Our Summary Checklist for Working with Universities for Continuing Education

Managers of analytics organizations and their employees have a wide range of online and in-person options for “analytical upskilling” - including Certificates, Digital Badges, Micro-credentials, Certifications, MOOCs, and Mini Degrees. Most large research universities will offer most of these options - with the exception of Certifications, which are typically managed by an industry-specific credential- ing organization like the Bar Association. In the context of university partnerships, continuing education options are more commonly an extension of an existing relationship rather than as a starting point.

Our suggested checklist for extending your university relationship into continuing education for your existing employees includes:

/ If you have an established relationship with a university, determine if they have a College of Continuing (or Professional) Education (they probably do). Determine what “analytical upskilling” options are available. Be clear on your objectives - do your employees actually need to pursue “degrees” or are they just looking to develop specific skills that their position requires?

/ If you have successfully hired graduates from this university in the past, determine which courses the alumni felt were particularly relevant to their roles. See if those courses are open and available to your other employees. If not, see if they can be. Depending on the faculty member, they may be willing to come on-site and teach the material directly (for a fee).

/ Consider the possibility of having a full program (like an MS in Data Science) delivered on-site with your data. While there will be costs involved to offset the faculty time and effort, this could be a particularly efficient upskilling option - allowing you to integrate your organization’s proprietary data into the exercises and class examples. In this option, the data never leaves your organization and is only accessed by your employees (instructing faculty are under a Non-Disclosure Agreement). In addition, the “class” can work on “real” organizational projects as part of the course material.

/ You should consider creating a “cohort” of employees to proceed through a continuing education module(s) together — the employees will have a more relevant experience and are more likely to integrate their learnings (creating a stronger ROI for the organization).

/ If you are sponsoring a research lab, ask the faculty (and doctoral students) to regularly give informal talks (e.g., “lunch and learns”), where the objective is to develop ongoing exposure to “thought leadership” in analytics and data science.

Endnotes

  • 1. Lorri Freifeld (2019). Training Magazine https://trainingmag.com/trgmag-article/ 2019-training-industry-report/ Accessed July 1, 2020.
  • 2. Franklin Covey (1989). The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change. Simon & Schuster: New York, NY.
  • 3. Alina Tugend (2019). 60 Years of Higher Ed - Really! New York Times. https://www. nytimes.com/2019/10/10/education/learning/60-year-curriculum-higher-education. html Accessed July 2, 2020.
  • 4. Google search results can be restricted to. edu domains under “Settings” and then to “Advanced Search”.
  • 5. Peter Greene (2019). Education Micro-Credentials 101: Why Do We Need Badges. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/petergreene/2019/02/l6/education-micro-credentials- 101-why-do-we-need-badges/#6923991524l9 Accessed July 1, 2020.
  • 6. University of Dallas https://udallas.edu/microcredentials/index.php Accessed May 22,
  • 2020.
  • 7. edX https://www.edx.org/masters/online-master-data-science-utaustinx Accessed July 2, 2020.
  • 8. INFORMS - Certified Analytics Professional Credential https://www. certifiedanalytics.org/ Accessed July 1, 2020.
  • 9. SAS Institute https://www.sas.com/en_us/home.html Accessed July 2, 2020.
 
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