USAO receives micro-credential grants

Dr. Brian McWilliams, Dr. Karen Karner, Tarrah Kinney
Dr. Brian McWilliams, Dr. Karen Karner, Tarrah Kinney

The University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma recently received three $15,000 grants for new micro-credentials through the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s Upskill OK grant program.

The three micro-credentials will provide career-critical skills in education and organizational communication. The grants will be used for student scholarships, employer engagement and faculty training.

"The micro-credential program is yet another way USAO is preparing students and members of our community for the workforce,” said Dr. Donna Miles, vice president for academic affairs. “These grants will enable us to provide in-demand industry skills to support our state's economy."

Tarrah Kinney, instructor of education, was the recipient of a grant to create a micro-credential focused on foundational special education practices related to students with autism, instructing exceptional children, and Individualized Education Plan compliance. The program aims to help current and returning students build expertise in understanding the effects of students with disabilities, implementing inclusive practices, and staying compliant with special education law.

Dr. Brian McWilliams, assistant professor of English, received a grant to create a micro-credential in organizational communication. The micro-credential aims to equip students with skills in formal elements of specific genres of organizational communication, ethical considerations, critical analysis of data and professional rhetoric. Students will explore different format features in both print, multimedia and HTML documents, and develop document design skills. The program emphasizes practical application in business or technical settings.

Dr. Karen Karner, associate professor of speech-language pathology received a grant for a micro-credential titled Inclusivity of Communication Disorders in the Classroom. This micro-credential targets current college students and career changers, offering a deeper understanding of communication sciences and disorders, the assessment, treatment and prevention of communication disorders, and the IEP and 504 process. Students will gain deeper understanding of how children develop speech and language and how congenital or acquired disruptions can hinder development and academic success.  

In the face of rapidly evolving workforce demands, Oklahoma's industries are in continuous need for a specialized and credentialed labor force. Micro-credentials provide specific career critical skills, competencies and knowledge that can be readily transferred to the workplace.

For more information about USAO’S micro-credential programs, visit

About the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma

As Oklahoma’s liberal arts college, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma provides a distinctive education in the liberal arts and sciences, supporting both its interdisciplinary core curriculum and major fields of study with superior teaching. USAO fosters diversity of thought and practice to help students realize meaningful, purposeful and productive lives as global citizens in a rapidly-changing world.