Eccles School launches virtual blockchain curriculum to drive digital literacy, adoption of blockchain technology

(Sept. 29, 2020) — The David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah is set to create the next generation of digitally literate students who understand the world of blockchain technology. EY is helping in the development and delivery of the course.

The University of Utah shifted to holding about 70 percent of classes online this fall in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. That shift has created more possibilities to reach an even wider audience. A pilot group of 20 students is engaging with the new virtual curriculum, launched Fall Semester 2020 at the Eccles School through the Kahlert Initiative on Technology, or KIT.

“Forming industry relationships with organizations such as EY allows students to stay on the cutting-edge as they earn their degrees, which adds so much value to their education and makes them strong prospects as they apply for jobs after graduating,” said Taylor Randall, dean of the Eccles School.

“As a first-generation student, I never would have thought I would be able to experience such exclusive classes,” said student Michael Hernandez. “Thanks to EY and KIT, I have been developing technology skills that will put me years ahead of my peers.”

EY brings market-leading tools to help organizations as they seek to transition from simply tracking on a blockchain to actually transacting. EY sees blockchain as the future of doing business, as it estimates that by 2030 about half of all business-to-business (B2B) contracts will be blockchain-based digital transactions. HFS, a technology research firm, recently recognized EY for its market leadership in blockchain innovations and solutions (read full report here).

“Familiarity with blockchain technology and its business applications will be critical for those entering the workforce. By piloting viable learning pathways for University of Utah students to increase their digital literacy, we’re helping the next generation gain knowledge on how to leverage technology to solve social and environmental issues,” said Kimberly Johnston, EY Partner – National Tax and a member of the Eccles School’s Advisory Board. “With the success of this program, we plan to leverage the content for faculty through our EY Academic Resource Center platform.”

The curriculum is run through the Kahlert Initiative on Technology, which focuses on creating the world’s most digitally literate students regardless of degree. Students who engage in the curriculum will obtain a blockchain certification by completing two semester-long courses: Blockchain Fundamentals (Fall 2020) and Advanced Blockchain (Spring 2021). The courses will allow students to become familiar with emerging blockchain market solutions, to acquire career readiness digital skills, to innovate with students from multi-disciplinary backgrounds, and to provide a competitive advantage in the job market.

While the pilot course has 20 students, the goal is to scale that to 120 students per course.

“This blockchain curriculum is being taught by industry experts who not only know the technology, but are helping create it,” said Curtis Morley, director of the Initiative. “This is an unprecedented experience for the students. It’s like taking an impressionist art class from Monet or a physics class from Isaac Newton.”

Careers focused on blockchain technology include blockchain developer, listed as the most in-demand skill of 2020 by LinkedIn, and careers that expand beyond FinTech and cryptographic currencies to any business needing secured, decentralized ledgers. Students in the pilot program will be encouraged to apply for blockchain-related internships for Summer 2021.

“I’m looking to become proficient in technology to enhance my marketing degree,” said student Annika Tanner. “The Kahlert Initiative on Technology and EY are connecting my degree with cutting-edge tech like blockchain that will help me become a more qualified job candidate.”

About the David Eccles School of Business

The Eccles School is synonymous with ‘doing.’ The Eccles experience provides a world-class business education with a unique, entrepreneurial focus on real-world scenarios where students put what they learn into practice long before graduation. Founded in 1917 and educating more than 6,000 students annually, the University of Utah David Eccles School of Business offers nine undergraduate majors, four MBAs, eight other graduate programs, a Ph.D. in seven areas and executive education curricula. The School is also home to 12 institutes, centers and initiatives that deliver academic research and support an ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation. For more information, visit or call 801-581-7676.

About EY

EY is a global leader in assurance, tax, strategy, transaction and consulting services. The insights and quality services we deliver help build trust and confidence in the capital markets and in economies the world over. We develop outstanding leaders who team to deliver on our promises to all of our stakeholders. In so doing, we play a critical role in building a better working world for our people, for our clients and for our communities.

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