Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

UPCEA joined with other organizations to submit the following principles regarding the upcoming reauthorization of the Higher Education Act, in response to the Senate HELP Committee call for comments on February 13:

  • Do no harm. Reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) should be used to clearly and unambiguously improve student aid for students.
  • The Higher Education Act should continue to promote access to postsecondary education and encourage completion.
  • Terms, conditions, and loan limits for federal student loans matter for undergraduate, graduate, and parent borrowers.
  • Institutions should be responsible for defining their mission and the nature of their academic programs.
  • The bill should make efforts to reduce fraud and abuse where it exists, and should not take steps that will increase the likelihood of fraud or abuse.
  • The federal government should encourage experimentation and expansion of new learning opportunities to promote quality and efficiency.
  • Streamline regulations and reduce regulatory burden in a manner that allows institutions to meet their obligations to students and taxpayers without imposing unnecessary cost or the diversion of resources.

To read the full letter and comments, click here. 

UPCEA, along with ACE and 37 other higher education associations wrote a letter to Reps. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) on H.R. 4508, the Promoting Real Opportunity, Success, and Prosperity through Education Reform Act (PROSPER), expressing reservations with the bill and advocating for a reauthorization that enhances the ability of students to enter and complete postsecondary education. Every previous reauthorization of the Higher Education Act has strengthened federal support for low- and middle-income students. Sadly, the PROSPER Act moves in the opposite direction. According to the Congressional Budget Office, the PROSPER Act would reduce federal aid to students by nearly $15 billion. The magnitude of this cut fails to fully identify the harm caused by the changes proposed in this bill. The bill limits the ability of parents and graduate students to borrow through affordable loan programs, a change that would cost the federal government money. This budgetary cost is then paid for by eliminating benefits that help low- and middle-income undergraduate students afford college. This leaves all students far worse off.

The letter asks that the bill not be brought to the floor for a vote until substantive changes are made to address​ these concerns.

Click here to read the full letter.

Date/Time: Thursday, February 22nd from 2:30-3 p.m. ET

Topic: Where’s the Love? Love/hate relationships of design vs compliance
Registration Linkhttps://www.eventbrite.com/e/upceas-edesign-exchange-tickets-42542871875

The eDesign Exchange is an ongoing series of informal, online meetups where members of the eDesign Collaborative can dialogue and brainstorm about a wide variety of relative topics, build connections with other members of the community, and learn from one another through idea-sharing, problem-solving, and collaborating on best practices.

I have had several conversations with online leaders that amount to, “I love the ‘Hallmarks’ but how do I implement them? There’s so much there!” Well my friends and colleagues, I’ll tell you…it’s all about baby steps. I was watching The Equalizer a few weeks ago (a movie featuring Denzel Washington) and he had a line that really resonated with me, “progress, not perfection”. I am considering making this my 2018 mantra and perhaps you might do the same, at least in terms of implementing the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership.

IT IS THE BEST OF TIMES AND THE WORST OF TIMES…

This time of year is often the dreaded PERFORMANCE APPRAISAL period. If I could cue up some foreboding music I certainly would do so, but instead I’ll share this oldie but goodie. You see, leaders across the nation, at this very moment, are struggling with staff evaluation deadlines. I’ve had folks tell me that staff evaluations are the worst part of their job. I, on the other hand, LOVE evaluations. I am big on feedback, closing loops, and staff development, so evaluation time is the best time of year for me…and for you it can be the best time to start integrating the Hallmarks into your online operations.

PROFESSIONALISM

Let’s take a deeper dive on the Hallmarks and focus on one specifically, professionalism. I want to draw your attention to a few statements found in that hallmark’s section:

  • “Formulate and sustain the ethical aspects of online programs—particularly academic honesty” (p. 37)
  • “Support research, presentations, publications, and award submissions” (p. 37)
  • “Ensure appropriate and specific professional development for faculty and staff who affect online learning quality and initiatives.” (p. 38)
  • “Participate, and encourage staff participation, in national and regional professional organizations.” (p. 38)
  • “Development of shared values and purposes” (p. 40)

Now let’s talk goal statements. You might want consider the following goals for you and your team (you’ll notice that every one of these items can be written as a SMART goal through the cunning use of milestones and delegation of specific tasks):

    • Increase awareness and alignment of institutional academic integrity policies within online operations by…you could finish off this sentence with any one of the following:
      • …updating the online unit’s website to include links and text regarding academic integrity in online courses
      • …[developing/suggesting] a syllabus statement for online courses that addresses academic integrity
      • …developing an online student code of conduct that provides examples of appropriate communication and details specific activities considered incongruous with institutional policies that are not spelled out (use of emojis, cyberbullying, harassing language or memes, etc.)
    • Engage in [one, two, etc.] collaborations with [faculty/team members] focused on [research, presentations, publications, and/or award submissions] relevant to online learning at the institution. This goal has many benefits. First, it gives folks the ability to follow their interests and receive external validation (something that is important when times are tough and raises are nowhere to be had). It also presents an opportunity for individuals to begin building a personal brand as they could become known for their work in a particular area. It also fosters relationships with faculty as publications, awards, and presentations are their currency—you/your unit helping them achieve tenure and promotion requirements is a win for you both.
  • Engage in [one, three, five, etc.] learning experiences offered by UPCEA and demonstrate learning through [the development of a new practice, presenting to peers, leading a unit learning activity, etc.]. Ok, I’ll admit it, this one is a bit self-serving for me. Come on, you had to expect it since this IS an UPCEA blog post. There is a ton of professional development content (formal and informal) offered by UPCEA. We have webinars and events, a resource library, a blog (you’re here so there’s no need for a link), a briefing, and a publication that can all serve as the basis for team learning at your institution. You might challenge yourself and others to attend or read something (might I suggest this or this) and then have a team discussion on key takeaways and implications for practice within your unit. The best thing about this goal is it is all about initiative and access to resources you have as an UPCEA member.
  • Participate in UPCEA regional or network leadership (or another volunteer role). Anyone, and I mean anyone, can find a way to participate in UPCEA. For example, every network and region is led by volunteer leaders and they are often groomed for leadership positions by participating in the numerous committees and subcommittees that exist in the networks and regions. I started my UPCEA journey by volunteering to review award submissions for the Online Administration network years ago. You don’t have to know anyone, heck I didn’t and look at me now—I work here. While people often think I know everyone in UPCEA there are a few folks I don’t know (I’m looking at you, Southern Utah University!). UPCEA is what you make it! You and/or your staff can raise your hand(s) and indicate your interest in volunteering by filling out a volunteer form. Volunteering doesn’t necessarily commit you to attendance at events so if you’re struggling with providing leadership opportunities for your team and you have a limited (or no) travel budget, we’ve got you covered!
  • Collaborating on an [ethics or mission] statement for the online learning unit. Developing overarching statements for an online unit in the absence of one can be pretty heady stuff. Once you hunker down and begin that work differences in values and purposes, biases, and general disconnects within your team often become evident. This is a multifaceted exercise that could take a year or more to achieve.

BRINGING IT HOME

Ok, so now that you have some examples of goal statements that specifically tie back to the professionalism hallmark I would like to challenge you to share some of your own. They don’t have to be from the professionalism hallmark—there are six other hallmarks that could serve as fodder for a goal statement or two (or hundreds). Have a look and feel free to share any goal statements you are particularly proud of by starting a conversation in CORe, or dropping me an email (juranis at upcea dot edu).

My best to you,

Julie

While recently visiting an on-campus continuing education unit, I was told by a program director, “Generation Z is not my target market.”  To me, that is dangerous thinking for a professional, continuing and online education (PCO) unit.

Generation Z, those under the age of 23, have only graduated their first major cohort of college students. The iGeneration (iGen), a segment of Generation Z aged 14 to 22 and predominantly of high school or college age, is 42 million strong in the United States. Colleges and universities and their PCO units, can view this cohort opportunistically or as a potential threat, but they should not be ignored. While wielding very little power today, they will gain confidence and influence as more of their Millennial mentors become managers, directors, politicians, policy makers, and C-level leaders. If managed properly, iGen can be an opportunistic source of enrollments and advocates for PCO units. If not, then iGen, with the assistance of young Millennials, may inflict pain upon your units.

iGeneration has distinct brand loyalty differences from generations before them. Their dependence on technology is more extreme from other generations. They are the most informed generation the world has ever seen. As a result, they are more confident (but less outspoken), networked with large numbers of followers and friends, more open-minded, less tolerant of poorly designed products or processes, and modular learners. Depending on the institution, higher education institutions are often steeped in tradition; bound to the four-year 120-credit degree, have legacy systems designed around learners who graduated a decade or two ago, and all at a premium price.  When you look at the preferences of iGen and the historical nature of higher education, they both be headed for a collision course in the near future.

Whether or not iGen is your target market currently, an iGen’er who slips into your legacy webpage or telephone-centered 9-to-5 enrollment process (on or off hours), has the potential to tell his or her 500+ Snapchat friends, Twitter followers or Instagram community about their experience. Looking forward, in the long-term, they eventually will be your target demographic and you must begin the planning process to accomodate them; in the short-term, you can view them as the change agents, product or program testers, and process breakers and makers that will help you and your institution prepare for the future.  There are about 8 million iGen’ers who bypassed college and another 1.5 to 2 million who will soon graduate.  Another 14 to 15 million are still in college and some will graduate over the next few years, others will not.

In just three years, the first iGen’er will be 25 years old.  The future is closer than you think. Make sure you’re prepared for it. 

Learn more by reading my comprehensive study of iGen – download my report “An Insider’s Guide to Generation Z and Higher Education”.