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Thursday, May 14, 2020

From the President

Posted: Thursday, May 14, 2020

Response to College Senate Recommendation: Policy on Micro-Credentials

At its February 14, 2019, meeting, the College Senate voted in favor of the following resolution brought forth by the College Senate Instruction and Research Committee (I&R) for a new DOPS Policy for Micro-Credentials:

WHEREAS, Buffalo State is committed to each student's success and the value of individualized learning; and

WHEREAS, Buffalo State is committed to supporting lifelong learning; and

WHEREAS, Buffalo State is committed to motivating students to persist; and

WHEREAS, Buffalo State is committed to provide a pathway to higher education; and

WHEREAS, Buffalo State is committed to students distinguish themselves in the marketplace,

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that in accordance with the SUNY policy and our to mission* to empower students to succeed and to inspire a lifelong passion for learning that Buffalo State adopt a policy on micro-credentials.


Policy Number:      
Subject: Micro-Credentials

Definition of Micro-Credentials

Micro-credentials verify, validate, and attest that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved and are endorsed by the issuing institution, having been developed through established faculty governance processes and designed to be meaningful and high quality.

Types of Micro-Credentials
SUNY Buffalo State recognizes four types of micro-credentials that are covered by this policy. All micro-credentials described below can be credit or non-credit bearing and stackable.

  1. Curricular Micro-Credentials: Curricular micro-credentials involve minimally 1 credit hour and no more than 15 credit hours, and may combine credit-bearing courses and non-credit-bearing activities. These micro-credentials must be reviewed and approved through the regular process of curriculum approval for their level. These micro-credentials may be awarded and found on a transcript or co-curricular document.
  2. Professional Pathways: Mapped to skills and competencies desired in a particular professional field, these pathways generally include academic courses and experiential learning. Often they will be interdisciplinary. Specific academic assignments will be identified in each course that map to the skills and competencies identified for the particular professional field.
  3. Skill and Competency Badges: Offered to current students and complementing the curriculum, these are smaller badges that help earners obtain and demonstrate skills. These badges can be stand-alone or built into a course.
  4. Continuing Education Badges: Used for lifelong learning, professional training in collaboration with employers, or a smaller version of a larger graduate or certificate program.

Certificates of participation (participated in a workshop, training, or co-curricular activity external to a course) and external credentials (designed and administered by external organizations or vendors such as Lynda badges, Google Certification, Microsoft certification, mandated state or SUNY training), may be of value to SUNY Buffalo State and may be made available or required as part of some programs on campus. These are not covered by this policy. The use of gamification and badging within a course that do not lead to a SUNY Buffalo State micro-credential is not covered by this policy.

Guiding Principles

The following guiding principles should be considered when proposing a micro-credential:

  • Academic quality is paramount and should reflect the standards guiding curriculum and assessment as defined and articulated by academic departments and schools and governed by the policies and procedures of the College Senate.
  • Aligned with campus mission and strategic goals.
  • Aligned with industry/sector standards designed to meet assessed market needs.
  • Portable and have value beyond the institution.
  • Stackable, which means that multiple micro-credentials can be accumulated over time and could lead to credit bearing coursework, a more advanced badge, or a registered certificate.


  1. Anyone who is eligible to take the required credit or non-credit courses/programs or engage in the co-curricular activities may earn a micro-credential. At the discretion of the faculty, the eligibility requirements might include a minimum GPA or other criteria for matriculated students, and/or an application process for non-matriculated students.
  2. Micro-credentials are awarded upon successful completion of the specific requirements for that credential.
  3. Micro-credentials should have clear, measurable outcomes, assessments aligned to the outcomes, and evidence of mastery of the outcomes through reliable and valid assessments.
  4. Only credit bearing micro-credentials may be stacked for credit.
  5. SUNY Buffalo State micro-credentials may or may not be transferable to other campuses.
  6. Verification of successful completion of a micro-credential may result in a grade within a course or a notation of satisfactory completion.

Approval Process

The department chair will submit the micro-credential proposal via the online workflow management system. The micro-credential proposal will be reviewed following the guidelines outlined in this policy.


Micro-Credentials at SUNY

SUNY Taxonomy of Terms for Micro-Credentials

I hereby accept the recommendation of the College Senate and charge the provost with responsibility for overseeing the implementation of this policy change and for communicating the change to the campus community.