Press Releases

Professional Competencies Now Core for All Kaplan University Students in All Programs

Mar. 24, 2015

University responds to employer needs with competency training embedded in curriculum

DAVENPORT, IA – (March 24, 2015) –Recent surveys from the Association of American Colleges and Universities and others point to wide discrepancies between Americans’ beliefs that they have the skills to succeed in the workplace and the views of employers.

“Employers want to hire candidates who exhibit job-ready skills and they are encouraging institutions of higher learning to place more emphasis on building professionalism,” said Dr. Betty Vandenbosch, Kaplan University Provost. “We’ve answered the call by incorporating six professional competencies into all of our courses of study.”

Kaplan University’s curriculum now includes professional competencies in undergraduate and graduate programs to ensure students are prepared to enter the professional workforce. The professional competencies comprise communication, teamwork, leadership, problem solving and critical thinking, personal presentation, as well as multiculturalism and diversity.

Along with professional competencies, every Kaplan University program teaches to specific outcomes that identify the major knowledge, skills, and abilities employers expect in the competencies of program graduates.

“At Kaplan University, we believe professionalism is a critical part of career success,” said Jennifer Lasater, Executive Director of National Career Services for Kaplan University. “By incorporating professional competencies into the curriculum, our students are more prepared to succeed in the workforce when they graduate.”

The University’s general education competencies also equip students to be literate and knowledgeable in nine core areas including, arts and humanities, communications, critical thinking, ethics, mathematics, research and information, science, social science, and technology. These general education competencies were incorporated into the curriculum in 2009.

Vandenbosch added, “Combining professional competencies with general education competencies empowers Kaplan University students to become more independent, critical thinkers who are able to express ideas coherently and engage in a diverse, changing world.”

Assessment of Competencies

Faculty members assess student mastery of each competency through course-level assessments. Since 2010, Kaplan University has been measuring course-level scores, which identify students’ current mastery level of the skills and knowledge. Over the past four academic years, the percentages of students achieving course-level assessment values of at least the ‘practiced’ level (3 or higher) have remained consistent (86 to 87 percent – see graph below). The University has also deployed randomized controlled trials to measure and improve the efficacy of outcome based assessments.

*Source: Office of the Provost, Kaplan University, 2015.

About Kaplan University

Kaplan University offers a different school of thought for higher education. It strives to help adult students unlock their talent by providing a practical, student-centered education that prepares them for careers in some of the fastest-growing industries. The University, which has its main campus in Davenport, Iowa, and its headquarters in Chicago, is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission. Kaplan University serves approximately 42,000 online and campus-based students. The University has 13 campuses in Iowa, Indiana, Nebraska, Maryland, Maine, and Wisconsin, and Kaplan University Learning Centers in Maryland and Missouri.

Kaplan University is part of Kaplan Higher Education LLC and Kaplan, Inc., which serves over 1.2 million students globally each year through its array of higher education, test preparation, professional education, English-language training, university preparation, and K-12 offerings to individuals, institutions, and businesses. Kaplan has operations in over 30 countries, employs more than 22,000 full- and part-time professionals, and maintains relationships and partnerships with more than 1,000 school districts, colleges, and universities, and over 2,600 corporations and businesses.

Kaplan is a subsidiary of Graham Holdings Company (NYSE: GHC) and its largest division. For more information, please visit

Press contacts:

Director, Public Relations
Amy Hawkinson
Office: 954-515-3603

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