Two major trends are shaping higher education today. One is that attracting high quality students has become even more competitive. Second, the job market for college graduates is gradually improving, but still challenging. Together, these trends make it all the more important that universities are not just providing a well-rounded education for undergraduates, but are also specifically preparing them to successfully enter the workforce.
Here in the Management Information Systems department of the Temple University Fox School of Business we’ve developed an innovative system for motivating students to engage in their Professional Development.
Here’s how our department chair, Munir Mandviwalla, describes it:
We implemented a point system for our program about 1.5 years ago so that students need to achieve 1000 professional development points before they can graduate. More recently, we introduced a leaderboard that showcases the students with the most amount of points. Today, I am pleased to announce ‘professional achievement’ badges for our students.
The badge levels are:
- Grand Master (2000 plus): The pinnacle of professional readiness. Grand Master’s have extensive experience in engaging with industry, have demonstrated extensive leadership and communication skills, and are likely to take on leadership roles in the future.
- Master (1500 plus): The master of professional achievement. Master’s have gone above and beyond all the basic requirements and excelled in every category of professional development, career knowledge, networking and are expected to be stars in their careers.
- Candidate (1000 plus): The complete well rounded student. Candidates have excelled in meeting all the department’s requirements for professional development. They are ready for the workplace!
- Apprentice (700 plus): Apprentices have started investing in their professional development early and are well on track to meet the department’s requirements for professional achievement.
Coming up with appropriate labels and a way to describe it all was incredibly challenging! We will do a soft roll out over the summer and then more formally in the fall. I am sure we will learn from this experience and after a year we will take another look at the levels, labels, and point categories and revise and improve.
As Munir says, it’s not easy to define meaningful levels and appealing badges. And, yet, it’s one of those many little details that goes into designing and implementing effective gamification.
What do you think? Would a system of points, levels, and badges have helped you work harder on your own professional development in college? If you hire recent college graduates, would a badge like this be of value to you in assessing student abilities?