Skill Development

The Blazer Ready certificate program operates in concert with the in-class experiential learning opportunities provided through VSU’s QEP Trailblazing Through Experiential Learning.Both programs share the goal of getting as many VSU students involved in learning opportunities that develop the skills necessary for life after college.
Students who complete Blazer Ready co-curricular and experiential learning activities can develop their workforce-ready “soft” skills through the articulation of the connection between experiential learning and skill development. According to U.S. News and World Report,1 “Experts say work ethic alone isn’t enough, as employers are looking for candidates with a range of interpersonal skills.” The article defines soft skills as leadership, teamwork, communication, conflict resolution, problem-solving, flexibility and adaptability, social and emotional intelligence, and time management. The National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE) promote a similar set of competencies which “broadly prepare college graduates for a successful transition into the workplace.”2 
Developed in 2015 and revised in 2021, the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), working with its member institutions and employer partners, identified eight competencies college graduates should possess when exiting college.

NACE Competencies resulting from Blazer Ready


Critical Thinking 

Definition: Identify and respond to needs based upon an understanding of situational context and logical analysis of relevant information.

Components to Observe

  • Creativity  
  • Research  
  • Decision Making  
  • Learning and Reasoning 
  • Overcome Problems  

Clearly and effectively exchange information, ideas, facts, and perspectives with persons inside and outside of an organization.  

  • Verbal articulation and expression  
  • Non-verbal communication  
  • Advocate for a point of view  
  • Facilitation  
  • Public speaking  
  • Listening 
  • Writing  

Build and maintain collaborative relationships to work effectively toward common goals, while appreciating diverse viewpoints and shared responsibilities.  

  • Verbal articulation   
  • Non-verbal communication  
  • Advocating for a point of view  
  • Facilitation   
  • Public speaking  
  • Listening 
  • Writing  

Understand and leverage technologies ethically to enhance efficiencies, complete tasks, and accomplish goals.  

  • Adapting to new technology  
  • Using technology to create efficiencies  
  • Developing positive digital communities  
  • Listening
  • Writing  

Recognize and capitalize on personal and team strengths to achieve common organizational goals.

  • Verbal articulation   
  • Non-verbal communication  
  • Advocating for a point of view  
  • Facilitation   
  • Public speaking  
  • Listening 
  • Writing  

Knowing work environments differ greatly, understand and demonstrate effective work habits, and act in the interest of the larger community and workplace.  

  • Personal accountability  
  • Organization  
  • Workload management  
  • Integrity and ethical behavior 
  • Professional work image  
Career &  Self-Development 

Proactively develop oneself and one’s career through continual personal and professional learning, awareness of one’s strengths and weaknesses, navigation of career opportunities, and networking to build relationships within and without one’s organization.  

  • Articulate strengths, knowledge, and experiences  
  • Identify areas for growth  
  • Navigate and explore careers  
  • Pursue opportunities 
  • Self-advocate 
Equity  &  Inclusion 

Demonstrate the awareness, attitude, knowledge, and skills required to equitably engage and include people from different local and global cultures. Engage in anti-racist practices that actively challenge the systems, structures, and policies of racism.  

  • Value and learn from diverse cultures and people  
  • Openness and inclusivity  
  • Understanding other’s differences and perspectives  
  • Develop equal and equitable environments  

VSU Student Skill Learning Levels and Bloom’s Taxonomy

As educators, we value the learning framework and find it necessary to measure student earning. However, we recognize the need to offer learning through opportunities that students can more clearly  understand.  Grounded in Bloom’s Taxonomy, the following Levels of Learning have been established for students, and the chart below further explains the correlation of each.

The Framework

Bloom’s Taxonomy is a classification of the different objectives and skills that educators set for their students (learning objectives). In 1956, Benjamin Bloom with collaborators Max Englehart, Edward Furst, Walter Hill, and David Krathwohl published a framework for categorizing educational goals: Taxonomy of Educational Objectives. Familiarly known as Bloom’s Taxonomy,3 this framework has been applied by generations of K-12 teachers and college instructors in their teaching.  

Six major categories

The framework elaborated by Bloom and his collaborators consisted of six major categories

The categories after Knowledge were presented as “skills and abilities,” with the understanding that knowledge was the necessary precondition for putting these skills and abilities into practice. While each category contained subcategories, all lying along a continuum from simple to complex and concrete to abstract, the taxonomy is popularly remembered for its six main categories.  

The categories


Bloom's Taxonomy Six Categories Summary

  • REMEMBER – recall facts and basic concepts. retrieving, recognizing, and recalling relevant knowledge from long‐term memory. 
  • key action verbs: define, duplicate, list memorize, repeat, state 
  • UNDERSTAND – Explain ideas of concepts. Constructing meaning from oral, written, and graphic messages through interpreting, exemplifying, classifying, summarizing, inferring, comparing, and explaining.   

  • key action verbs: classify, describe, discuss, explain, identify, locate, recognize, report, select, translate  

  • APPLY – Use information in new situations. Carrying out or using a procedure for executing or implementing.  

  • key action verbs: execute, implement, solve, use, demonstrate, interpret, operate, schedule, sketch  

  • ANALYZE – Draw connections among ideas. Breaking material into constituent parts, determining how the parts relate to one another and to an overall structure or purpose through differentiating, organizing, and attributing.   

  • key action verbs: differentiate, organize, relate, compare, contrast, distinguish, examine, experiment, questions, test  

  • EVALUATE – Justify a stand or decision. Making judgments based on criteria and standards through checking and critiquing.   

  • key action verbs: appraise, argue, defend, judge, select, support, value, critique, weigh  

  • CREATE – Produce new or original work. Putting elements together to form a coherent or functional whole; reorganizing elements into a new pattern or structure through generating, planning, or producing.   

  • key action verbs: design, assemble, construct, conjecture, develop, formulate, author, investigate