AHEAD and UPCEA Partner to Support Online Enterprise Accessibility

April 4, 2018

Partnership will focus on aspects of accessibility including faculty support, student support, and cultivating institutional advocates

WASHINGTON, D.C. (April 4, 2018) – AHEAD, the organization of professionals committed to full participation in higher education for persons with disabilities, has partnered with UPCEA, the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education, to exchange resources, engage in collaborative research opportunities, and identify skills and best practices for stakeholders that support accessibility in online education.

It is incumbent upon higher education institutions and administrators to serve all students – and especially persons with disabilities – appropriately across the entire online learning experience. Removing barriers that occur across the full spectrum of academic and student services during a student’s learning lifecycle requires a proactive strategy.

The need for resources, research, and best practices surrounding accessibility in online courses was the impetus for the partnership between AHEAD and UPCEA. Through the partnership, institutions will have expanded access to the tools, support, and networking needed to build appropriate infrastructure for online course accessibility.

“Access has been part of UPCEA and UPCEA members’ missions for decades. It is natural for PCO leaders to consider all aspects of access, specifically accessibility,” said Julie Uranis, Vice President, Online and Strategic Initiatives for UPCEA. “By partnering with AHEAD, we’re encouraging UPCEA members to examine their accessibility efforts and to look to UPCEA and AHEAD for support and professional development.”

AHEAD and UPCEA will be collaborating in the coming months to mutually explore accessibility through the lens of online education (and specifically the operational aspects that institutions need to consider) through both organizations’ conferences and webinars.

“We recognized that the best way to elevate the topic of accessibility in the work of professional, continuing, and online education units is through direct collaboration,” said Stephan Smith, Executive Director of AHEAD. “We are proud to work with UPCEA and the association’s members on accessible media, web, and technology – all of which are integral to both the work of today’s institutions and the needs of persons with disabilities in higher education.”


# # #



Since 1977, AHEAD has offered an unparalleled member experience to disability resource professionals, student affairs personnel, ADA coordinators, diversity officers, AT/IT staff, faculty, and other instructional personnel, and colleagues who are invested in creating welcoming higher education experiences for disabled individuals. Informed by its diverse membership, AHEAD delivers exceptional professional development opportunities through conferences, workshops, webinars, publications, and consultation; fosters community and member networking; informs members of emerging issues relevant to disability and higher education in the legislative and regulatory spheres; and disseminates data, promotes research, and furthers evidence-based practice. AHEAD boast a membership of approximately 3,000, representing all 50 states and over 10 countries. In addition to its direct memberships, AHEAD has formal partnerships with 37 Regional Affiliates and numerous professional organizations. AHEAD members are actively engaged in service provision, consultation and training, and policy development on their campuses and promote accessibility across the field of higher education and beyond. Learn more at



UPCEA is the association for leaders in professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UCPEA membership includes most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. For more than 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities, and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues. Learn more at



Valerie Spears


Molly Nelson



Get Involved with UPCEA

Professional development isn't just about attending sessions. Get involved with UPCEA to meet members from other institutions, share the great work your institution is doing, and hone your own skills. From submitting a session proposal for a conference or an article for a publication to serving as a volunteer on a conference planning committee, there are as many ways to engage with us!


Awards of Excellence

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.