Modern Campus

Modern Campus Helps Students Make Better Career Choices

An interview with Peter DeVries, CEO at Modern Campus

Q: A blog post on your company’s website mentions a recent survey by Strada. The survey shows that fewer than one-third of American adults understand the career pathways available to them.

What do you believe are the main reasons for this lack of understanding? How is Modern Campus working to address this issue and help individuals better understand their career options? For those who may not be familiar with Modern Campus, could you please give us a brief overview of your company?

The lack of understanding regarding available career pathways and skills offered by degree programs can be attributed to several reasons. 

Firstly, the complexity and diversity of educational offerings can overwhelm individuals, making it challenging for them to navigate various options. The traditional education system often lacks clear and easily accessible information about career pathways and the skills acquired through different degree programs. 

Additionally, limited exposure to real-world job experiences and insufficient career guidance further contribute to this lack of understanding. Many individuals may not have access to comprehensive resources or mentors who can help them explore and understand their career options effectively.

Modern Campus helps individuals make informed decisions about their educational pathways and career goals. 

The Career Pathways platform centralizes career, salary, and education information for learners across the country. It provides relevant labor market data—including salaries, job postings, and projected growth figures on the course, program, and certificate pages. 

Call-to-Action buttons encourage enrollment or meetings with advisors, while the Career and Program Explorer tool enables learners to research specific careers and view comprehensive search results. These include details on jobs, salaries, and programs offered by the institution. Modern Campus equips individuals with the knowledge needed to choose the best path to achieving their goals.

By consolidating data and providing accessible information, Modern Campus bridges the gap between education and careers. Learners gain insights into job market dynamics and opportunities in different regions, helping them understand career prospects associated with specific educational programs. 

The platform allows individuals to explore career options, align their educational choices with their goals, and plan their academic paths effectively. Modern Campus ensures learners have the necessary resources to succeed in their chosen fields.

About Modern Campus: Modern Campus empowers 1,700+ higher education institutions to attract, engage, and retain learners for life with software solutions that enable a modern student experience. 

The Modern Campus learner-to-earner lifecycle platform powers solutions for web content management, conversational text messaging, catalog and curriculum management, career pathways, student engagement and development, and non-traditional student management. 

The result: innovative institutions engage their modern learners for life while providing modern administrators with the tools needed to streamline workflows and drive high efficiency.

Q: In what situations is pursuing a high-quality certificate or certification a better option than a degree?

It’s critical for people to think about the education offerings they’re considering and to seriously reflect upon the outcomes they hope to achieve. 

For many people, it makes more sense to pursue a high-quality certificate instead of a degree to establish a clear pathway into a good job in a sustainable career. 

From there, as the individual advances, it may make sense for them to look back to higher education to see how they can continue to upskill and reskill to build their careers. 

Getting a degree right away isn’t always the best answer for everyone. Instead, like any consumer in any industry, someone considering a postsecondary education should research the products available in the market and pick the one that suits them best.

Q: In the long run, do you believe that the widespread adoption of microcredentials could lead to a significant shift in the way higher education is structured and delivered? If so, what might this new landscape look like?

Colleges and universities need to offer microcredentials that recognize learning achievements students gain en route to earning their degrees. 

Education isn’t binary where either you earn a degree and are educated, or you don’t earn a degree and are therefore not educated.

We need to introduce more granular credentials that recognize student achievements at every stage of their degree pathway to support their lifelong success.

This shift would promote a more flexible and personalized approach to education. Students could tailor their learning experiences, pursuing microcredentials that align with their specific interests and career goals. Additionally, employers would have a better understanding of the specific skills and knowledge acquired by individuals, allowing for more targeted hiring and professional development opportunities.

Overall, the adoption of microcredentials would revolutionize higher education by creating a more dynamic and adaptable learning landscape.

It would empower individuals to continuously enhance their skills, recognizing and valuing their achievements at every stage of their educational journey.

Q: How can higher education institutions strike a balance between offering microcredentials that cater to immediate labor market needs and providing a well-rounded education that prepares students for lifelong learning and adaptability in their careers?

Microcredentials and pathways are a perfect mechanism to attract students who might be on the fence about enrolling at a particular institution.

Microcredentials can serve as building blocks within a stackable credential system, providing individuals with a ladder to progressively accumulate qualifications that ultimately lead to the attainment of a degree. 

By promising pathways to more than a high-quality education and degree, but also credentials that are recognizable in the labor market and communicate specific skills and competencies, higher education institutions can leverage microcredentials to stand out in a crowded education marketplace. 

Microcredentialing through apprenticeship programs can serve as a testing ground for the viability of these non-degree credentials. By making the quality of education in non-degree programs clear and showing their impact on student success and outcomes, it won’t be long before more traditional academic units find ways to adapt and integrate microcredentials into their program offerings.

While microcredentials attract students with their immediate practical value, institutions can ensure a comprehensive educational experience by integrating them strategically into a student’s lifelong learning journey. 

By incorporating microcredentials within a broader curriculum, institutions can offer specialized skill development while also fostering critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication abilities. This holistic approach equips students with a strong foundation for lifelong learning and adaptability in their careers.

It acknowledges that education is not solely about job-specific skills but also about nurturing an intellectually curious mindset that encourages continuous growth and development. 

By embracing both microcredentials and well-rounded education, higher education institutions can strike a balance that prepares students for long-term success in an ever-evolving professional landscape.

Q: How common are apprenticeships in the U.S., and what is the best way for young adults to explore this option?

According to USA Facts, there are over 830,000 apprentices, an 82.1% increase between 2008 and 2021, and this trend is continuing. 

Apprenticeships are a perfect mechanism for introducing microcredentials to higher education institutions. These programs are designed specifically to help students simultaneously understand the theoretical frameworks needed for success in a given career field while also putting those skills to use on the job. 

Colleges and universities can leverage microcredentials to recognize more granular skills and competencies that students develop both on the job and in the classroom. They can also design programming to ensure students earn industry-recognized certifications while progressing toward the completion of their apprenticeship program. 

This will support the richness and relevance of the educational experience while ensuring that apprentices are properly prepared for success in their chosen career fields.