CNM Named ‘Innovator of the Year’ by Education Dive

Since becoming the first community college in the country to issue digital diplomas, CNM continues to evolve on the blockchain frontier of higher education.
December 03, 2018

“Education Dive: Higher Ed,” a leading industry news publisher, has named CNM as its “Innovator of the Year” for being a trailblazer in the use of blockchain technology, the same technology that spawned Bitcoin. CNM was the first community college in the country to issue digital diplomas to students through blockchain technology in December 2017.

The Innovator of the Year Award was part of the Higher Education Dive Awards for 2018.

"Investing in a new technology makes for good headlines, but finding effective uses for the technology is a process that can be daunting. Central New Mexico Community College has been an advocate for blockchain technology and has incorporated it into credential management,” said Hallie Busta, Editor at Education Dive: Higher Ed.

CNM delivered the first digital diplomas in December 2017 to a small pilot group of students using blockchain. In August 2018, CNM made digital diplomas accessible to all graduates of the college. The graduates can securely and easily access their free digital diplomas through a smartphone app and independently manage their own, hard-earned credentials. Graduates can securely share their diplomas with employers or post them to social media sites like LinkedIn.

With digital credentials, a student will never have to worry about their alma mater going extinct, along with the documentation of certificates, degrees, transcripts and skills they earned along the way.

Digital_Degree (2).jpgCNM is continuing to expand the use of blockchain to serve students. A current pilot program will allow students to earn “micro-credentials” for skills that supplement the knowledge they gain from degree and certificate programs. For example, students who demonstrate they’ve learned “soft skills” such as problem solving, oral communication or intercultural fluency will receive digital badges that are recorded on the blockchain, along with their diplomas and transcripts.

As the fast-growing blockchain technology continues to be adopted across industries around the country and the globe, graduates and employers will be able to easily connect with each other in a virtual job marketplace on the blockchain. Employers will be able to search the blockchain for graduates with the specific credentials and skills they’re seeking.

CNM also received grant funding in 2018 from the New Mexico Attorney General’s Office for blockchain development, such as training blockchain coding instructors and building blockchain services that are available to government agencies.

Read more about why Education Dive: Higher Ed chose CNM as its “Innovator of the Year” as part of its 2018 Dive Awards.