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Potential change in number of credits for certificate programs

By   Dave Thompson, Prairie Public Broadcasting

By Dave Thompson

November 28,2017

Prairie Public Broadcasting

The state Board of Higher Education will be asked to approve changes to the “certificate of completion” program.

Under the current program, a student can receive a “Certificate of Completion” after completing a minimum of 16 semester hours in a program. The proposal would drop that to 9 hours.

"They're probably remnants of when the University System was on quarters, and courses were 4 credits each," said North Dakota University System director of academic affairs Lisa Johnson. "This change will help us achieve institutional, state and national aspirations to increase our degree and credential attainment."

Johnson said North Dakota is part of an effort by the Lumina Foundation to increase the number of certificates and degrees awarded.

"At present, we have about 49 percent of our population having an educational attainment beyond high school," Johnson said. "Our state goal is to have an attainment of 65 percent by 2025."

Johnson said the University System is working with Job Service North Dakota to help align the certificate programs around workforce needs.

"We're using Job Service's in-demand occupations, identifying those, creating more certificates of completion around that, so that the credit hours are helpful to achieve that," Johnson said.

The full Board of Higher Education takes up the change Thursday. It's been approved by the Board's Budget and Finance Committee.