Category 1: Innovative Program (Non-Credit)
2016 Recipient: University Learning Store
University of Wisconsin-Extension Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning
This award is given to an outstanding new noncredit program which has been offered within the last two years. The University Learning Store is a department store-like venue for job-focused credentials. Students can purchase individual assessments to certify their knowledge, buy content to gain new knowledge or skills, and purchase support services to help them achieve the credentials they seek. The Learning Store enables the learner to develop a customized learning experience to meet career goals, needs and abilities. Content includes soft skills, technical skills and career enhancement skills. Authentic assessments are developed by one or more institutional partners in the Store and certified by faculty or content experts affiliated with or employed by those institutions. Upon successfully completing an assessment, a learner’s competency is verified and can be added to his or her resume.
Category 2: Mature Program (Credit)
2016 Recipient: BSN@Home Collaborative
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire; University of Wisconsin-Green Bay; University of Wisconsin-Madison; University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee; University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh; University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point; University of Wisconsin-Extension Division of Continuing Education, Outreach and E-Learning
This award is given to a mature credit program which demonstrates sustained innovation and has been offered for a minimum of five years. The BSN@Home program offers the opportunity for registered nurses to earn a bachelor’s of science in nursing at their own pace. 1,804 graduates have received their BSN degree since the inception of the program in 1996. The BSN@Home degree program was widely considered innovative at its launch and, thanks to the evolution of distance learning technologies, continues to earn recognition for making a degree-completion program accessible to the Wisconsin workforce. The program includes a shared core curriculum of upper-level nursing courses along with an extensive array of electives for students to select from in fulfillment of the requirements for the BSN degree.
Category 2: Mature Program (Non-Credit)
2016 Recipient: Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programs
This award is given to a mature noncredit program which demonstrates sustained innovation and has been offered for a minimum of five years. The Integrated Pest Management program was originally started in 1969 with a correspondence course. Over the years a total of nine courses have been developed in collaboration with faculty, graduate students and pest professionals. The courses were moved to an online format in the early 2000s and each course is revamped every three to five years to be brought up to date and to utilize new tools to engage students. Courses have also been translated into Spanish and Arabic for specialized populations. The program is well-utilized by the pest control industry with 1,000-1,500 participants each year.
Category 3: Excellence in Teaching
2016 Recipient: Ellen Gundlach
This award is given to an individual who has provided outstanding leadership and service to continuing education in the UPCEA Central Region. Ellen Gundlach is recognized as an outstanding instructor who incorporates best practices from the literature, an innovative course structure and thoughtful planning of every aspect of her course. She offers a variety of learning experiences in coordinated traditional lecture, fully online and hybrid sections to the students in her course. In redesigning the curriculum for the STAT 113 course, Ms. Gundlach included projects that ask students to carefully assess the evidence for an advertiser’s claims; do a service project involving survey design, data collection and presentation of results to a student organization on campus; use social media to discuss current events such as the validity of pre-election polls or the evidence for/against one of their own good or bad habits; and complete a 24-hour diary where students record all the ways they give data away during a typical day, compare and contrast privacy policies and discuss exciting uses of Big Data. Ellen has won multiple awards for teaching, mentoring and writing and assists teachers across the country by providing access to creative ideas and teaching resources, including coauthoring a textbook on probability.
Category 5: John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award
2016 Recipient: Terrie R. Nagel
University of Missouri
The John L. Christopher Outstanding Leadership Award is given to a UPCEA Central Region professional member who has exhibited outstanding leadership and service within the region. Terrie Nagel currently serves as the assistant director for research, a new unit within Mizzou Online, conducting high-level research on online enrollment, online completion and other areas related to online learning. She has been a UPCEA member since 2004 and has served in a central region leadership role in an ongoing basis since 2008, first as co-chair then chair for the committee on committees handling elections and bylaws for the region. She has served as the Central Region Treasurer since 2013.
Category 6: Research and Publication Award
2016 Recipient: Amy Pilcher
Iowa State University
The Research and Publication Award is given to a continuing educator, faculty or graduate student whose research proposal promises to make a significant contribution to the study of adult or continuing education. Amy Pilcher is currently conducting research on virtual learning communities for online students as a way to help institutions establish support systems which can increase the perceived experience and value of the education received by the learner. Her major professor describes Amy as an exceptional student, well-grounded in the literature, and very passionate about online education and improving access to education for adult non-traditional students.
Category 7: Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award (Credit)
2016 Recipient: Amy Pilcher
Iowa State University
The Outstanding Continuing Education Student Award for a credit student is given to an adult student who has met the challenge of an unconventional educational background and has become an inspiration to others through the individual growth accomplished in pursuit of his or her educational goals. Amy Pilcher overcame financial hardships during the recent economic recession, transitioning from full-time homemaker to online student in order to earn her bachelor’s degree while staying home with her young children until they reached school age. The flexibility of online courses allowed her to work full time to support her family while continuing her education. After completing her bachelor’s degree she accepted a position in distance education administration and, through night courses, online courses and hybrid options, has continued her education toward her PhD while continuing to work. She states that her experiences in online courses and adult education programs as a student have driven her to seek out a career in that field.
Category 8: Continuing Education Support Specialist Award – Staff in a Support Role
2016 Recipient: Maleah Lundeen
Kansas State University Global Campus
The Continuing Education Support Specialist Award provides recognition to a UPCEA Central Region professional member or a professional, continuing or online education staff person of a member institution who has exhibited creativity and innovation in the area of program support. Maleah Lundeen has excelled in her role as student services coordinator, greatly expanding communications with prospective and current students, developing a social media presence for her institution and developing communications plans to keep current and prospective students informed of deadlines. In particular, in the past year she has taken the lead to implement a new customer relationship management system at her institution. Maleah is described as a patient, resourceful problem solver whose pursuit of best practices and cheerful attitude have made her a valuable asset to her institution.
Category 9: Engagement Award
2016 Recipient: Women Managing the Farm Conference
Kansas State University Global Campus
The Engagement Award recognizes an outstanding partnership between a member institution and one or more external constituents such as local communities, corporations, government organizations or associations. The partnership should demonstrate a mutually beneficial exchange of knowledge and resources and result in a measureable and sustainable shared impact in areas such as economic development, community development, workforce training or capacity building. The Women Managing the Farm conference is partnership between public and private entities to offer a conference for women of all ages engaged in family farm management. The partnerships include a public research institution and its extension division, regional and federal agencies and a growing number of statewide agricultural organizations. The conference has been held annually since 2005, serving approximately 250 participants per year. Through the sponsoring partnerships, some registrations are subsidized, allowing the program to become more diverse and engaging. One participant noted that the conference is of great value to her, providing new information, support and motivation among the participants, and networking with others which she could not find elsewhere.
Category 10: Excellence in Advising
2016 Recipient: Sandra Sites
University of Missouri-Columbia
The Excellence in Advising Award is given to the individual who has provided outstanding leadership or service in an advising role to professional, continuing or online education students in the UPCEA Central Region. Sandra Sites serves as an online program coordinator, coordinating and managing online degree programs and courses and assisting prospective and current students with program information, enrollment and application processes. In a supporting letter, the department chair writes that Sandra is “an exemplary professional staff member focusing on online education. Her commitment to advancing the online programs [within our department] has been of tremendous importance over the last 18 years.” Another supporter notes that “She is a friendly and effective collaborator and is always willing to stop what she is doing to lend a helping hand. Her pleasant demeanor and conscientiousness make her an ideal candidate for this award.”