VCU Global Education Office offering two new microcredential digital badges – VCU News


“The digital badging that is now being offered through the Global Education Office is yet another example of ‘at-home internationalization’ and is an innovative global initiative that benefits the entire VCU community,” said Jill Blondin, Ph.D., associate vice provost for global initiatives. “The knowledge that is gained through Global Zone training not only enhances professional development, but it also equips faculty and staff members to serve our international student community optimally.”

The Global Zone badge, which is geared toward university faculty and staff, teaches them about how to best serve VCU’s international student population. The program comes with a sticker, similar to the VCU Safe Zone training, as visual indicators can make international students feel more comfortable about training the recipient undertook, according to Sarah Carrier, associate director of global learning.

“We do a baseline intercultural communication training as part of that cultural theory, as well as go over scenarios that come up somewhat often in working, teaching [and] advising international students on campus,” she said.

The Peace Corps Prep badge is geared toward students. GEO, which offers the certification in conjunction with the Peace Corps, is seeing expanding interest in the program.

Stephanie Tignor, director of global learning, said the badge training can benefit students even if they don’t intend to join the Peace Corps, as the instruction emphasizes experiences that reflect a more globalized world.

“A program like the Peace Corps Prep … also engages students in service in the community [and] engages them with local organizations, which helps make connections for them that could open doors for their future,” Tignor said.

She added that as virtual training expands, both microcredentials create greater awareness of the GEO’s services – and that seeing the Global Zone badge online had already sparked interest in that program. But the staff is eager to offer their expertise beyond the badge, too.

“We have people ready to help beyond just the Global Zone training itself – we are a resource,” Tignor said.

And Carrier said that for educators and students, the badges offer a way to show off their commitment to individual development.

“We definitely know from faculty and staff that it’s something that they were interested in, and I have had a few students say, ‘That’s nice that I can have that on my LinkedIn,’” she said. “It was just another way for us to have those skills recognized for folks that participate in our programs.”

For more information on GEO initiatives, visit the office’s website or email [email protected].