Vincennes University’s Information Technology and Psychology departments have collaborated to offer students a first-of-its-kind certification program.
In the IT world, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) is a recognizable certification body. Working with CompTIA, VU Professor Greg Hirsch identified a newly developed program in the company’s lineup that focuses on in-demand soft skills rather than technology skills.
The discovery was incredibly timely as the Information Technology Department was working to enhance VU’s IT degree programs to include specialized training on soft skills for aspiring students.
“I was thrilled to find a program that focused solely on the development of soft skills for young IT professionals that would enhance their lives and expand their opportunity for advancement,” Hirsch said.
In collaboration with VU’s Psychology Department, the specialized CompTIA PrepareU program was integrated into an Applied Psychology course for IT students.
PrepareU is a formal curriculum that focuses on professional soft skills, including active listening, appropriate and productive work behavior, teamwork, and so forth. Applied Psychology emphasizes the practical application of psychological concepts and real-life experiences. The curricula outcomes for both PrepareU and Applied Psychology are complementary.
According to VU IT Department Chair Jaci Lederman, “I knew Psychology Professor Hope Clausman would be the right person to work with the new CompTIA program and integrate it into a psychology course that would benefit our IT students.”
The integration of PrepareU into the Applied Psychology course creates an intense final exam project for IT students, and the additional work offers valuable lifelong rewards. It leads to increased awareness and understanding of professional soft skills.
VU Game Design major Ryan Steckler of Haubstadt, Indiana was in the first group of students that completed the PrepU course in the Psychology class.
“What I learned in the course will help me as I prepare for internships and job opportunities in the future,” he said.
Additionally, students who successfully complete the project earn a formal certificate and supplementary resume builder.
“Professional soft skills and the understanding of human behavior are critical for the success of employees and employers,” Clausman said.