- Barriers exist that prevent professional and continuing education and academic registrars from effective collaboration
- A closer relationship will serve traditional students as well as professional and continuing education learners
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A new survey examining current relationships, successful collaborations, and barriers between institutional professional and continuing education (PCE) and academic registrars and others in central administration finds that while barriers exist, there is growing opportunity for better alignment to meet the needs of diverse student populations.
The report Collaboration, Competition or Convergence?: The relationship between professional and continuing education and traditional academic programs, explores the degree to which PCE and traditional academic programs currently operate in collaboration or competition for students and/or institutional resources.
The report is a collaboration between the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and Modern Campus.
Data from this first-look 2023 benchmark survey addresses a number of issues, challenges, and opportunities that institutional professional and continuing education (PCE) units face with academic registrars and others in central administration. This includes a startling stat: 86 percent of respondents from institutions with existing PCE units believe that barriers exist that impact the ability of the PCE unit and the academic registrar to work closely together. These barriers include lack of common practices, policies, shared technologies and serving a common learner population.
Survey results indicate that institutional PCE practices and offerings are varied. There is no predominant model that describes the level of cooperation or competition between the PCE unit and the academic registrar. However, there are increasing opportunities for PCE and traditional academic programs to work together to enhance learning mobility, improve college access for undergraduate-adult learners, and support institution-wide student success.
“With increasing pressures and headwinds facing the traditional higher education model, it is essential that PCE units work closely with registrars and other central administrators to develop systems and processes that support a stackable model of education,” said Bruce Etter, Senior Director of Research & Consulting at UPCEA. “This symbiotic relationship will enable institutions to efficiently serve not only traditional students, but also degree completion students as well as professional and continuing education learners.”
By taking a more intentional, global and strategic approach to credential innovation, institutions can ensure equitable and accessible programs and opportunities that prepare all learners for the workforce and beyond.
As institutions seek to be learner/student centric (as opposed to revenue-centered), the report sets the stage for cooperation on practice, policy, and the use of technology to support various educational paths and opportunities in a more comprehensive manner.
“For decades, leaders in professional and continuing education (PCE) units have worked in parallel structures to manage programming and learners, developing best practices and operational excellence along the way. However, as their work becomes more critical to the future of the broader university, it’s essential to shrink barriers between PCE and traditional academic units like the Registrar’s Office,” said Amrit Ahluwalia, senior director of strategic insights at Modern Campus. “Research like this is central to creating a common understanding of the opportunities and challenges, and it’s our hope that this understanding leads to greater opportunities for collaboration and growth.”
Download the report to learn more about PCE practice within an institution, the type of credits and credentials offered, and the myriad of special-population programs to which learners have access.
This press release originally appeared online.