Leaders in Online and Professional Continuing Education

UPCEA Online Professional Development Course Catalog

PCO Professional Courses

PCO Professional Courses can be bundled to earn to the PCO Professional Certificate. Complete any five courses below to earn the certificate or take just the courses you need and receive a badge for every course. 


Markets, Marketing, and Managing the Cycle from Prospects to Learners

How are new and changing markets identified? How are programs -- in both content and format - developed to meet the needs of learners?  How can data analysis help shape ongoing understanding of markets?  This course will explore the processes and operations that convert markets into enrollments.  

Program Planning and Oversight in Professional, Continuing, and Online (PCO) Education

How do those in professional, continuing, and online education create their program portfolio?  How are resources marshalled and managed?  This course explores how an often unique mix of programs can be designed, developed, and delivered -- on-campus, on-site, and online. 

Academic Strategic Planning in a Constantly Changing Environment

What are the processes for identifying opportunities, developing evidence, determining goals, defining key milestones, establishing accountability, and measuring outcomes? How do you engage others in these processes? This course explores how strategy combines analysis and action.  Learning, planning, implementing, and reassessing permeate all levels of professional, continuing, and online education -- more so than perhaps any other area of higher education. 

Forecasting, Budgeting, and Managing Money in an Environment of Uncertainty and Risk

How do those in professional, continuing, and online education analyze opportunities, project revenue and expenses, identify prudent ways to manage resources, monitor cash flow, and mitigate financial disaster?  How do you measure success and respond to failure, reallocate resources, and determine new investment opportunities?  Those in PCO often operate as a stand-alone business --  by relying on revenue to support operating costs, and depending on forecasting, cash flow, and  agile pivoting to new strategies. 

Understanding the Adult Learner and Other PCO Constituencies in Professional, Continuing, and Online Education

Who are the constituents and stakeholders that compose the ecosystem of Professional, Continuing, and Online Education? What are the unique characteristics and educational needs of adult learners?   How do the characteristics of the student market determine how programs are designed and delivered?

This course examines prospective student markets and how to address their educational needs.  This course also examines the roles of employers, communities, and government agencies in creating educational opportunities.

Creating and Motivating PCO Enterprises 

How are professional, continuing, online enterprises staffed, faculty recruited, and units organized? What are the various organizational models?  How are teams assembled to design and launch new programs?  This course will focus on mobilizing people to work together towards common objectives.  

The Nature of American Higher Education

What makes higher education so important in the United States?  Why are universities often such a mystery and controversy in our society?  What are the key roles and power structure in the university?  What are the realities, issues, and future prospects colleges and universities face?  This course provides a foundation for those pursuing careers in academic administration -- and an opportunity for participants to appreciate the context and breadth of institutions beyond their personal and professional experience.  

The Language and Culture of Higher Learning

What does an aspiring academic administrator need to know in order to work and navigate within an academic enterprise?  What terminology, standards, roles, and structures govern and guide the contemporary university?  This course provides an understanding of  definitions, roles and titles, processes, and organizational governance models needed to be conversant and adept in navigating within the academic ecosystem. 

Overview of Professional, Continuing, and Online Education (PCO)

What are the various ways universities organize and empower their units for professional, continuing, and online education?  What are some unique features and approaches within these entities, particularly in how they address the educational needs of adult learners? This course provides a broad understanding of the variety of roles and models for professional, continuing, and online education across the academic landscape -- and the issues and opportunities they face. This course also looks at internal organizational structures, skill sets, and staffing. Finally, this course discusses professionalism and the role that UPCEA plays in networking and educating those in this domain. NEXT COHORT: OCTOBER 2022

The Entrepreneurial Imperative 

How are new opportunities identified and implemented? How do professional, continuing, and online professionals succeed in a competitive and ever changing environment? More than any other academic unit, the professional, continuing, and online enterprise is responsive, agile, risk-taking, and innovative -- all qualities of entrepreneurs, but within the realities and constraints of complex institutions. This course will explore how to navigate and innovate within a dynamic environment.

PCO Leader Courses

Explore leadership within higher education at a new level by focusing on how to responsibly manage people, data, and ideas with the PCO Leader courses. The PCO Leader Certificate Program is recommended for PCO leaders and those preparing for a significant leadership role in PCO. Each course is four weeks long. Complete all five Leader courses successfully and receive the PCO Leader Certificate. 

  • Next PCO Leader Cohort begins May 2022
  • Application deadline: April 22, 2022
  • Program Cost: $1990

Leading with Diplomacy, Data, and Drive: the Unique Imperative of the Professional, Continuing, and Online Leader

What are the characteristics that produce success among professional, continuing, and online leaders? Effective leaders develop evolving strategies, negotiate often treacherous political mazes, oversee a variety of contributors in their organization, and constantly seek  evidence for action -- all in the pursuit of integrity and success. This course focuses on the key elements of leadership -- responsibly managing people, data, and ideas.

The Role of Educator: Expanding Academic Horizons

How do leaders in professional, continuing, and online education work within the values, mission, and constraints of the modern university to expand the academic portfolio and reach of their institutions? This course focuses on how leaders identify and explore opportunities in the context of, and through collaboration with, those throughout their universities.  Unlike other academic leaders, the PCO leader is often less independent and shares educational programs and faculty with other schools within their universities -- so key partnerships are internal.  The PCO leader educates and enlists colleagues on future possibilities.

The Role of  Ambassador:  Connecting Academic and Real Worlds by Engaging Those in Business, Community, and Government

How do leaders in professional, continuing, and online education engage those beyond their institutions -- in corporations, government, professional associations, and community -- as partners and stakeholders?  This course explores the range of models for external partnerships as ways of exploring and securing new opportunities and markets.  Unlike other academic leaders, the PCO leader engages a wide array of industries and sectors in a variety of ways.

The Role of Innovator: Managing An Adaptive, Agile Organization

How do professional, continuing, and online educators create and sustain a vibrant organization, with talented and motivated staff, working in unison towards common goals? This course will focus on organizing a dynamic workforce -- since no leaders can be successful apart from their team. This course will explore resource management in the context of ongoing innovation.

The Responsible Professional: Managing Through Transparency, Integrity, Quality, and Accountability

How do professional, continuing, and online educators pursue excellence and success? This course explores the ethical challenges, and often difficult choices, that emerge in balancing competing objectives.