An academic transcript is useful for illustrating success in courses. But many students also develop important skills that aren’t captured on a transcript or diploma.
Is there a way to easily show prospective employers accomplishments in these areas?
Over the past year, the Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory has been developing one. The Changemaker Badges program awards digital tokens of achievement, called badges, to students who engage in social-innovation activities within the Fordham community and their community at large.
Jackson Brietze, BS ’18, manages this pilot program. He shares more details about it in the Q-and-A below.
Can you explain the pilot program?
In spring 2017, between 20 and 30 student members of the Fordham Social Innovation Collaboratory became part of the program. When they participated in a conference, internship, or activity related to a core skill in social innovation, they could apply online to receive a badge. If the request was approved, the student was awarded a badge to add to his or her digital collection. Badges can be connected to LinkedIn to showcase a person’s accomplishments.
What are the classes or groups that you’re hoping will use badges this fall?
We hope to incorporate the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals into Changemaker Badges and run another trial within the collaboratory before eventually bringing it to the Gabelli School’s Ground Floor classes.
How do you see this program expanding in the future?
In the short term—one to three years—I see this program as a way for students to be recognized for the work they are doing outside of the classroom involving core competencies of social innovation. Also, programs such as the collaboratory can use it to gain a better understanding of Fordham students’ impact in the community.
Over the longer term, I see a program that can merge with the traditional higher-education model, in which professors can assign students to earn badges and in which badges are recognized as valid markers of achievement. Students would build their academic base through classes and their practical applicability through badges and ultimately come out more prepared for their post-college careers.