6 Individuals and 9 Programs Receive Association’s Highest Honors

WASHINGTON, Jan. 29 – UPCEA, the leader in professional, continuing, and online education, has announced the recipients of the 2018 Association Awards. The UPCEA Association Awards program includes recognition of both individual and institutional achievement across the UPCEA membership.

Since 1953, UPCEA has recognized its members’ outstanding contributions to the Association and the field, as well as their achievements in innovative programming, marketing and promotion, community development and services, research and publications, and many other areas.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2018 UPCEA Annual Conference, March 14-16, in Baltimore, Md.

“Leading innovative and impactful education is at the core of professional, continuing and online education,” said Michele Long, Assistant Dean of Admissions & Student Services, University of Denver and Chair, UPCEA Association Awards Committee. “The exceptional submissions for this year’s awards demonstrate the remarkable contributions our members bring to higher education.”

The recipients of this year’s awards are as follows:

Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership is given to an individual in recognition of unusual and extraordinary contributions to the cause of continuing education on the regional, national, and/or international level.

Recipient: Alice Warren, North Carolina State University

Adelle F. Robertson Continuing Professional Educator Award recognizes the scholarship, leadership and contributions to the profession of a person who has entered the field within the past five to ten years.

Recipient: Julie Damron, Brigham Young University

Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature recognizes the author and publisher of an outstanding work of continuing higher education literature.

Recipient: Joseph Aoun, Northeastern University, Robot-Proof: Higher Education in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

Dorothy Durkin Award for Strategic Innovation in Marketing and/or Enrollment Management recognizes an individual for achievement in strategic planning, marketing innovation or enrollment management success.

Recipient: Stefany Sanders, Georgia Institute of Technology – Professional Education

Leadership in Diversity Award recognizes an individual or a program representing best practices in promoting the educational success of diverse students.

Recipient: Tribal Leadership and Community Development Certificate, UCLA Extension

Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to continuing education.

Recipient: Lee Manzer, Oklahoma State University

Research and Scholarship Award recognizes either 1) significant new research with implications for professional practice in the field of continuing higher education, or 2) an individual UPCEA member whose long-term commitment to the conduct of exemplary research has made a significant contribution to the literature and professional practice in the field of continuing higher education.

Recipient: Research Preparation and Engagement of Instructional Designers in U.S. Higher Education, Oregon State University

Outstanding Professional, Continuing, and/or Online Education Student: Credit Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in professional and continuing education.

Recipient: Theresa Whitlock-Wild, Lewis-Clark State College

Outstanding Program: Credit Award recognizes outstanding professional and continuing education programs allowing students to earn academic credit.

Recipient: Collaborative Online Master of Science in Data Science, University of Wisconsin-Extension (offered in partnership with UW-Eau Claire, UW-Green Bay, UW-La Crosse, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Stevens Point, and UW-Superior)

Outstanding Program: Noncredit Award recognizes outstanding professional and continuing education programs that do not offer credit.

Recipient: Continuum College Career Accelerator Initiative, University of Washington

UPCEA International Program of Excellence Award recognizes a program engaged in activities that promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas of global significance.

Recipient: Grain Elevator and Processing Society (GEAPS) – Kansas State University Grain Distance Education Program, Kansas State University Global Campus

11th Hour Award for Business and Operations is given to an individual, team, or unit in recognition of exemplary character, ethics, and decisive action in times of dire circumstances or emergencies.

Recipient: University of Washington Continuum College Facilities Team, University of Washington Continuum College

UPCEA Award for Excellence in Advancing Student Success recognizes an individual or program for advancing the success of students in both credit and non-credit programs.

Recipient: Master of Arts in Psychology, The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

UPCEA Award for Strategic Innovation in Online Education recognizes an institution of higher education that has set and met innovative goals focused on online education and been strategic in the planning, development, implementation and sustainability in the line with the institutional mission.

Recipient: Graduate Online-Melbourne, University of Melbourne

UPCEA Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding mutually-beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources between a UPCEA member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations, or associations.

Recipients: Flint Water Study Team, Virginia Tech

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UPCEA is the association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. With innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications, we support our members’ service of contemporary learners and commitment to quality online education and student success. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Visit www.upcea.edu.




Generation Z remains a mystery for us, as well as business and industry. Only recently has the media and corporate America invested in better understanding them. In fact, they still argue about their definition and their ages. At UPCEA, we define Generation Z as those born between 1995 and 2005, or those roughly 12 to 22 years of age at the time of this report. Other organizations define Generation Z to be even younger. For greater relevance, we’ve taken the iGeneration segment of them, those age 14 to 22, for this study. We’ve chosen this group because the bulk of them are either in college, chose not to go to college, or are in high school.

Our organizations have focused primarily on adult and corporate learners. Twenty years ago, we had a great opportunity with the number of adults who did not finish their degree or earned an associate’s degree. We served them through degree completion. Ten years ago, we migrated higher education to an online model. Now, we are faced with the most educated cohort of our lives, and thus degree completion is less relevant, but one that may value education more. They are also much more savvy and have more choices.

There is so much more to learn about the iGen and Generation Z that will impact our educational offerings, marketing and enrollment management. Generation Z communicates differently and has different values from the other generations. They are also a generation ready for our world of robotics, autonomous vehicles, healthcare technology and renewable energy.


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We live in an age where the pace of change is pounding ahead all around us. For society to survive, universities and their learning programs must adapt to this acceleration or risk losing the central position they hold.

Many of the megatrends that framed and motivated the 2016 version of this study have only grown and accelerated:

  • Demographic shifts and economic changes have witnessed Baby Boomers become the largest segment of the gig economy, while Gen Z (“digital natives”) and Millennials grow to become the largest segment of the workforce.
  • The pervasiveness of digital experiences on our phones, in games and all around us has spilled over into learning and, along with it, expectations are changing about how learning experiences and formats should evolve to incorporate new behaviors and expectations from our digital lives.
  • Changes in the labor economy and the relationship between employers and workers have driven the rising expectation that individuals must keep themselves upskilled to stay employed.
  • The skills gap reported by employers continues to grow with more urgency, while at the same time new collaborative models emerge that show new ways for universities and employers to work together to bridge these gaps.
  • In response to these drivers, the explosion of alternative education providers has continued and, along with it, new and creative models for collaboration are emerging between online learning groups, companies and universities.

UPCEA Members: Click here to login to CORe to download the complete PDF of the report.

Not an UPCEA Member? Fill out the form below to download your copy of the report: