Competency and Attribute Statements for Professional, Continuing, and Online Practitioners

UPCEA is pleased to share this recently released competency set, which is meant to serve as the foundation for various activities within the association. The following Competency and Attribute Statements for Professional, Continuing, and Online Practitioners consist of the essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions required of Professional, Continuing, and Online (PCO) Education practitioners. These competency statements can be used for self-assessment, to draft position descriptions, and to craft individual professional development plans.

These items were grouped under headings that aligned with UPCEA’s Hallmarks of Excellence documents to reflect an alignment between the enterprise-focused and aspirational Hallmarks and the individually-focused, specific competency statements. All modules in UPCEA’s online professional development program – launching in summer 2020 – will indicate which competencies are addressed by specific modules and certificates. Look out for course details and registration information coming soon!

Entrepreneurship, Partnerships and Relationship-Building

1.) Builds internal and external relationships that support PCO initiatives and the institution, representing PCO perspectives to internal and external constituencies

2.) Employs an entrepreneurial mindset and business acumen to guide PCO initiatives


Resource Management

3.) Manages overall operational resources (people, space, and money) for the purposes of achieving optimal organizational performance

4.) Manages facilities for the purposes of event management and delivering educational opportunities

5.) Manages human resources for the purposes of hiring and employing staff to create a productive workplace

6.) Motivates and develops team members for the purposes of creating trust as well as building and retaining a dynamic team of PCO professionals

7.) Understands the laws, regulations, policies, governance, and institutional contexts relevant to the PCO enterprise

8.) Understands the implications of financial models, revenue sources, and higher education budgeting processes relevant to the fiscal management of a PCO unit


Supporting and Advocating for Faculty and Students

9.) Marshalls and supports necessary support to identify, recruit, retain, and develop subject matter experts/faculty for PCO programs

10.) Identifies, recruits, and retains students in PCO programs

Program Planning

11.) Plans, executes, and evaluates programs relevant to the PCO enterprise and initiatives

12.) Understands curriculum design, sourcing, and revisions inclusive of learning strategies and theories delivering instruction and supporting programmatic outcomes and objectives for PCO programs


Marketing, Research, & Evaluation

13.) Employs market research and prospective student/participant needs to guide marketing activities and aspects of program delivery

14.) Possesses an understanding of the marketing strategies and principles appropriate for PCO programming and consistent with the professional's role in the PCO enterprise


Information and Digital Technology

15.) Possesses functional and operational knowledge of information management and digital technology in the support of the PCO enterprise


Critical Thinking and Decision Making

16.) Engages in analytical and critical thinking for the purposes of evaluation, reflection, and analysis

17.) Engages in inductive and deductive reasoning for the purposes of forming rules, policies, or conclusions or apply existing rules or policies to arrive at conclusions

18.) Engages in evidence-based decision-making which often requires collaboration and consensus building

19.) Navigates and/or resolves complex and sensitive situations

20.) Thinks strategically with flexibility and creativity


Integrity, Ethics, and Professionalism

21.) Adheres to professional and personal standards and/or demonstrates conduct reflective of the ethics and theories in PCO enterprises and higher education in general

22.) Models effective leadership and demonstrates a willingness to provide direction and communicate a vision for the PCO enterprise

23.) Possesses social perceptiveness and orientation to facilitate diverse, inclusive, and culturally sensitive PCO working and learning environments to serve global audiences

24.) Demonstrates broadly-accepted personal and professional attributes, often described as soft skills, found in good team members regardless of position or role in the PCO enterprise

25.) Engages in active learning to stay current with PCO trends, stakeholder needs, and operational improvements