Leaders in Professional, Continuing and Online Education

UPCEA Owner's Manual

You’ve invested in the best, now get the most from your membership in the association for professional, continuing, and online leaders — UPCEA!


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. For more than 100 years, the association has served its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA also builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.

UPCEA is a diverse, inclusive organization supporting and welcoming individual and institutional diversity. We strive for diversity in membership and leadership, including representation from all types of institutions and individuals from all races, genders, and backgrounds.



Let’s get started by logging in to your UPCEA member account at www.upcea.edu/login and taking a look around. You can customize your profile and password, register for conferences at discounted member rates and join one of our six professional networks. No matter how long you’ve been in higher ed, you can find value in UPCEA's online portal.

Members also have access to CORe, UPCEA’s member community and online networking space where you can ask, answer or search for questions on relevant topics.


Need help? Call us at 202.659.3130 or email info@upcea.edu if you have trouble logging in or need assistance.


It’s Your Network

Everybody talks about the importance of networking, but how often do you get to do it with people who really understand the business of professional, continuing and online education? That’s where your UPCEA membership is key! Your network just got a lot bigger, more accessible and relevant.

Today, the field of professional, continuing, online education is characterized by engagement in very complex, highly specialized areas of practice. UPCEA’s six Networks are designed to serve professionals practicing in the key areas that define this vibrant and growing sector of higher education.

At UPCEA, we know that sharing with colleagues and developing lifelong friends is more than just social — it’s a critical business investment in your institution’s ongoing success and your own career advancement. There are abundant networking opportunities at UPCEA’s conferences and seminars, but you can also get advice, answers and ideas from your colleagues online via CORe, UPCEA’s professional networking platform.

Your membership gives you full access to:

✚ Active conversations, and the chance to ask your questions in real time

✚ Access to join any number of UPCEA's six Networks, or special groups like the eDesign Collaborative or the National Council for Online Education

✚ Robust search of conversation archive

✚ A diverse resource library

✚ UPCEA’s entire member directory

✚ Exclusive member content — including benchmarking studies, conference session slides, and webinar recordings


Specialized Areas of Practice

Join a Network Today — Choose One Or All Six!

As an UPCEA member, you can join the Network that’s best for you! Visit upcea.edu, log in to your member portal, and then select the “Browse Networks + Committees” link in the “My Networks + Committees” section. Then click “view” next to the committee of your choice, then scroll down to “committee tasks” and click “join.”

Read below for a short description on each of our Networks.

A Gear - Business and Operations Network Icon

Business & Operations

The mission of the Business and Operations Network is to share best practices and emerging trends related to the business and operations as well the strategic imperatives of professional, continuing, and online (PCO) units at post-secondary institutions. We do this through the exchange of intellectual resources and expertise specific to work focused on the financial, human, operational, and IT resources required to support units that are entrepreneurial in nature.

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Community and Economic Engagement

The Community and Economic Engagement Network's (CEE) core mission is to support network members in promoting new and innovative, internal, and external collaborations to help advance local and regional communities and economies and extend the reach of campus communities. The network represents university outreach and engagement, inclusive of community, economic, and workforce development.

Globe Outline - International Network Icon


Educational institutions are embracing the need for global competencies, are incorporating international concepts into the curriculum, are continuing to develop satellite campuses and are actively pursuing international students, international faculty, study abroad and exchange opportunities, philanthropy, etc. And these changes are happening in countries all over the globe—not just in the United States. The International Network is an indispensable resource, leading the profession toward a prominent role in navigating the globalization of the academy.

Lightbulb - Marketing, Enrollment, and Student Services Network Icon

Marketing, Enrollment, and Student Services

The MESS Network engages members in actively building the competencies, skills, and confidence needed by today’s professionals to successfully attract and retain students in an ever-changing and increasingly competitive adult, continuing, professional, and online education marketplace. The Network focuses both on powerful fundamentals and on new and emerging marketing, enrollment, and services practices that come from both inside and outside higher education.

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Online Administration

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.

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Program Planning & Implementation

The PPI Network provides a forum for members to share and explore program management best practices and innovations in credit and non-credit programming. The Network supports the professional development needs of program coordinators, managers, and directors and the similar competencies necessary to be successful professional, continuing, and online leaders. The network is a community that strives to identify, develop, and sustain innovative programs. 

Did You Know?
Anyone can join a Network — all you need to do is sign yourself up! UPCEA members have access to six professional Networks, as well as the eDesign Collaborative for instructional design teams. Visit upcea.edu/edesigncollab for more information. 

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Industry Leading Events

Attend or view webinars on your schedule, and connect with peers in your area at a Regional Conference — especially useful for new or mid-level professionals. Share your lessons learned with colleagues by presenting a conference session, and get involved with the association by becoming a volunteer leader. Connect with other high-level leaders through the Annual Conference and all our events.

2019 eDC ThinkTank Roadshow Square
Throughout 2019

2019 eDC ThinkTank Roadshow

 Multiple Locations

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DECEMBER 4-6, 2019

2019 Marketing and Enrollment Management Seminar

New Orleans, LA

SOLA+R - Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable | February 4-6, 2020 | New Orleans, LA | UPCEA
FEBRUARY 4-6, 2020

2020 SOLA+R (Summit for Online Leadership and Administration + Roundtable)

 New Orleans, LA

2020 UPCEA Annual Conference - Boston | March 18-20, 2020
MARCH 18-20, 2020

2020 UPCEA Annual Conference

Regions - Your Place For Local Networking!

UPCEA’s five regions provide opportunities for members to examine issues of local and regional importance, develop collaborative initiatives, network with area colleagues, and take advantage of cost-effective professional development at regional conferences each fall. Regional content is especially useful for new and mid-level professionals who will discover opportunities to build leadership skills and learn from our industry’s best in a smaller, more intimate conference setting. Take part in a leadership program, build your skills as a presenter, or nominate a program or person from your region for a regional, national or marketing excellence award.

Use the map to find your region!

Regional Map 2019

Regional Conferences

UPCEA Mid-Atlantic Region Map | West Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C., Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New York
OCTOBER 2-4, 2019

2019 Mid-Atlantic Region Conference

 Pittsburgh, PA

UPCEA South Region Map | Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia
OCTOBER 14-16, 2019

2019 South Region Conference

 Lake Buena Vista, FL

UPCEA Central West Super Regional 2019 Conference Denver
OCTOBER 23-25, 2019

SUPER 2019: Central & West Regional Conference

UPCEA New England Region Map | Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, Maine
MARCH 17-19, 2020

2020 New England Regional Package

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Research and Best Practices
UPCEA members can sign up for and read UPCEA publications to be in the know with the latest news and trends in the field. Also, with exclusive access to our research and benchmarking reports to see how you compare to other institutions. You can also get custom research to help refine your strategy, and receive recognition for institutional excellence in your online efforts.

UPCEA Consulting — The best value in the industry today.
Informed decisions. Ideas that work. The data you need.

Reasonably priced and all in one place from the experts in professional, continuing, and online education: UPCEA. Whether you need benchmarking studies, guidance for your online enterprise, market research for a new program, or specific information to evaluate and develop strategies to take your programs to the next level, UPCEA Consulting is the right choice. Consulting is offered via the Center for Research and Strategy and the National Council for Online Education. UPCEA also offers peer review teams for on-site visits. See who we’ve worked with at upcea.edu/clients.


Free resources from our top consultants!

Members get more!

As an UPCEA member, you have access to research and benchmarking studies via CORe, and can use our popular Second Opinion program at no charge. Our consultants are available to provide short, rapid-response consultations on questions that require an independent, expert perspective.

The National Council for Online Education

Managing the complicated business of online and distance learning needs best practices, big ideas and the brightest minds to be successful in today’s dynamic and highly competitive world. It requires the sophistication of a modern-day institution and the entrepreneurial leadership of any complex business. The work of the National Council for Online Education is transforming the way institutions leverage online education as a critical strategic asset. The National Council is led by Founding Director Ray Schroeder and Managing Director Julie Uranis — both leading experts in the online space.

Center for Research and Strategy

The Center for Research and Strategy UPCEA offers the gold standard of research and benchmarking information in the industry through its Center for Research and Strategy. Under the experienced leadership of Jim Fong, the Center conducts several free studies per year for the benefit of all UPCEA members, in addition to dozens of custom studies for individual members that are considerably more affordable than the private sector. 

Peer Review

UPCEA deploys teams for on-site consultations at discounted pricing for members that include a strategic review of infrastructure, program mix and services and a host of related topics customized to meet the needs of your institution.

UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Education Review

In the spirit of continuous improvement, UPCEA’s National Council for Online Education conducts external reviews of centralized and decentralized online enterprises, provides insights and feedback, and recognizes excellence. Hallmarks Reviews offer leaders the opportunity to receive feedback and recognition for their quality assurance efforts pertaining to various elements of online education.

UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Professional and Continuing Education

The Hallmarks of Excellence in Professional and Continuing Education define a set of standards that reflect the ambitions, potential, and importance of a professional and continuing education unit’s work. The Hallmarks contain seven pillars of excellence, as well as several themes that cross these pillars. A complement to the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership released in 2015, the Hallmarks can be found at the link below.

Timely, Actionable Communications
The UPCEA magazine, Unbound: Reinventing Higher Education, is an 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. We consider ourselves a learning community, extending beyond the classroom into the larger community. All who have ideas to share about the direction and future of education are welcome. Visit unbound.upcea.edu.

The UPCEA Briefing is a bi-weekly primer designed to position our members as thought leaders on their campuses. The Briefing provides timely, topical, and trending information that members can apply in their programs and departments. Ray Schroeder’s daily blog, the Professional, Continuing, and Online Education Update by UPCEA, is a curated collection of higher education news articles with relevance
to members. Visit bit.ly/PCONews.

UPCEA blogs feature posts from industry experts and thought leaders on the latest in professional, continuing, and online education, including online leadership trends, marketing and enrollment research, instructional design, and more. Check out some recent blog posts below and visit upcea.edu/blogs to explore all UPCEA blogs.

Recent UPCEA Blog Posts

UPCEA Member Analytics: Managing a Marketing Infrastructure

No longer is marketing just the development of a catalog, viewbook, brochure or billboard. It now includes marketing strategy and customer engagement as well as brand management.  In an evolving economy fueled by data analytics, making wise marketing resource and infrastructure decisions is critical.  Earlier analyses have shown that there has been a clear shift…

Read More

Emergence of Blockchain

Blockchain is evolving into a robust platform that may shake many aspects of higher ed. We all have heard much about the potential for blockchain, particularly how it might serve as a distribution, validation and secure ledger of transcripts and associated certifications.  MIT did the early work on this.  Two years ago they began offering the distribution…

Read More

Framework for Plotting the Future of Your Online Program

We are in the midst of a major shakeup in higher education. Dozens of colleges have closed in the past couple of years (hundreds if you include failed for-profit chains). The closure parade is growing so fast that Education Dive is maintaining a running list of closures. Meantime, mega-universities have emerged with large online initiatives…

Read More

Micro-Mobility, E-Scooters and Implications for Higher Education

If young Millennials and Gen Z’ers continue to disrupt through greater adoption of other modes of transportation in the sharing economy and advancements in driver-assisted and self-driving vehicles continue, expect our cities to start to transform. With less disposable income than previous generations, a heighten consciousness toward the environment and disinclination to purchase big ticket…

Read More

Coalition Supports FY2020 House Appropriations Bill

UPCEA joined with ACE and 35 other organizations yesterday to send a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations as they were approving spending bills for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for fiscal year 2020. Today, the House Committee on Appropriations approved its bill, allocating $75.9 billion to the Department of Education…

Read More

Because we don’t want our team members to ‘Move On’

Many moons ago I wrote about the UPCEA Hallmark of Excellence in Online Leadership – Professionalism and how online leaders could begin implementing aspects of that Hallmark in their performance appraisals and professional development plans of staff members (see Professionalism and Staff Evals). The other day I read this piece on the Gallup Talent Blog.…

Read More

Career Center

Looking for that perfect person to fill an open position at your institution? Get the responses you want from the UPCEA job board. UPCEA hosts online job recruitment advertisements for both UPCEA members and non-members.

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Volunteer and grow as a leader, presenter, or mentor

Take an active role in your membership! Members are encouraged to serve as volunteer leaders — there are many ways to get involved:

✚ Be an ambassador, “conference buddy” or mentor

✚ Submit a proposal to present at regional or national conferences

✚ Serve on a regional or network committee

Join a network and share your knowledge

Volunteer at your regional conference

✚ Join the UPCEA Diversity & Inclusion Committee and help shape D&I efforts in the association and field

✚ Submit an article for Unbound, UPCEA’s e-journal

Post on CORe and join the conversation

Showcase your excellence with membership awards!

Association Awards

The Association Awards Program includes recognition of both individual and institutional achievement across the UPCEA membership. UPCEA recognizes 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 other areas.
Click here to learn more about Association Awards.


Each of the five regions host individual awards programs. Awards are presented at regional conferences.
Click here to learn more about Regional Awards.

The Marketing, Enrollment, and Student Services Network sponsors an annual competition — the UPCEA Marketing Awards — to recognize the best marketing practices and promotional pieces in the field of professional, continuing, and online education. We invite Association members to enter their finest work for the academic year in the awards competition. The entries are reviewed by a panel of marketing, communication, and design professionals. Winners are chosen and announced in the fall.
Click here to learn more about Marketing Awards.

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Care and maintenance + Customer service

You can log in and update your member information at any time, or call the Washington, D.C. office if you need help updating your organization’s roster. With your list of professional members up to date, you and your colleagues won’t miss any important communications from UPCEA, including research and studies available only to members delivered right to your inbox!

Need help mapping the details? Call us!

To add more professional members to your organization’s roster, call us at
202.659.3130 and we will be happy to work with you. Our Washington office is open Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ET. We’re here for you! If at any time you have questions, concerns or need more information to get the most out of your UPCEA membership, call us! UPCEA team members will answer your questions or point you in the right direction. Or feel free to email us at info@upcea.edu.