UPCEA Unveils Top Predictions for Online and Professional Education in 2024

December 4, 2023

UPCEA’s experts explore the explosion of AI, maturation of online learning, enrollment declines and other factors impacting the future of higher ed.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Dec. 4, 2023)UPCEA, the online and professional education association, today released its Predictions 2024: Insights for Online and Professional Education. In this report, UPCEA’s experts provide insights that bring clarity and understanding of the trends, issues and events driving disruption and change, including the explosion of AI, maturation of online learning, enrollment declines and the increasing importance of ROI. 

“Online and professional continuing education is poised to play a significant role in the recasting of higher education,” said Bob Hansen, CEO of UPCEA. “As the base of residential students continues to erode at many institutions, campus leadership will increasingly turn to those who understand how to serve contemporary learners.”

The report includes 16 unique insights from 11 top experts in the online and professional education arena. A sampling of these predictions includes:

  • More Campus Leaders Will Embrace Business Model Transformation to Spur Innovation in Serving Today’s Learners
  • Welcoming Online Learning to the Campus Leadership Table Becomes a Double-Edged Sword
  • Continuing and Professional Education Will Be the Entry Point for AI at Many Institutions
  • Online and Professional Continuing Education Will Help Fortify Institutions in the Face of Declining Enrollment Trends
  • ‘Synthetic Human’ Technology Will Be Applied in Higher Ed, With the Potential to Enable Engaging ‘Student-to-Student’ Interaction in Self-Paced Online Classes
  • External Forces Will Impact Online and Professional Learning in a Variety of Ways

Insights contained in the report are organized within some of UPCEA’s key focus areas: 

  • Leadership in Online Learning
  • Professional & Continuing Education
  • Alternative Credentials

The following UPCEA staff and advisors contributed their predictions for the report:

  • Aaron Brower, Strategic Advisor, UPCEA; Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a Fellow with the John N. Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education
  • Derek Bruff, Strategic Advisor, UPCEA, and Visiting Associate Director, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, University of Mississippi
  • Susan Catron, Strategic Advisor, UPCEA, and Dean Emerita from University of California, Davis
  • Stacy Chiaramonte, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Operations, UPCEA Research & Consulting Group
  • Marie Cini, Strategic Advisor, UPCEA, and Provost and Chief Academic Officer at University of The People
  • Jay Halfond, Vice President, Institutional Planning, UPCEA, and Professor of the Practice Emeritus at Boston University
  • Robert Hanson, Chief Executive Officer, UPCEA
  • Amy Heitzman, Deputy Chief Executive Officer & Chief Learning Officer, UPCEA
  • Kathleen Ives, Chief Business Development Officer & Senior Vice President of Member Engagement, UPCEA
  • Ray Schroeder, Senior Fellow, UPCEA and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois, Springfield 
  • Julie Uranis, Senior Vice President, Online and Strategic Initiatives, UPCEA

UPCEA’s Predictions 2024: Insights for Online and Professional Education is available for download at


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. For more information visit


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