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Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

Student loan defaults in the United States have been a growing problem. After reaching a historic low of 4.5% in 2003, student loan default rates have been trending upward, rising to 10.0% for the 2011 cohort.

Total student debt has also been increasing in the nation, rising above $1 trillion in 2010 and approaching $1.5 trillion in Fall 2017. As student loan debt increases for an individual student, default rates actually tend to decrease—the assumption being that students who borrow more also end up earning more with professional degrees, such as in law or medicine. Increasing total debt and increasing default rates together, however, is certainly a concerning trend.

What can the student loan default situation tell us about the future of higher education? While the majority of loan defaults come from traditional college graduates or students who do not finish their degree, professional, continuing, and online education units may be able to play a part in adding value to credits earned through degree completion or alternative credentialing. The latter may also play a role in helping to reduce loan defaults by increasing an employee’s value in the workplace. Other factors that could also increase value are more convenient delivery of programming through online delivery and more modular learning.

 

Click here to read the full report.

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2018 – UPCEA, the Washington, D.C.-based association for university leaders in professional, continuing, and online education, welcomed two new officers and two new directors to serve on the UPCEA Board of Directors during the 2018 UPCEA Annual Conference.

“This year’s deep pool of nominees was exceptionally talented, and it was a challenge for the Board Development committee to choose between them,” said Alice Warren, Vice Provost for Continuing Education at North Carolina State University, 2016-17 UPCEA President, and Chair, UPCEA Board Development Committee. “I’m very pleased to see these strong and qualified leaders dedicated to the important work of the association and the field approved by a majority vote of UPCEA members to join the Board.”

Nelson C. Baker, Dean of Professional Education and associate professor in the School of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology will serve as President-Elect for a one-year term (2018-2019). As dean, Baker leads a multifaceted operation including the Global Learning Center, Georgia Tech-Savannah, the Language Institute, and Georgia Tech’s extensive professional education programs in STEM- and business-related subjects. Baker also oversees educational outreach programs and serves as the interface between Georgia Tech’s professional education activities and the industries, corporations, government agencies and professional societies that benefit from them. Baker graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1980 with a B.C.E. in Civil Engineering. He earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Civil Engineering from Carnegie Mellon University in 1985 and 1989 respectively.

Chris Sax, Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs of Maryland University of Integrative Health will serve as Secretary/Treasurer for a two-year term (2018-2020). Sax has 27 years of experience in public and private higher education with a nearly singular focus on serving adult non-traditional students through non-traditional teaching and learning experiences. Since 2016 she has served as Provost and Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Maryland University of Integrative Health. She served at Shippensburg University (2007-2016) as the Dean of Extended Studies and then the Associate Provost for Academic Outreach and Innovation. Sax holds a Ph.D. in Genetics from the Medical College of Virginia and a B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Rochester. She is currently pursuing a Design Thinking and Innovation Specialization at the Darden School of Business of the University of Virginia.

Nancy Coleman, Associate Provost and Director of Strategic Growth Initiatives at Wellesley College will serve as Director At-Large for a two-year term (2018-2020). Before coming to Wellesley College, she was Vice President of Academic Services at Keypath, overseeing all instructional design and student services operations for the organization’s global offices in the US, UK, and Australia. She has also served as Director of Distance Education at Boston University. Coleman directed a business unit of 26 staff members responsible for supporting the 16 schools and colleges at BU with online learning initiatives resulting in $35m in tuition revenue annually. She oversaw 25 fully online degree and certificate programs serving students in 50 states and 42 countries globally. Coleman holds an Ed.D. in Human and Organizational Learning from the George Washington University, an MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Management and a BS in Marketing from Stonehill College.

Jim Morris, Associate Vice President of Continuing Studies, at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey will serve as Director At-Large for a two-year term (2018-2020). Morris has more than 30 years of continuing education management and leadership experience — from strategic market planning to award-winning program development. He has been a consistent and productive revenue generator in a wide variety of markets that produce more than $5 million annually in noncredit revenue, including developing and managing the university’s largest noncredit program. His diverse experience with distance learning and information technology includes securing more than $3.7 million in grant funding for web-based programs and services. Morris holds an MA in Economics from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey, and a BA in Journalism from the University of Indiana Bloomington.

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About UPCEA
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.

Congress today passed the FY18 Omnibus Appropriations Bill which included increased support to the Pell Grant program, which is projected to help over 7 million low-income families afford college. It does this by raising the maximum award by $175 (to $6,095), maintaining the recent Year Round Pell expansion that UPCEA has advocated for over the past few years, and keeping existing program funding within Pell Grants.

The omnibus recognizes the many benefits of medical research to our society and our economy by including a $3 billion increase in funding for the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Considering the funding made available through the 21st Century Cures Act and previous appropriations, this increase will allow for more life-changing research to be performed, enabling major scientific breakthroughs and improving the quality of life for all Americans.

Beyond these signature proposals, there are meaningful investments across the bill in the areas of student aid, career and workforce training, institutional support and scientific research. The Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant, Federal Work Study, TRIO and GEAR UP programs all receive meaningful increases to support the preparation, access and success of low- and middle-income students. We were similarly pleased that the bill include important funding for provisions to enhance the Public Service Loan Forgiveness provision and increase its reach. The bill adds $50 million in new funding for Apprenticeship Opportunities and new funding for key workforce-related programs, including WIOA, the Carl Perkins Act, as well as adult education.

To see a letter which UPCEA co-signed with ACE and 38 other higher education associations supporting the passage, click here.

WASHINGTON, March 16, 2018 – UPCEA, the Washington, D.C.-based association for university leaders in professional, continuing, and online education, welcomed Dr. Sandi Pershing as the association’s 2018-19 President during the 2018 UPCEA Annual Conference. Pershing is Assistant Vice President for Engagement and a professor in the Master of Public Administration program at the University of Utah.

As UPCEA President, Pershing will encourage its membership to continue to develop new pathways for access, as well as championing diversity and inclusion efforts on their campuses. “I’m extremely passionate about access to higher education for all,” said Pershing. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to do this work every day, and am looking forward to working with UPCEA members everywhere in their efforts to build pipelines to and through higher education.”

Pershing has been with the University of Utah since 2000, and has served as Assistant Vice President for Engagement since 2011. Pershing also served as Assistant Dean, and as Dean of Continuing Education from 2004-2016. She has worked as an organizational consultant and trainer in the areas of teamwork, organizational change, strategic planning, leadership, learning transfer, time management, creativity, management, and conflict resolution. Pershing is also the co-author of Organization Theory and Governance for the 21st Century (2014) with Eric Austin, and she co-edited Classic Readings in Organizational Behavior (2008) with J. Steven Ott and Richard Simpson, and Classics in Public Administration (2003) with Jay Shafritz and Albert Hyde.

“Sandi has been a leader in our field for many years,” said UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen. “Her commitment ensuring all learners have access to higher education is inspiring, and I’m honored to partner with Sandi and her board as we move UPCEA into its next phase of growth.”

Pershing had previously served on the UPCEA Board and as Secretary/Treasurer.

Pershing earned a Bachelor of Arts and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Wyoming, after which she received her Ph.D. in Public Administration from Arizona State University. 

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About UPCEA

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.

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) has launched a program to recognize excellence in online higher education: the Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review. The program evaluates online education programs based on seven key elements, such as internal advocacy, entrepreneurial initiative and faculty support, and then issues Credly digital badges to qualifying colleges and universities.

“In order to keep pace with rapid changes in technology and resulting in-demand skills, learners need access to education. To meet this need, it is more important than ever that institutions provide quality online education programs,” said Julie Uranis, vice president for online and strategic initiatives, UPCEA, and managing director, National Council for Online Education, in a statement. “With the launch of our Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review program, UPCEA is committing to working closely with institutions to identify and recognize high-quality online offerings, and partnering with Credly extends that commitment in the way we publicly acknowledge institutions that demonstrate excellence through the review process.”

 

Read the full story here.

Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review program will award digital badges to high-quality online education programs

 

WASHINGTON, D.C. (MARCH 14, 2018) — The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) announced today the launch of the Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review program to recognize colleges and universities that demonstrate consistent excellence throughout their online programs. Through the program, UPCEA’s National Council for Online Education will evaluate online education programs using a rigorous seven-part review process and, in partnership with Credly’s pioneering digital credential platform, issue digital badges to qualifying colleges and universities to mark their achievement.

 

“In order to keep pace with rapid changes in technology and resulting in-demand skills, learners need access to education. To meet this need, it is more important than ever that institutions provide quality online education programs,” said Julie Uranis, Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives, UPCEA and Managing Director, National Council for Online Education. “With the launch of our Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review program, UPCEA is committing to working closely with institutions to identify and recognize high-quality online offerings, and partnering with Credly extends that commitment in the way we publicly acknowledge institutions that demonstrate excellence through the review process.”

 

The Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review evaluates seven key aspects of online education programs, including internal advocacy, entrepreneurial initiative, and faculty support. Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation and aerospace, is the first institution to successfully complete this review process and receive a digital badge in recognition of its high quality online education models and techniques.

 

“The UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review was an incredibly valuable, comprehensive, and robust process that all institutions aspiring to take their online education units to the next level should seriously consider undertaking. From the self-assessment submission to the personalized committee interviews, the information gleaned was invaluable,” said Jason Ruckert, Vice Chancellor of Online Education at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Worldwide Campus. “We’re very proud to be the first to successfully complete the review process, receive our badge, and have the hard work of our faculty and administrators be recognized.”

 

Credly Founder and CEO Jonathan Finkelstein commented: “Credly is dedicated to making it easy to award, share, and recognize achievements. We’re proud to power the digital credentials for UPCEA and the Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership Review program, and to be part of celebrating the success of universities like Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University that provide exceptional online learning opportunities.”

 

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About Credly
Credly is a leading digital credential service provider, helping the world recognize lifelong achievement with the most popular platforms for verifying, sharing, and managing digital credentials and badges. The enterprise-class system allows organizations to officially verify skills and competencies; distribute portable and secure digital credentials and open badges; and gain actionable data and insights. Thousands of education institutions, industry associations, employers, and workforce development programs use Credly to make achievements visible. https://credly.com.

 

About UPCEA
UPCEA is the leading 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. For 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities, and timely publications. UPCEA launched the National Council for Online Education in 2017. Learn more at upcea.edu.

 

About Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University is the world’s largest, fully accredited university specializing in aviation, aerospace, engineering, and related degree programs. The university is also a major research center, seeking solutions to real-world problems in partnership with the aerospace industry, other universities, and government agencies. A nonprofit, independent institution, Embry-Riddle offers more than 80 baccalaureate, master’s, and Ph.D. degree programs in its colleges of Arts & Sciences, Aviation, Business, Engineering, and Security & Intelligence. The university educates students at residential campuses in Daytona Beach, Fla., and Prescott, Ariz., through the Worldwide Campus with more than 125 locations in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East, and through online programs. For more information, visit www.embryriddle.edu, follow us on Twitter (@EmbryRiddle) and facebook.com/EmbryRiddleUniversity, and find expert videos at YouTube.com/EmbryRiddleUniv.

 

<Imagine a radio announcer making this dedication> This post goes out to all of the professional, continuing and online education (PCO) leaders that have asked me how I manage to teach in my spare time. </ voice>

For the last several Winter terms (or Spring terms for some of you), I have taught the Intro to Adult and Continuing Education course at Eastern Michigan University, my alma mater. Sure, it makes my schedule tricky and means my nights and weekends are busier, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you have the opportunity to teach I think you should, and I would like to spend some time convincing you.

Perspectives

The course I teach is an elective in a few programs at EMU, including a Master’s Program in Student Affairs. With each course offering, I have the opportunity to share a practitioner’s perspective on adult learning. I strive to share real world examples of the impact adult and continuing education has on the lives of participants. While I could spend the entire semester on adult learning theory and the impact learning in adulthood has on individuals and communities, I do not. My goal is to influence the perspectives and skills of future leaders that may find their career path taking them through a PCO unit (or two).

It is fascinating seeing students share their thoughts on adult and continuing education. So many throughout the years have indicated that they would be interested in pursuing a career in adult and continuing education after taking my class—mainly due to the varied nature of our work. They often confess that they never knew PCO was an option. You see, just as PCO professionals are the unsung heroes on college and university campuses, our work can go unnoticed or unknown to faculty members that teach in postsecondary-focused academic programs. Advocating for ourselves as professionals means advocating for our area of practice to be included in academic programs.

The culminating experience in my class challenges students to develop program plans for adult and continuing education participants. Every year I am amazed at the thoughtfulness and interesting programs planned by graduate students (if only all administrators showed such creativity and detail in program planning). You see, these students are the very same people that will lead programming efforts on our campuses in a few short years. I believe that changing the culture of postsecondary education to focus on contemporary learners (formerly known as non-traditional or adult learners) is supported by helping shape the perspectives of the leaders of tomorrow.

Here’s an example of me practicing what I preach: I require all student work posted in my online course and intended for access by others to be accessible. I provide links and information on how to caption videos, inform students that YouTube’s automatic captioning does not meet minimum accessibility requirements, and make accessibility part of my grading rubric. Honestly, could I do without the headaches and 11th hour emails? Sure. But how could I call myself an online professional if I didn’t take the opportunity to build this skill in future leaders, the same individuals that in a year or two may be responsible for creating website content for their university? If I don’t include practical skills and knowledge in creating accessible content for a postsecondary audience, who will?

Challenging Yourself

Ok, so I have shared the impact I am striving for in my class in terms of students, but what about me? How am I learning and growing? Well, let me tell you!

Moving a hybrid course that I inherited from one LMS to another and developing the rest of the course content so the offering would be completely asynchronous and online was a challenge. Sure, I had been on the administrative side of online for a decade at that point, but nothing prepares you for the hijinks in store for you when you don’t bother to view the ‘how to build a quiz’ tutorial provided by the instructional design team (guilty as charged). I admit that I went into the last days of 2014 a bit overconfident (waiting until the last weekend before a term start—a holiday weekend no less—to engage in this work). In the wee hours of 2015 I realized that no matter what you think you know about online course development, unless you are an instructional designer, “you know nothing, Jon Snow” (yes, that is a Game of Thrones reference). Since that time I have been far more considerate and solicitous to faculty, especially faculty that are first-time online instructors.

But you know what? That challenge was just that, a challenge. It was a new learning experience for me. Every day we face obstacles to our work and situations we need to negotiate. While my work varies, I find the most rewarding and exciting projects for me are those where I am beyond my depth—where I force myself into uncomfortable or really difficult situations. Now, could I have chosen not to try and convert a class to a new LMS over a holiday weekend right before the semester starts? Sure, but where’s the fun in that?

Bringing It Home

One of my mantras is “be the change you want to see in the world.” If we believe that we are professionals, we need to present our PCO work as necessary, nuanced, and requiring academic study. WE need to do this. We need to teach and we need to publish our research, although that’s another blog post for another day. I encourage you to talk to the leaders of your College of Education. Share with them the work that you do and how including that work in the curriculum (even as an elective) will provide students with a new perspective to the work they will embark on after they graduate. Let me know if you need help brainstorming or proposing a course. I would love to help you with these discussions.

Ok, well now you know why I teach. Now I want to know why you teach—anyone? Bueller?