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How Advisory Boards Provide Professional Expertise to UW Non-Credit Certificate Programs
How Advisory Boards Provide Professional Expertise to UW Non-Credit Certificate Programs

If you’re going to invest in your professional development, you’re going to expect results to enhance your career. That’s why we work with experienced professionals, hiring managers, recruiters, program alumni, university faculty, government and consultants to form an advisory board for each University of Washington certificate program. The goal? To create learning experiences that combine the UW’s academic quality with practical expertise from industry.

Building the advisory board is the first step to creating non-credit certificate programs. As on the ground experts in their fields, board members are critical to understanding the needs of an industry, real-world job requirements and allow us to develop a program that fulfills those demands. These board members are involved in the creation of a certificate every step of the way and help iterate until the program is launched.

Advisory board members serve as stewards of the program. They help update the curriculum, guide program success criteria, assist in the recruitment of instructors and recommend changes to ensure each certificate program remains current.

Our conversations are always around course requirements,” says Gary Mesick of his advisory board role. “What were the things we relied on business analysts to do in our organization? What skills, knowledge and experience were important to us? Did we see that changing in the next five to 10 years, and if so, what should a student’s education prepare them to do?”

By tapping the minds of skilled professionals, doers and leaders, the University of Washington crafts certificate programs that provide you with cutting edge content and marketable skills to succeed in your field.

Sometimes, a UW certificate program transforms a student’s life so much they’re compelled to help others. As is the case for Karen Treiger, a UW writing certificate graduate who was inspired to join the writing certificate advisory board after switching careers from being a lawyer to storyteller.

“I benefited from the program and loved the course and the people that I met. I want to give back to the community by serving on the advisory committee,” Treiger says. “My gratitude toward the UW and those that run and teach the classes is deep, so I wanted to show appreciation and help pay it forward.”

Advisory board members also have the chance to connect and interact with other like-minded leaders in their community passionate about student success. Buck Woody, an applied data scientist at Microsoft, has been involved in development of certificate programs for more than 12 years at UW Professional & Continuing Education. Buck says the chance to hear from people who offer a variety of perspectives, is essential when you’re putting together a program.

“When you think about it, you’re introducing students to something often for the very first time, so you’ve got to have that in mind to bring the beginner in a topic along,” says Buck. “But you’re also trying to prep them for anything, not just one way of doing something, but lots of ways of doing something. That breadth and depth of knowledge is incredible, especially to hear the other folks on the board talk.”

At the end of the day, Woody explains one of must rewarding experiences of being on the certificate advisory board is hearing about the impact the certificate programs have on the lives of students.

“I got a touching email from a student, saying they were without a job, then they got a special scholarship. They enrolled in our program and are now able to feed their family,” he says. “One thing we often forget is students are real people trying to get through their day, and if we help them learn, they can do different and amazing things.”

Are you interested in being involved with our certificate programs and becoming an advisory board member? Contact our enrollment services team at and who will connect you with the right person.

For more career tips and industry trends, visit the News & Features section of our website, and subscribe to our email list. To learn more about UW Professional & Continuing Education certificates, degrees and courses, explore your options or contact us.

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