Certification process with multiple academic programs to focus on quality and career readiness to meet needs of Kentucky employers

Murray State University has announced an expanded partnership with The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education the first of its kind to certify programs in every academic college and school within an institution The new certification process will involve seven of the University's academic programs to evaluate how well the University is preparing graduates to be ready for lifelong employability
Murray State University has announced an expanded partnership with The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education (QA Commons), the first of its kind to certify programs in every academic college and school within an institution. The new certification process will involve seven of the University’s academic programs to evaluate how well the University is preparing graduates to be ready for lifelong employability.

MURRAY, Ky. — Murray State University has announced an expanded partnership with The Quality Assurance Commons for Higher and Postsecondary Education (QA Commons), the first of its kind to certify programs in every academic college and school within an institution. The new certification process will  involve seven of the University’s academic programs to evaluate how well the University is preparing graduates to be ready for lifelong employability.

“We are very proud of the leadership of the deans, chairs, faculty and staff in these seven academic program areas which will undergo an extensive examination to further enhance essential employability qualities,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Tim Todd. “The outcome of these examinations will be nationally-recognized academic programs which have, as part of their core values, the narrowing of the gap between higher education and employment.”

The pandemic has further accelerated the shift to lifelong learning and the need for institutions to demonstrate relevance.  An example is seen by the Music Business program.

“The music business industry is very diverse and graduates must have essential skills in order to find employment,” said Karen Kane, instructor and music business program director at Murray State. “Through this partnership, we hope to more clearly document the success of our graduates, adapt learning outcomes so that graduates continue to be successful in employment, and actively recruit our program.”

The certification process, which began earlier this year, is multidisciplinary with the following programs participating, including nearly 70 faculty members:

  • Public and Community Health (School of Nursing and Health Professions)
  • Music Business (College of Humanities and Fine Arts)
  • Animal Technology (Hutson School of Agriculture)
  • Agricultural Science (Hutson School of Agriculture)
  • Criminal Justice (College of Education and Human Services)
  • Organizational Communication and Leadership (Arthur J. Bauernfeind College of Business)
  • History/Social Studies (College of Humanities and Fine Arts)

“We are delighted to have this partnership with Murray State,” said Ralph Wolff, Founder and President of QA Commons. “The University is a pioneer in demonstrating across all academic colleges and schools of the University that its graduates are well prepared with the skills employers state are most needed for the dynamically changing workforce.”

In 2019, the University’s occupational safety and health, construction engineering technology and cybersecurity and network management programs through the Jesse D. Jones College of Science, Engineering and Technology, were granted Essential Employability Qualities Certification through QA Commons. After discovering critical value in the certification process, the University decided to move forward in including a program from each of the other academic colleges and schools.

Each academic program has a lead faculty member who works with QA Commons throughout the certification process to gain understanding about employability of their graduates, develop outcomes in their curricular development, improve connections to employers and integrate employability-enhancing practices specific to their curriculum. Best practices shown by these programs will be shared across the University to broaden impact.

Murray State offers a total of 145 academic programs and is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award associate, bachelor’s, master’s, specialist and doctoral degrees.

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