UPCEA Announces Selection of Credential Innovation Consortium Members

October 11, 2023

10 institutions selected for grant-funded pilot consortium

WASHINGTON (October 11, 2023) – UPCEA, the online and professional education association, is thrilled to announce the selection of ten institutions to be part of a small pilot consortium fueled by UPCEA’s “Building Capacity, Expanding Pathways: Accelerating the Growth of Credential Innovation in Higher Education” project. The project aims to facilitate and expedite the adoption of scalable business and program models by colleges and universities, supporting the development and delivery of noncredit, short-term credentials to local, regional, or statewide businesses.

The selected consortium members are:

  • Kansas State University
  • National University
  • North Carolina A&T State University
  • Schoolcraft College
  • University of California, Davis
  • University of Maine System
  • University of North Texas
  • Vanderbilt University
  • Villanova University
  • Virginia Commonwealth University

These institutions have been chosen based on their strong commitment to expanding credential innovation. They will work collaboratively as a community of practice within the pilot consortium, sharing data, experiences, and ultimately disseminating results broadly across the UPCEA membership. This collaboration aims to identify viable and scalable business and program models for offering workforce-relevant credentials.

“We were truly inspired by the overwhelming interest and the remarkable work being done by UPCEA members in the realm of credential innovation. The caliber of applications we received was outstanding, showcasing a rich tapestry of initiatives from various institutions,” said the Co-Principal Investigators for the grant, Amy Heitzman, UPCEA Deputy CEO and Chief Learning Officer, and Aaron Brower, Special Advisor to UPCEA. “The selection of these ten consortium members represents a group of trailblazers in the field, committed to shaping the future of education by redefining how we deliver short-term, workforce-relevant credentials. Their dedication and enthusiasm for this project will undoubtedly drive impactful and scalable outcomes, setting a precedent for the broader education landscape.” 

The selected institutions will receive comprehensive support throughout the project, which concludes on June 30, 2024. The support includes guidance through an institutional assessment based on UPCEA’s Hallmarks of Excellence in Credential Innovation, results from national benchmarking of effective business models producing direct-to-business microcredentials, and customized research to identify market opportunities for noncredit workforce training.

Additionally, the consortium members will establish productive engagements with local, regional, or statewide businesses/organizations to generate microcredential outlines or syllabi. Consortium members will be present at key UPCEA events, such as the 2023 Convergence: Credential Innovation in Higher Education (November 1-3, 2023, Washington, DC) and the UPCEA 2024 Annual Conference (March 26-28, 2024, Boston, MA), to disseminate their results and lessons learned. Each institution is also receiving a $10,000 honorarium for their dedicated participation.


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UPCEA is the online and professional education association. Our members positively impact millions of lives by continuously reinventing higher education. We advance the professional field through cutting edge research, professional development, networking and mentorship, conferences and seminars, and stakeholder advocacy. Our collaborative, entrepreneurial community brings together decision makers and influencers in education, industry, research, and policy interested in improving educational access and outcomes. Learn more about us at and follow us on social media @UPCEA.



Molly Nelson, UPCEA Vice President of Communications, [email protected] 


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