University of Illinois System

System Credentials Working Group

The non-degree credential market has exploded in recent years and each of the three U of I System universities offers a variety of non-degree programs. At the system level, DPI has also entered the credential space. Due to the relatively nascent state of the market, there is limited consistency among programs across the system and the definitions of different types of credentials vary widely, both internally to the system as well as externally. As units across the system continue to develop new educational programs, the EVP saw a need to agree on some general baseline definitions and criteria to guide our faculty and staff while maintaining flexibility, so that each university and unit can tailor programs to their specific audiences and partners.

In June of 2023, EVP Nick Jones charged the System Credentials Working Group to explore the status of non-degree credentials across the system. 

Members of the working group included:

  • Vickie Cook, Vice Chancellor for Enrollment & Retention Management, UIS, Chair
  • Kelly Birky, Senior Associate Director for Marketing & Communications, CITL, UIUC
  • Amanda Brantner, Director of Content & Educational Portfolio Strategy, Gies College of Business, UIUC
  • Dara Crowfoot, Assistant Vice Chancellor of UIC Extended Campus, UIC
  • Sophia Gehlhausen, Assistant Director, University Academic Programs & Services (UAPS)
  • John Hart, Professor of Computer Science & Director of the Office of Professional Education, UIUC
  • Ranjan Karri, Director of Academic Affairs, Discover Partners Institute (DPI)
  • Kristy Kuntz, Executive Associate Provost for Academic Programs & Policies, UIUC
  • Layne Morsch, Interim Associate Provost of Online, Professional & Engaged Learning, UIS
  • Angela Prazza Winters, Assistant Dean for Online Programs, UIC
  • Nikos Varelas, Vice Provost for Academic Programs & Effectiveness, UIC
  • Jorge Villegas, Associate Dean, College of Business & Management, UIS
  • Dana Wright, Director of the Office of Academic Program Development, UIC
  • Kostas Yfantis, Associate Director for Learning Innovation, College of LAS, UIUC
  • Sarah Zehr Gantz, Senior Assistant Vice President, System Offices, ex officio

The group was charged with the following tasks:

  • Review existing non-degree credential offerings at each university and DPI to understand what is currently offered
  • Develop a library of non-degree credential categories and clearly define each category and how it differs from the others
  • Develop recommendations on criteria for each non-degree credential category
  • Develop recommendations on the process for approval of non-degree credentials, maintaining an appropriate level of flexibility to meet the needs of units and universities
  • Suggest a methodology to place current offerings into the recommended structure