The Pulse of Higher Ed

Perspectives on Online and Professional Education
from UPCEA’s Research and Consulting Experts

New Report Reveals 61% of Higher Education Leaders Believe Continuing Education Units are Undervalued Compared to Traditional Departments

The 2024 State of Continuing Education study focused on institutions’ online and professional continuing education units program offerings, institutional support and capabilities, institutional integration and innovation, and continuing education collaboration and integration within the larger institution. Despite their role in shaping the modern learner’s journey, a staggering 61% of higher education leaders feel their professional, continuing, and online education units are not accorded the same recognition as other academic entities within their institutions.

Successful collaboration between academic institutions and their online and professional continuing education units is essential for their sustained success, fostering open communication, and knowledge sharing. However, the 2024 State of Continuing Education survey, published by Modern Campus in partnership with the Canadian Association for University Continuing Education (CAUCE), The EvoLLLution, and UPCEA, reveals a number of challenges, with a notable percentage of respondents expressing dissatisfaction with institutional leadership’s efforts, highlighting potential missed opportunities for lifelong learning support. 

Addressing these challenges can lead to a more harmonious collaboration, fostering a shared commitment to modernization and innovation, ultimately enhancing institutional impact and sustainability in the evolving education landscape.

“Online and professional continuing education continues to experience increasing support from institutional leadership. Unlike years past, support is now evolving into additional resources for these units, particularly in the form of staffing, as institutions employ a more concentrated effort to organize and manage continuing education,” said Bruce Etter, Senior Director of Research and Consulting at UPCEA. “However, these units are still far from reaching their true potential as challenges related to data accessibility, technology integration, and perceptions around academic quality persist. Institutions that can address these challenges and embrace continuing education as an academic equal will be best positioned to serve all students.”

Download the full report.

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