Online Leadership and Administration

UPCEA is dedicated to advancing quality online learning at postsecondary institutions and is uniquely focused on excellence at the highest levels–leadership, administration, strategy. Learn from the experts as you network with our engaged community from leading universities who steward the online enterprise at their institutions.

UPCEA provides resources for online leaders ranging from industry-leading events, quality standards and best practices, research and benchmarking, and consulting.

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News & Events

2022 Distance Teaching and Learning (DT&L) Conference

August 3-5 | Virtual

Exciting news! The University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW-Madison) and the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) are partnering to co-present the annual Distance Teaching & Learning (DT&L) conferences in 2022 and 2023. 

Since 1985, UW–Madison’s DT&L Conference has provided a transformative professional development experience for individuals working in the field of distance and online education – from faculty and instructors to instructional designers and administrators. This event perfectly complements UPCEA’s focus on online leadership and administration. The partnership will bring DT&L to an expanded community of professionals in the field, creating an even more valuable conference experience for all.

See all UPCEA Events

Online Leadership Roundtable

The annual meeting of the Council for Chief Online Learning Officers (C-COLO), the body for senior leaders charged with driving online strategy at the unit or campus level. C-COLO and its members are focused on leveraging the strategic potential of online learning to transform our institutions and our society.

Each UPCEA member institution may have a representative on C-COLO who may attend the Online Leadership Roundtable and be at the forefront of UPCEA’s growing number of online initiatives.

Interested in learning more about the C-COLO? Contact Julie Uranis, Senior Vice President of Online and Strategic Initiatives, [email protected].

Professional, Continuing, and Online Education News

Each and every day, Senior Fellow at UPCEA and Associate Vice Chancellor of Online Learning at University of Illinois Springfield Ray Schroeder brings you curated news articles.

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Get Involved

Join the Online Administration Network

The Online Administration Network (OA) serves as a bridge between the administrative functions of online learning (marketing, online student services, program development, etc.) and the design of online learning. Participation in the OA Network provides access to authentic institutional online operational models, best practice trends in online management, professional analysis of learning design applications, and the formulation of best practices in the use of technology and learning design in online instruction.

Join the eDesign Collaborative Network

The UPCEA eDesign Collaborative (eDC) Network serves higher education instructional design teams (instructional designers, multimedia developers and team administrators) seeking networking and professional development. Participation in the eDesign Collaborative Network provides access to a community of professionals who are interested in best practices for online course creation.

Gain Knowledge and Advance Your Career with UPCEA’s Online Professional Development

Learn from expert facilitators and connect with peers online as a part of UPCEA's Professional Development courses. Interested in earning the PCO Pro Certificate from UPCEA? Get the essential skills and knowledge you need with UPCEA’s Learning Center! Bringing you the leading experts in the field of professional, continuing, and online (PCO) education, these programs offer high-value and relevant content for practitioners at all levels.

Select and bundle five courses from the Foundations Series and Professional Practice Series.

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Resources and Publications

UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership

Online education is critical for the future of America’s universities, and require institutional strategy and structure to accomplish this major undertaking. These Hallmarks focus on the features and principles that will create opportunities for students that far exceed anything already achieved in higher education, take pedagogy to a new level, and demonstrate the capacity of universities to be an even more vital force in our society.

Online: Trending Now

Unique, biweekly insights and thought leadership from Ray Schroeder, Senior Fellow at UPCEA.

Credential Train Is Leaving the Station—Get on Board

May 26, 2022

In 1997, Sylvia Manning, then VPAA of the University of Illinois system, later president of the Higher Learning Commission, declared, “The online learning train is leaving the station—get on board or be left behind!” That prescient message by one of higher education’s most astute leaders of the past quarter century certainly proved to be true.…

Communicating the Realities of Higher Ed in 2022

May 12, 2022

This is a challenging time to lead, as a provost, dean, director or department chair at a college or university. That is not to say that there are not successes and rewards to be achieved, but they come harder than in decades past. One can say that every era in our field has brought challenges.…

A Tale of 2 Communities (of Learners)

April 28, 2022

This is a rather dark Dickensian time in higher education, caught in the storm of societal and economic sea change. Yet, there is hope for those institutions who recognize and respond to the changes that are upon us. “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of…

Engaging Learners for Relevancy and Retention

April 14, 2022

Too often we assess our own learning by how pleasant the learning experience is, rather than assessing retention as well as how authentically relevantly and meaningfully those experiences and outcomes apply to real-life situations. For nearly half of my faculty career, I taught mostly through a face-to-face lecture mode. Yes, I dabbled in simulations and…

Breaking the Boundaries of Time and Space

March 31, 2022

An artifact of centuries of schooling history in agrarian cultures, our universities have been bound by semesters, quarters, terms and other rigid predefined calendar schedules. Likewise, we have been fenced in by regulations of states, campuses and other locational limitations. For good reason, it is time that these boundaries are broken! Learning should be defined…

Google Career Certificates: Heralding the Future

March 17, 2022

Postsecondary education is broken. The signs are obvious and pervasive. Although not perfect and not a universal solution, Google has launched an alternative approach that illuminates the way to address many of the shortcomings that plague our current system. While the problems with education beyond high school are deep and many, three towering issues loom…

You, Your Human Digital Twin and the Higher Ed Metaverse

March 4, 2022

The concept of a higher ed metaverse is less about replicating the brick-and-mortar university and more about creating a unique reality immersing learners in experiences, creativity sandboxes and assessments that enable learning. The emergence of the metaverse in education has been in development for some two decades. Progress has been slow, in part because of…

How AI and Associated Technologies Change the Role of Higher Ed

February 18, 2022

As artificial intelligence and associated technologies extend their influence in our society, the role of higher education must change. We can no longer prepare learners for static careers in unchanging fields. We are in the midst of profound change in the nature of employment worldwide. Fueled most recently by the pandemic, the nature of work,…

Collaboration Is Key to Successful Alternative Credential Creation

February 4, 2022

A tsunami of alternative credentials is emerging to meet the shifting learning needs of those in the workforce. Higher education is looking beyond the dwindling market of 18-year-olds to lifelong, professional and continuing ed to sustain enrollments. One million fewer students are enrolled in higher education in the U.S. than before the pandemic began. As Nathan…

Leadership in the Time of the Great Resignation

January 20, 2022

Much has been written about the Great Resignation; it is a phenomenon of profound significance. As leaders we need to look at ourselves, our own practices and peer/employee relationships, to clearly see the path forward. Month after month, the number of “quits” across industries and fields, including higher ed, continue to set new records. Clearly,…


UNBOUND is UPCEA’s e-publication in magazine format, designed to showcase thought leadership, case studies, research and other valuable contributions to the field. UNBOUND welcomes articles from all those who are involved in higher education, especially those who work with adult students.

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UPCEA has the knowledge and resources colleges and universities need to serve adult learners, online learners and contemporary students.

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Contact Us!

To learn more about how UPCEA can help you and your organization navigate the vastly changing landscape of online, professional and continuing education please complete this form or email us at [email protected]

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