UPCEA Announces 2024 Association Award Recipients

February 2, 2024

8 Individuals and 8 Programs Receive Association’s Highest Honors

WASHINGTON, February 2, 2024 – UPCEA, the online and professional education association, has announced the recipients of the 2024 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 2024 UPCEA Annual Conference, March 26-28 in Boston, Massachusetts.

“The caliber of nominations received this year is a testament to the unwavering dedication of UPCEA members to advancing excellence in higher education,” said Catie Weaver, Instructional Designer II, Western Kentucky University and Chair, UPCEA Awards Committee. “As we honor this year’s recipients, we celebrate their profound contributions to the evolving landscape of online and professional education, inspiring learners and peers alike.”

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: Karen Sibley, Brown University


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

Recipient: The Abundant University: Remaking Higher Education for a Digital World, Michael D. Smith, Carnegie Mellon University

(MIT Press | Amazon)


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: Casey Rothenberger, San Diego State University Global Campus


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: UCR University Extension Social Justice Taskforce, University of California, Riverside University Extension


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: Whitnie K. Powell, Indiana University Online


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: J. Scott Christianson, University of Missouri


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

Recipient: Joshua Perez, Rutgers Law School


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

Recipient: Teaching with Artificial Intelligence, Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning, Auburn University


UPCEA Global Program Award for International Partners recognizes exemplary and/or innovative programming by a non-U.S. institution that creates international educational opportunities for students and/or faculty.

Recipient: San Diego State University-Georgia


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

Recipient: MIT Professional Education-Global Programs


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: Marc Booker, University of Phoenix


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: Jessica White, North Carolina State University

This award will be presented at the 2024 Distance Teaching & Learning (DT&L) and Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable (SOLA+R), July 22-24, 2024 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. 

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: Professional Project Administrator Program, Royal Roads 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: KSU Course Quality Management Model, Kennesaw State University


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: Small Economies, Bright Futures: A Reflexive Partnership Model for Skill Development, The University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and Small Economy Works


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

Recipient: Curv Microcredentials, The G. Raymond Chang School of Continuing Education at Toronto Metropolitan University


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UPCEA is the online and professional education association. Our members continuously reinvent higher education, positively impacting millions of lives. We proudly lead and support them through cutting edge research, professional development, networking and mentorship, conferences and seminars, and stakeholder advocacy. Our collaborative, entrepreneurial community brings together decision makers and influencers in education, industry, research, and policy interested in improving educational access and outcomes. 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.