UPCEA Partners With Lumina Foundation To Launch Alternative Credential Challenge

January 4, 2016
Solutions Must Be Submitted by February 18, 2016

WASHINGTON, DC – UPCEA, the leader in professional, continuing, and online education, is pleased to announce a contest in partnership with the Lumina Foundation to bring increased visibility to the rise of alternative credentials and to seed innovation.

It is now widely understood that the United States cannot reach its degree attainment goals using only traditional milestones such as associate, baccalaureate or graduate degrees. This problem has profound implications for national competitiveness and a democratic society. While it is true that there has been a recent proliferation of alternative credentials such as certificates, badges, and endorsements, the transformative potential of this development has been severely limited by the absence of a common “currency” that is recognized by employers, academics, and students alike as having value.

“For 100 years, UPCEA’s members have expanded access by offering programs in alternative times, locations, formats, and have pioneered what might now be called ‘alternative credentials,’” said David Schejbal, UPCEA President and Dean of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning at University of Wisconsin-Extension. “UPCEA believes that it is time to develop a new system of alternative credentials that is widely understood and embraced, especially focusing on skills valued by employers such as an individual’s ability to communicate effectively.”

Spurred by this important new development, UPCEA, in partnership with the Lumina Foundation, created this alternative credential challenge. Through this challenge, UPCEA specifically seeks proposals for a prototype of a credential that signals to employers in clear, verifiable ways that an individual can communicate effectively. This prototype has the potential to serve as a building block for a new system of supplementary or alternative credentials.

The challenge is open to solutions from all parties. More information is available at Lumina’s InnoCentive challenge portal. Solutions will be accepted for the challenge via the InnoCentive portal through February 18, 2016.



UPCEA is the association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. With innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications, we support our members’ service of contemporary learners and commitment to quality online education and student success. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Visit


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