Digital badge system helps students develop skills


Customized badges and skill qualifications allow students to develop hands-on professional skills.

University of California, Davis
January 9, 2014


Groundbreaking digital badge system for sustainable agriculture program

UC Davis is creating what may be higher education’s most promising digital badge system, an add-on that could be valuable for students. It’s part of the new sustainable agriculture and food systems (SAFS) major. The badges help document competency-based education in a multidisciplinary major (with seven competencies).

Students are now using the badging system in a testing mode. Joanna Normoyle, experiential learning coordinator for the SAFS major, says that the badges allow students to “differentiate themselves and tell a narrative.”

[Read the full story on the badges that was profiled by Paul Fain at Inside Higher Ed.]

Other student programs at UC Davis are using similar badging programs, including the Hydrologic Sciences Graduate Group’s “skill qualifications”. Programs like this allow students to develop professional competency skills and benefit from hands-on experiential learning. Professor Greg Pasternack, a watershed hydrologist, notes that the skill qualifications are professional and career-relevant.

These tailored badge and skill programs are becoming more popular among students, and hopefully by employers who want graduates with academic knowledge and experiential learning skills.

Media contacts:

  • Joanna Normoyle, Agricultural Sustainability Institute, UC Davis, 530-219-6256,
  • Greg Pasternack, Dept. of Land, Air and Water Resources, UC Davis, 530-302-5658,


College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, UC Davis, contact: