The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
Since 1888
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.
The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University

The Vanderbilt Hustler

The official student newspaper of Vanderbilt University.

Career Center launches VandyPASS career certification program

Students can now earn digital badges for skills outside the classroom to share with employers.
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Ophelia Lu
The outside of the Student Life Center, as photographed on Sept. 30, 2022. (Hustler Multimedia/Ophelia Lu)

The Vanderbilt Career Center recently launched the Vanderbilt Pathways Achieving Skills and Success (VandyPASS), a digital badging program that awards students specific career readiness skills. The program launched at a Sept. 6 event hosted by the Career Center.

VandyPASS tracks experiential learning opportunities that are difficult to measure in a classroom setting, from attending job recruitment informational sessions to participating in group projects. The digital badges fall into one or more of eight career-ready competency categories designed by the National Association of Colleges and Employers: Career and Self-Development; Communication; Critical Thinking; Equity and Inclusion; Leadership; Professionalism; Teamwork; and Technology.

“[VandyPASS] is a way for students and scholars to be able to capture all of the wonderful things they are already doing at Vanderbilt and apply them to these eight key competencies that employers said they were looking for in recent graduates,” Nicole Doctor, director of Vanderbilt’s business operations for career advancement and engagement, said.

The Career Center’s new Assistant Director of Badging Skills Allison Otto emphasized the need to adapt to a changing job recruiting landscape.

“It’s more important now than ever to invest in a digital badging program due to COVID-19 changing the recruiting landscape,” Otto said. “We are early adopters of digital badges, and, through this program, we will have more data and ways to help Vanderbilt students be marketable to employers.” 

One of the four pillars of the Greek Member Experience (GME) has been replaced by VandyPASS. For the 2023-24 academic year, Greek Life members must earn 300 points on VandyPASS to meet these requirements. Senior Jack Bukovnik, president of the Interfraternity Council, commented on how VandyPASS may allow for more extensive campus engagement from Greek Life Members.

“While I wasn’t involved with the decision to move to Vandypass, I think it could be very helpful in encouraging and measuring involvement from the Greek community more comprehensively,” Bukovnik said. “The previous GME individual component only measured attendance at six events per year, whereas VandyPASS measures involvement in leadership positions and preprofessional development, while still giving credit for attending a wide range of events by earning points towards its core competencies.”

VandyPASS is managed by the company Suitable, which has a mobile app that students can use to track their badges. Handshake is now also connected to VandyPASS. AnchorLink is currently also in the process of being connected. Once gained, badges can be shared on social media for employers to see. 

Sophomore Joel Berinstein, a member of Vanderbilt’s Gamma Delta Zeta chapter of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, said he is also looking forward to the increased accessibility of GME credit tracking with the Suitable app. However, he added that he is a little hesitant about the structural changes the program will make. 

“From my perspective, GME has always been a Vanderbilt policy that floats over all members of Greek Life, but not something that is difficult to satisfy,” Berinstein said. “I think linking GME to VandyPASS will give it more focus from members since it will possibly be a recruitment technique for jobs and internships.”

Junior Kyle Vallone, though initially excited about the program, felt let down by the actual outcomes of VandyPASS.

“I thought it would be a good step toward the badging/micro-credentialing that the Future of the Arts and Science Curriculum initiative had recommended exploring,” Vallone said. “Looking at the launch website, though, it seems fairly underwhelming, especially when I can maintain my own portfolio on networking websites like LinkedIn. I don’t see a generic communication or leadership badge doing much for me when I can already represent my experiences in those areas on my profile.”

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About the Contributors
Shyla Lensing
Shyla Lensing, Staff Writer
Shyla Lensing (‘27) is from Corte Madera, Calif., and is double majoring in human and organizational development and public policy studies in Peabody College. Outside of The Hustler, you can find her running, solving NYT mini crosswords or eating an obscene amount of popcorn. She can be reached at [email protected].
Ophelia Lu
Ophelia Lu, Deputy Photography Editor
Ophelia Lu (’26) is from Los Angeles and is double majoring in biomedical and electrical engineering in the School of Engineering. She previously served as a staff photographer. When not covering events and sports games for The Hustler, you can find her listening to a lot of music, studying at Starbucks or lying on Alumni lawn. She can be reached at [email protected].
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