In 2017, a student walked into my office and said, “I heard that you are Microsoft Certified, and my professor mentioned I can get certified in Excel. Do you know how I can do that?” I cringed when I heard that question again as I would recommend another interested party visit a neighboring institution of learning that was offering the exams.
That conversation prompted me to collaborate with my colleagues in OIT Customer Service to make this program available here on campus. After a long whiteboarding session, discussing funding options and program ideas, we decided to launch a pilot program to test the waters and determine if there was strong enough interest on campus to make Microsoft Office Certifications (MOS) readily available. Little did I know then how quickly the program would take off.
On Friday, December 3, 2021, we hit a significant milestone when issuing our 3,000th certification to Elizabeth Bell. Elizabeth carries a major in Psychology with minors in Statistics, Neuroscience, Cognitive Science, and Women and Gender Studies. As part of the 3,000th certification issued, Elizabeth was awarded our MOS3K Study Prize Pack, a perfect addition to getting her ready for final exams.
Elizabeth shared with us, “Preparing for and taking the Excel Associate certification exam through SMU allowed me to obtain professional skills that are already useful to me as I am pursuing a career in research, skills that I otherwise may not have developed as an undergraduate.”
The Excel Associate certification exam is just one of the eight Microsoft Office exams offered on campus. This semester, 23 class sections participated in the program, with 573 students earning their industry-standard certification. Professor of Practice and Faculty-in-Residence, Carol Dickson-Carr was Elizabeth’s faculty member for ENGL 2102: Spreadsheet Literacy, Excel for Students in the Humanities and Natural Social Sciences.
“Having an on-campus location to take an industry-standard Microsoft certification is a godsend for the students. What they learn in the classroom supplemented by the practice exams on GMetrix set them up for success to pass the certification, which not only helps when they’re on the job search and in the classroom but actually in life in unexpected ways. Potential employers don’t have to guess [if they know the content] when they see that certification badge on their LinkedIn profile!”
Congratulations to Elizabeth and all of our recent, certified students! For more information on how you can earn Microsoft Office Certification or offer it in the classroom, visit smu.edu/certified or contact firstname.lastname@example.org.