We believe Portfolium BadgeLink can provide the technical infrastructure we need to take B.E.S.T. to the next level for our institutions.


The University System of Maryland (USM) has partnered with Portfolium to support the system’s career-readiness digital badging initiative, “Badging Essential Skills for Transitions” (B.E.S.T.). As an early strategic partner of Portfolium’s digital badging and learning pathways platform, BadgeLink, USM’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation has established itself as a leader in cutting-edge educational initiatives aimed at improving student success.

As an innovative way to validate and better communicate graduates’ career-ready skills, the B.E.S.T. initiative focuses on helping students develop eight competencies identified by employers as critical for career success: Collaboration, Communication, Critical Thinking, Globalism, Interculturalism, Leadership, Problem Solving, and Professionalism. These skills are drawn from the NACE (National Association of Colleges and Employers) Career Readiness Competencies framework.

BadgeLink is the latest innovation from Portfolium’s student success platform which allows institutions to track student learning along curricular and co-curricular pathways and automatically award digital badges when students have unlocked achievements or demonstrated competencies.

Initially, five institutions within the system will begin piloting BadgeLink in the summer session and fall semester, and the Kirwan Center will be using Portfolium’s reporting tools for institutional and system-wide assessment of the initiative. The system structured a multi-year agreement with expansion incentives for USM institutions to opt-in to broader use of Portfolium ePortfolio and Portfolium Assessment at a discounted price.

“We believe BadgeLink can provide the technical infrastructure we need to take B.E.S.T. to the next level for our institutions,” said Dr. M.J. Bishop, Director of the Kirwan Center. “Without these kinds of tools, it would be difficult to make badge earning opportunities available to all of our students.”

Portfolium BadgeLink will support the USM institutions engaged in Phase 2 of the USM’s B.E.S.T. initiative by: 

  • Providing an easy-to-use administrative portal at the institution and system level for badge management, with a library of badges and rubrics to support the framework of the initiative.
  • Reducing administrative burden on staff by enabling the easy creation of badge earning pathways, providing access to assessment tools to validate the evidence provided by students, and automating the issuance of badges into students’ lifelong ePortfolios.
  • Automating the fast, accurate aggregation of student learning outcomes data for reporting at the institution and system level.

“We are thrilled to the have USM as an early strategic partner in BadgeLink, not only to improve student success and career readiness across the system but also to develop and scale groundbreaking academic transformation across higher education nationally in partnership with the Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation,” said Troy Markowitz, VP Partnerships at Portfolium.

Portfolium is the world’s fastest growing student success platform. 2,000+ colleges, universities and high schools use Portfolium to manage and align competency assessment, student success, and career readiness programs. Portfolium’s academic solutions plug students into an open ecosystem of employers, mentors, educators, and peers around the world. Our 3.5M+ users are linked to internships, jobs, and lifelong learning opportunities via ePortfolios that showcase their proven competencies. To learn more about Portfolium’s network for learners and solutions for educators, visit: https://portfolium.com.

The University System of Maryland (USM) is the state’s public higher education system. USM’s 12 institutions, two regional higher education centers, and system office work closely together to leverage their collective expertise and resources, share best practices, increase the system’s effectiveness and efficiency, and advance USM’s mission to improve the quality of life in Maryland. It is the 12th-largest university system in the United States, with over 122,000 undergraduate students, 41,000 graduate students, and roughly 17,000 combined full-time and part-time faculty.

The Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation is the first system-level center to conceptualize, promote, study, and disseminate groundbreaking innovations aimed broadly at transforming higher education. Under the leadership of its first director, Dr. MJ Bishop, the Kirwan Center is becoming a focal point for conceptualizing, promoting, studying, and disseminating ground-breaking academic innovation work both within Maryland and across higher education nationally. To learn more about B.E.S.T., visit http://www.usmd.edu/cai/BEST.