Continuing Education Workshops

Frequently Asked Questions

Professional Development Certificates

Frequently Asked Questions
The information below applies only to the certificate programs administered by the Office of Continuing Education, NOT the career training certificate programs administered by our online educational partner (Ed2Go).

What certificate programs are offered?
Continuing Education offers three professional development certificates: Effective Communication, Leadership, and Office Management. These certificates are designed for adults who would like to enhance the skills they already have or learn new skills to be more effective in their current positions.

Do I need to have a degree or other previous coursework to enroll in a certificate program?
No previous college-level coursework is required to enroll in a certificate program.

Are the courses offered for academic credit?
Each course and certificate is non-credit and not transferrable to any credit-bearing program or other institution.

Do I need previous experience in online classes?
No previous experience in online classes is needed. To learn more about how the online classes in the certificate programs work, go to

When do classes start?
All online classes begin monthly, and are six weeks in length. Specific dates change each month. Start dates for the upcoming four months are listed in the online course catalog

What are the requirements for the certificates?
Participants can choose three online classes from an approved list of classes. They then demonstrate the knowledge and skills they have learned through short examples in a portfolio.

What is a portfolio?
A portfolio is a collection of “artifacts” that you will assemble to demonstrate your ability to apply your learning.   You will work with a consultant in the Office of Continuing Education to determine what might be appropriate artifacts to document the skills you have gained in each of the three courses you complete. Artifacts may be:

  • an email conversation demonstrating a strategy you learned in a course then used in the workplace.
  • a short written statement on a goal you had at work and how you plan to use the new skill to meet the goal.
  • a written document you created for your workplace using an approach you learned in a course.
  • something else! Documentation that demonstrates that you have acquired knowledge from the courses and can apply it in your workplace or other setting can be used.

Your most recent annual review may serve as a guide for you in the portfolio process.  Are there new competencies that you would like to acquire as your position changes? Are there areas in which you would like to improve? Your consultant in the Office of Continuing Education will help guide you through the process of artifact selection and submission.

What is the process of creating and submitting a portfolio?
Once you successfully complete each course, you will begin to identify an artifact related to the learning objectives from that course.  You will work with your consultant to help make sure the artifact is a good representation of your applied learning.  You will compile the artifacts into a PDF. You will submit the PDF portfolio to the Office of Continuing Education.  Portfolios will be approved by the Associate Dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education.  Artifacts and portfolios will be kept confidential by the Office of Continuing Education and will never be shared with supervisors or departments without your permission.

How long will it take to complete a certificate program?
Each of the three courses you take will last 6 weeks.  You may take more than one course at a time, or can spread out the three courses as longer period of time.  It would be possible to earn a certificate in as little as three months, but more likely to take 6-12 months, depending on your schedule.

We recognize that every individual has different learning styles and circumstances that support or prevent them from progressing in a class.  If you are unable to complete the course, you may retake it up to two times in a six month period at no additional cost.

How much does each certificate program cost?
The total cost for each certificate is $400 to $445: $100 - $115 for each of the three courses plus a $100 fee for the portfolio review.

Can professional development funds (PDP) be used to pay for the program?
PDP may be used to cover the cost of the certificate program. Talk with your supervisor about availability of PDP funds, and whether the certificate program is an appropriate use of those funds.

How do I arrange payment if I am using PDP funds?
Continuing Education can accept credit card payments or can process an internal funds transfer with an org code to transfer the funds from your department. Talk with your supervisor about whether you need to pay out-of-pocket and be reimbursed upon successful course completion or if your unit will pay up front. It is up to the individual department to determine method of payment.

How do I enroll in a certificate program?
To enroll in certificate program, complete the form here. Your consultant will contact you about the next steps.

Can I work on the courses during work time?
Talk with your supervisor about completing coursework for certificate programs during your scheduled work hours.

What is considered “successful completion” of the courses and portfolio?
You must achieve a minimum of 65% correct on your final exam on the first attempt in each course in your certificate program. A successful portfolio evaluation will be based a list of criteria that you will be provided with upon your enrollment (technical skills, such as writing ability or research evidence are not considered).

What will I receive when I complete the program?
You will receive a certificate of completion from the UW-Whitewater School of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education when you successfully complete the coursework and portfolio required for your program as well as a one-time $100 honorarium.

I have more questions, who can I contact?
Kari Borne in Continuing Education can help answer your questions and guide you through the process. Contact her at or 262-472-1003.