2023: Championing Excellence Through Certification

Certiport MOS Top 10 awardIn 2019, the Office of Information Technology added the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification as an official service offering. Over the years, we have continued expanding and growing participation in these industry-leading assessments. In 2023, we have several milestones to celebrate. Not only did SMU students, staff, and faculty successfully complete over 5,000 Microsoft certifications since launching the pilot program, but we also added several new faculty to the roster requiring certification for their courses. Most of all, one of our SMU undergraduate students received the top score for the state of Texas.

Amanda Maruster is a junior majoring in Accounting with a minor in Statistics and Psychology. This spring, she was the 5,000 MOS certification awarded when she completed the exam for Allen Gwinn’s Information Technology Operations Management (ITOM) class. According to Amanda, “Earning the certification has helped me a lot as it is a practical and valuable tool that can be used not only in a college setting but also in the professional work world.

Microsoft Associate badgeIn August, OIT began offering the latest versions of the Microsoft Office Specialist exams: Microsoft 365 Apps Associate and Microsoft 365 Apps Expert. With the launch of the new term, we also partnered with 16 faculty across 27 class sections to offer one of the Microsoft Office Specialist certification exams as part of a class requirement or for extra credit.

Ryan Clinton
Ryan Clinton

In October, we featured a piece on a student who had achieved two out of three MOS exams with perfect scores. Ryan Clinton, a senior majoring in Economics with a focus on Financial Applications, in discussing his path to certification, encouraged others, “I’d strongly encourage other students to pursue certifications. It’s an investment in your future that can only benefit you.” Ryan’s investment is starting to pay dividends.

In December, it was announced that he was the top student in Texas for MOS certification in Excel. Students from SMU also picked up second place in PowerPoint and third place in Excel. According to Dominique Delbar, Field Marketing Manager for Pearson, “Texas is very competitive, and most students in the top 10 have perfect scores.” When it comes to the top scores, many of them are a perfect 1,000—a passing score is 700 or greater—and officials then must look at completion times for the ranking. Ryan not only achieved a perfect score, but also completed the exam successfully faster than any other student in Texas.

As a reminder, the Microsoft Office Specialist (MOS) certification is free for all faculty, staff, and students as part of the Office of Information Technology’s IT Training outreach. Training materials and practice exams are provided, with certification testing being offered 5 days a week during the fall and spring terms. For more information, please visit smu.edu/certifited.

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Ian Aberle

Ian Aberle is an Adobe Creative Educator and the Senior IT Communications Specialist & Trainer for the Office of Information Technology (OIT). For over 25 years, he has helped the SMU community use technology and implement digital and web media through multiple roles with the Digital Commons, SMU STAR Program, and now OIT. Ian enjoys photography and road trips with his family in his free time.