From the CEO

Musings on trends and updates from UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen. 

Major Announcement: Introducing online professional development from UPCEA

I am pleased to share a major announcement today regarding a profession that is indispensable to the future of higher education. The field of Professional, Continuing, and Online Education (PCO) has truly come of age in the 21st century – and our importance and sophistication continues to expand exponentially as our members play an increasingly critical role in the success and survival of their institutions.


This reality has prompted the Board of Directors to elevate the profession itself with the most significant initiative ever undertaken by UPCEA: the creation of industry standards for what it means to be a professional in the PCO field, with certificate programs designed around those standards. It is time.


Especially in this global crisis, those at all levels of Professional, Continuing, and Online Education must have the expertise and broad understanding to contribute to their institutions. The pandemic makes this initiative even more urgent and impactful – indeed, a strategic imperative for the field.


We are proud to share UPCEA’s all-new online professional development programs!


Elevate Your Career

The UPCEA Professional Development programs offer opportunities at every stage of your career:

  • PCO Foundations Certificate: ideal for beginning (less than 2 years of experience) or new-to-PCO higher education professionals and colleagues from other areas whose work intersects with PCO.
  • PCO Professional Certificate: designed for professionals with 2-5 years of experience, PCO professionals in operational roles who possess an interest in expanding their knowledge, or experienced professionals from other institutional areas who have been tapped to fill roles in PCO operations.
  • PCO Leader Certificate: developed specifically for PCO professionals with extensive (8+ years) and increasingly responsible experience in the field and leaders with an interest in peer-to-peer learning with their colleagues in the field.

Each program is composed of five modules designed by highly respected PCO leaders. Selected via a national search, these Founding Faculty will bring their experience and knowledge to facilitate a vibrant learning community.


Professional Development that Fits Your Needs and Schedule

In July, we will release the first modules in two certificate programs (PCO Foundations and PCO Professional), as well as shorter Special Topics. Subsequent modules in each program will be released and available on a rolling basis.


All PCO certificate modules are:


Registration Opens in June!

Details coming soon! We’ll deliver the most important information right to your inbox, or you can explore the UPCEA Professional Development programs webpage for more specifics.


We look forward to bringing you these opportunities to take your career to the next level, or provide critical staff development for your team.


Finally, I’d like to recognize the leadership of Julie Uranis, UPCEA’s VP of Online and Strategic Initiatives, and new Faculty Director Jay Halfond for bringing this enterprise to a successful launch!

Bob Hansen 2

Bob Hansen is the CEO of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Since 2010, Hansen has reinvented the century-old organization – creating the Center for Research and Strategy in 2011, establishing a number of initiatives focused on the association’s unique role in online leadership and management, and positioning the association as an important advocate for policy issues related to non-traditional and online learners. The association has more than doubled in size during Hansen’s tenure by successfully diversifying revenue. Hansen previously served as Associate Provost for University Outreach at the University of Southern Maine, and as Assistant the Governor for Education in Illinois. He holds a Ph.D in English from the University of Notre Dame.