A story from Pacific Lutheran University.
Pacific Lutheran University is partnering with SkillUp Online, a private education company headquartered in Mumbai, India, with offices in North America (Bellevue, Washington) and Europe, to provide a range of affordable, online, continuing education technology and soft-business skills courses to local, national, and global communities.
The initial launch of program offerings this August, 2021, will include three artificial intelligence computer science courses with pathways to the Microsoft AI Engineer and IBM Applied AI Professional certifications. PLU’s Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dr. Joanna Gregson, views the partnership as “being in line with the university’s strategic plan for extending PLU’s reach through new online programs that meet workforce development needs and career exploration.”
Provost Gregson’s perspective is echoed by SkillUp Online’s Founder, CEO, and former Director of Online Training at Microsoft, JPS Kohli, who adds, “SkillUp Online’s mission is to inspire individuals to embrace lifelong learning. I believe this aligns perfectly with PLU’s ethos of helping students discern their life’s vocation through coursework, mentorship, and practical experience.”
PLU and SkillUp Online instructors will have opportunities to contribute courses to the overall continuing education catalog that the partnership offers. Since there will be online courses available to students and employees in multiple countries, there will also be ample opportunities for cross-cultural exchanges between students as they engage the curriculum. Provost Gregson acknowledges this global education component to the cooperation when stating that “the PLU-SkillUP collaboration is another example of how PLU is expanding its understanding and application of cultural and educational exchanges and study, especially in the face of new barriers for international travel due to the current pandemic. If faculty, students, and communities across the globe are restricted in connecting in person, let’s find ways to bring them together in a virtual learning community that demonstrates our commitment to access.”
PLU is a small university with bold commitments to creating transformative educational experiences. Forging connections with external organizations and companies such as SkillUp Online is an exciting strategy for increasing offerings in continuing education classes and growing awareness of the university’s undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Dr. Geoff Foy, PLU’s Associate Provost for Graduate Programs and Continuing Education, embraces this reality and applies a broad vision to the PLU-SkillUp affiliation, saying that “ we’re establishing mutually beneficial agreements with businesses such as SkillUp Online in order to expand our educational and social impact. Multilayered, innovative partnerships — which include input and participation from faculty, students, staff, and stakeholders from all parties — is the kind of sustainable model PLU is most interested in pursuing. The fact that SkillUp Online already has an established track record in India, serving several hundred thousand students thus far, and is recognized by the Indian non-governmental trade association and advocacy group NASSCOM, makes them an exceptional partner.”
For a list of courses being offered through the PLU-SkillUp Online partnership and registration information, please visit skillup.online/pacific-lutheran-university/. For questions, please contact PLU’s Continuing Education office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 253-535-7722.