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Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

2019 Association Award Recipients

At the 1953 Annual Conference of the National University Extension Association (NUEA), which was the forerunner of UPCEA, Robert Browne of the University of Illinois gave a speech honoring Tom Shelby, retiring Dean of the Division of Extension at the University of Texas. Browne conferred on Shelby the FX Key in honor of service to extension. Engraved on the key was “Fellow of Extension,” the year, and the Association’s initials. This was the first recognition award given by the Association.

The Association’s Awards Program has grown to include Association-wide, Community of Practice, and Regional Awards. Through these awards, UPCEA recognizes 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.

To the following recipients of this year’s awards and honors, UPCEA extends its congratulations.

Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership

The Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership is the most prestigious of all UPCEA awards. First established in 1965, the award 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. The award honors the memory of Julius M. Nolte, a pioneer in the field of continuing higher education. Nolte served as Dean of General Extension at the University of Minnesota from 1934–1962. He served as NUEA President in 1950–51, and was Secretary/Treasurer of the Association from 1956 to 1964.

Rich Novak

Richard Novak
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey

Walton S. Bittner Service Citation for Outstanding Service in UPCEA

The purpose of the Walton S. Bittner Service Citation is to express appreciation to a member for outstanding service professional, continuing, and/or online education at his/her institution, and service of major significance to UPCEA. The award is not necessarily given each year.

Patrice Miles

Patrice Miles
Georgia Institute of Technology

Adelle F. Robertson Continuing Professional Educator Award

The Adelle F. Robertson Professional Continuing Educator Award recognizes the scholarship, leadership and contributions to the profession of an outstanding continuing professional educator who has entered the field within the past five to 10 years. The Award is dedicated to the memory of Adelle Robertson, whose career in continuing education spanned 30 years. Robertson served as a member of UPCEA’s Board of Directors from 1979–1985 and as President from 1983–1984. Robertson set a standard of excellence in her own pursuits and inspired others to seek excellence in theirs.

Kim Holka

Kim Holka
Oakland University

Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature

The Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature recognizes the author and publisher of an outstanding work of continuing higher education literature. It is given in memory of Phillip E. Frandson, Dean of Extension, University of California, Los Angeles, and NUEA President, 1977–78.

Peter Smith

Peter Smith
Free Range Learning in the Digital Age

Free Range Learning

Dorothy Durkin Award for Strategic Innovation in Marketing and/or Enrollment Management

The Dorothy Durkin Strategic Innovation Award recognizes an individual for achievement in strategic planning, marketing innovation or enrollment management success. A key element in all areas is demonstration of creativity layered on a foundation of strategic thinking. Awardees will have exhibited leadership and commitment to achieving a responsive, student-centric culture at their institution.

Steven Kendus
University of Delaware

Leadership in Diversity Award

UPCEA encourages understanding, appreciation and the celebration of diversity, and the championing of equal access to education—inclusive of those who identify with different cultures, racial and ethnic backgrounds, sexual orientations, gender identities, religious beliefs, and physical disabilities. The UPCEA Diversity Leadership Award, established in 2010, recognizes an individual or a program representing best practices in promoting the educational success of diverse students. This award recognizes outstanding accomplishment in one or more of the following areas: research, educational programs and services, administrative practice, or organizational commitment.

Mitchell Springer

Mitchell Springer
Purdue University

Excellence in Teaching Award

The UPCEA Excellence in Teaching Award is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to continuing education. This award recognizes those who have made significant contributions to credit or non-credit programs and who have provided inspirational teaching to continuing education students.

Kathy Sherman Morris

Kathy Sherman-Morris
Mississippi State University

Outstanding Professional, Continuing, and/or Online Education Student: Credit Award

The Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award recognizes outstanding student achievement in professional and continuing education.


Stephen Brennan

Stephen Brennan
University of Minnesota

Outstanding Program: Credit Award

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

Purdue University CE

MS Education Learning Design and Technology
Purdue University

Outstanding Program: Noncredit Award

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


Missouri K-12 ESOL Certification Preparation
University of Missouri-Columbia

UPCEA International Leadership Award

UPCEA International Leadership Award recognizes an individual for representing innovative leadership in one or more of the following areas: educational programs and services; administrative practices; collaborations and partnerships; or research.


Marissa Lombardi

Marissa Lombardi
Education First

UPCEA International Program of Excellence Award

UPCEA recognizes globalization as one of the key forces molding higher education today. The Association encourages its member institutions and organizations, to extend their outreach globally and to facilitate international or global professional and continuing education in creative and innovative ways. The Association aims to play an active role in preparing individuals for effective participation in a global society by engaging in activities that promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas of global significance.


The International Psychology Doctorate Online Program
The Chicago School of Professional Psychology

11th Hour Award for Business and Operations

The UPCEA 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.

For the purposes of this award, dire circumstances or emergencies are defined by the following common attributes:

  • threat to the organization or institution
  • sudden or unexpected change
  • evident need for response
  • limited time to make decisions
UW Independent Learning logo

 Independent Learning Transcript Project Team
University of Wisconsin, Continuing Education, Outreach & E-Learning

UPCEA Award for Excellence in Advancing Student Success

The UPCEA Award for Excellence in Advancing Student Success is sponsored by InsideTrack

UPCEA recognizes student success is paramount to the mission of every institution of higher education. Professional and continuing education units realize they must provide strategic and crossfunctional projects, initiatives, and services that maximize success of the adult or non-traditional student. To that end, UPCEA aims to play an active role in preparing members for advancing the success of students in both credit and non-credit programs by acknowledging best practices and initiatives that “move the needle” in the advancement of student success.

Costas Spirou

Costas Spirou
Berklee Online

UPCEA Award for Strategic Innovation in Online Education

The award recognizes an institution of higher education (i.e. campus, system, or consortium) that has, at an institutional level, set and met innovative goals focused on online education and been strategic in the planning, development, implementation and sustainability in line with the institutional mission. Examples include authentic institutional online organizational structure, partnership models to achieve specific goals, maximizing resource efficiencies, improving the learning experience for faculty and students, or the use of technology and learning design to advance online education and address institutional goals.

University of Arizona Online

Transforming the Entire University through Innovations in Online Education
University of Arizona

UPCEA Engagement Award

The UPCEA Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding mutually-beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources between a member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations, or associations. The recognized partnership will demonstrate a knowledge partnership that has resulted in a measurable and sustainable shared impact in areas such as economic development, community development, workforce training, or capacity building.

Center for International Trade and Transportation

Center for International Trade & Transportation /POLB Academy of Global Logistics & California State University, Long Beach, College of Continuing & Professional Education