the next two years. Digital marketing is a skill that commands a salary premium. Email marketing is another example. Our faculty work with students to deepen their expertise in this area, and it too is an area which is projected to grow in the job market. The badge is a visible, usable credential of the skills the students are developing.”

The program will run through December 2021. Currently, students cannot transfer a course to earn a badge, nor can they apply classes they have taken in the past for a digital badge. The pilot will also not involve official transcripts provided by the university.

For more information on Digital Badges, visit https://summer.uky.edu/courses-and-programs/badges. To register for a Summer 2021 course to earn a digital badge, click here

The University of Kentucky is increasingly the first choice for students, faculty and staff to pursue their passions and their professional goals. In the last two years, Forbes has named UK among the best employers for diversity, and INSIGHT into Diversity recognized us as a Diversity Champion four years running. UK is ranked among the top 30 campuses in the nation for LGBTQ* inclusion and safety. UK has been judged a “Great College to Work for" three years in a row, and UK is among only 22 universities in the country on Forbes' list of "America's Best Employers."  We are ranked among the top 10 percent of public institutions for research expenditures — a tangible symbol of our breadth and depth as a university focused on discovery that changes lives and communities. And our patients know and appreciate the fact that UK HealthCare has been named the state’s top hospital for five straight years. Accolades and honors are great. But they are more important for what they represent: the idea that creating a community of belonging and commitment to excellence is how we honor our mission to be not simply the University of Kentucky, but the University for Kentucky.