UPCEA Announces 2023 Association Award Recipients

February 1, 2023

8 Individuals and 8 Programs Receive Association’s Highest Honors


WASHINGTON, February 1, 2023 – UPCEA, the leader in online and professional continuing education, has announced the recipients of the 2023 Association Awards. The UPCEA Association Awards program includes recognition of both individual and institutional achievement across the UPCEA membership.

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.

Award recipients will be honored at the 2023 UPCEA Annual Conference, March 22-24 in Washington, D.C.

“We are extremely gratified to see the impressive individual and programmatic award nominations submitted by UPCEA members,” said Tanya Vincent, Program Manager, Online Student Services at Western Kentucky University and Chair, UPCEA Awards Committee. “The Awards Committee is pleased to recognize the work and achievements of all of this year’s award recipients.” 

The recipients of this year’s awards are as follows:


Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership is given to an individual in recognition of unusual and extraordinary contributions to the cause of continuing education on the regional, national, and/or international level.

Recipient: Nelson C. Baker, Georgia Institute of Technology


Phillip E. Frandson Award for Literature recognizes the author and publisher of an outstanding work of continuing higher education literature.

Recipient: New Models of Higher Education: Unbundled, Rebundled, Customized, & DIY, Aaron M. Brower and Ryan J. Specht-Boardman, University of Wisconsin Extended Campus


Adelle F. Robertson Emerging Professional Continuing Educator Award recognizes the scholarship, leadership and contributions to the profession of a person who has entered the field within the past five to ten years.

Recipient: Jayzona Alberto, Stanford University


UPCEA Leadership in Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Award recognizes an individual or a program that represents best practices and demonstrates positive impact in promoting cultural shift in the organization that promotes diversity and inclusive excellence.

Recipient: Office of Educational Equity, University of Phoenix


Dorothy Durkin Award for Strategic Innovation in Marketing and/or Enrollment Management recognizes an individual for achievement in strategic planning, marketing innovation or enrollment management success.

Recipient: Therese M. Grohman, Northwestern University


UPCEA Excellence In Teaching Award is presented to individuals who have provided outstanding teaching, course development, mentoring of students, and service to continuing education.

Recipient: Karen S. I. Gebhardt, University of Colorado Boulder


UPCEA Outstanding Professional, Continuing, And/Or Online Education Student Award: Credit recognizes outstanding student achievement in professional and continuing education.

Recipient: Nancy Khasungu Makale, University of Pennsylvania


UPCEA Research and Scholarship Award recognizes significant new research with implications for professional practice in the field of continuing higher education.

Recipient: Kimberly M. Underwood, University of Phoenix


Outstanding Program: Credit Award recognizes outstanding professional and continuing education programs allowing students to earn academic credit.

Recipient: Cannabis Science and Operations Undergraduate Certificate, Saint Louis University


Outstanding Program: Noncredit Award recognizes outstanding professional and continuing education programs that do not offer credit.

Recipient: Institute on Pedagogy and Technology for Online Courses, Columbia University


UPCEA International Program of Excellence Award recognizes a program engaged in activities that promote the exchange of knowledge and ideas of global significance.

Recipient: International Leadership Through Partnership: Master’s of Data Science Programme, Northwestern University


UPCEA Business & Operations Award for Operational Excellence recognizes outstanding individual contributions in operations, entrepreneurial, and intra-preneurial work that moves an institution into a more favorable position, specifically in financial, human, administrative and IT operations in professional, continuing and online units at postsecondary institutions.

Recipient: Annette Webb, University of California, Riverside


UPCEA Outstanding Service in Postsecondary Instructional Design Award recognizes outstanding service to the field of instructional design in one or more of the following areas: modeling and disseminating research (via workshops, webinars, conferences, papers, etc.), best practices, innovative methods, and/or mentorship, all for the betterment of the instructional design community.

Recipient: Holly Fiock, Purdue University

This award is being presented at the 2023 Distance Teaching & Learning (DT&L) and Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable (SOLA+R), July 25-27, 2023 in Madison, Wisconsin. 


UPCEA Award for Excellence in Advancing Student Success recognizes an individual or program for advancing the success of students in both credit and non-credit programs.

Recipient: WKU CARES, Western Kentucky University


UPCEA Award for Strategic Innovation in Online Education recognizes an institution of higher education that has set and met innovative goals focused on online education and been strategic in the planning, development, implementation and sustainability in line with the institutional mission.

Recipient: Online Self-Paced Prerequisite Courses, Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences


UPCEA Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding mutually-beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources between a UPCEA member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations, or associations.

Recipients: California Nursing Home COVID-19 Action Network, Stanford University


UPCEA Innovation in Alternative Credentials Award recognizes a higher education institution that has successfully implemented an innovative alternative credential program with positive results.

Recipient: Micro-credential Initiative, Kennesaw State University


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UPCEA is the leading association for online and professional continuing education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The association supports its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Learn more at



Molly Nelson, UPCEA Vice President of Communications, [email protected]


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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.