General Sessions

September 25 | 4:15pm – 5:15pm    

Evolving Ecosystems and the Impact on the Economy, Education and the Regional Workforce

In just the past year, momentum has shifted more rapidly than expected in a number of sectors and industries, which may dramatically impact related economies and ultimately higher education.  Economies and industries are likely to be disrupted and workers shifted to new industries and growth areas.  New demographics of power will come into place, which could place more support on new modes of learning such as badging and alternative credentialing. The UPCEA Center for Research and Strategy will show what it believes to be major changes on the horizon based on employer interviews, surveys of Millennials and Generation Z, occupational forecasts and scans of company and news sources.

  • JJim Fongim Fong, Director, UPCEA Center for Research and Strategy

Jim Fong is the founding director of UPCEA’s Center for Research and Strategy. In his role, Mr. Fong has analyzed demographic, occupational, technological and societal trends and data to help the higher education community better serve the adult and corporate learner.  As the Center’s director, he works closely with dozens of colleges and universities annually in new program development initiatives, enrollment management and marketing process analyses and the review of online and continuing education portfolios.

Prior to joining UPCEA, Mr. Fong worked as a higher education strategic marketing and CRM consultant and researcher for two firms and prior to that was the Director of Marketing, Research and Planning for Penn State Outreach.  At Penn State Outreach, he was responsible for strategic marketing, marketing management, research, creative and database teams.  Mr. Fong played a major role in the early launch of Penn State’s World Campus by assessing new program needs and the development of marketing strategies and systems. 

Jim holds an M.B.A., an M.S. in Applied Statistics and a B.S. in Mathematics, all from The University of Vermont.  In 2004, UPCEA awarded him the Adelle Robertson Award as its Continuing Professional Educator for the year.  That year, he also received the Mid-Atlantic Region’s Distinguished Service Award.

September 26 | 9am – 10am

Keynote General Session:
Calling BS in a Data-Driven World

The world is awash in BS. Pandering politicians, winking advertisers, startup soothsayers, television “experts”, and even some scientists use the news media to promulgate half-truths, misrepresentations and sometimes outright lies. In response, Jevin West and his colleague, Carl Bergstrom, created a class and website aimed at combatting this misinformation — — with a particular emphasis on data, figures, visualizations, and statistics. In this session, he will discuss how to identify and respond to BS in data we encounter in our personal and professional lives. In particular, he will help us decipher what is involved in the higher ed push for "Big Data" and show some visualization techniques that can help us communicate data more clearly and accurately.

  • Jevin WestDr. Jevin West, Assistant Professor, University of Washington

Jevin West is an Assistant Professor at the Information School at the University of Washington and co-director of the DataLab. His research centers around the Science of Science. He interrogates the literature at the scale of millions of articles to mine the origin of ideas and discipline, investigate social biases in science, understand publishing and funding decisions, and build better search interfaces for better navigating the literature. Relevant projects in his lab include EigenfactorVizometrics, and Coursector. More details of his research and teaching can be found at:

September 26 | 2:45pm – 3:45pm

The Universe of Alternative Credentials

Business, industry, and changing demographics suggest the demand for traditional four year degrees will remain flat or decline, while alternative credentials will increase. Suppliers of alternative credentialing can come from a number of places, but will higher education keep pace? This presentation will showcase essential elements of the Alternative Credential landscape, including foundation support, advocacy for badging and micro-credentialing, institutional responses, and benchmarking data which defines the emerging trends in alternative credentials.

  • Wayne Smutz

    Wayne Smutz, Dean of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension, University of California Los Angeles

Wayne Smutz is Dean of Continuing Education and UCLA Extension at the University of California Los Angeles, a position he has held since October 2013. Prior to his current role, he was the Executive Director of the Penn State World Campus and Associate Vice President of Academic Outreach.

Dr. Smutz also is the Founding Dean of UCLA Global Online.  This campus initiative is focused on establishing UCLA’s presence as a global university with respect to its educational offerings.  It will include both campus based graduate-level programs and UCLA Extension certificates when it launches in Fall 2018.

Dr. Smutz is President of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and has served on its board for several years. He previously served on the boards of the Online Learning Consortium (formerly the Sloan Consortium) and the American Distance Education Consortium. He was a faculty member for the Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning in 2011 and 2012. In 2011, he received the Sloan Consortium's John Bourne Award for Individual Achievement in Online Learning while in the same year Penn State's World Campus was awarded the Sloan Consortium's award for Institution Wide Excellence in Online Learning. In addition, he has received national and regional UPCEA programming and engagement awards.

A native Californian, he is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate with a BA in History from the University of California at Berkeley, and the recipient of an MA in political science, along with a PhD in higher education, both from Penn State.

  • Rovy BranonRovy Branon, University of Washington

Rovy Branon is the vice provost for University of Washington Continuum College. In this role, he oversees all UW Professional & Continuing Education programs and staff.

Previously Branon was the associate dean for online learning and the executive director of the Academic Advanced Distributed Learning Co-Lab at the University of Wisconsin-Extension in Madison.

Prior to his work in higher education, he led an instructional design team at Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis. He has more than 20 years of instructional media and learning technology development experience in corporate, higher education and not-for-profit settings.

Branon holds a Master of Education in Instructional Systems Technology from the University of North Carolina and a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Technology, and a minor in human-computer interaction, from Indiana University.

  • Melanie Mitchell

    Melanie Mitchell, Oregon State University Extended Campus

Melanie Mitchell is the Director of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) at Oregon State University. She leads the academic, financial, operational and outreach efforts of this self-supporting $3 million enterprise, which receives no state or campus funding.

With over 11,000 adult leaners, offering more than 300 classes and programs per year, PACE identifies, creates and supports lifelong learning opportunities that offer tangible value through quality programming that address educational, professional and economic development goals of individuals and organizations in Oregon and beyond. 

Since 2014, PACE has grown to offer customized corporate training that provides end-to-end services to organizations of all sizes and across all industries, enterprise-wide.  PACE has created an infrastructure that promotes individual advancement and regional economic development to address modern workforce needs and provide individuals with access to career advancement programs that strengthen their ties to Oregon State University.

  • Nancy SalzmanNancy Salzman, Brandman University

Nancy Salzman is the Dean of the School of Extended Education at Brandman University where she leads and manages the team responsible for development and delivery of programs aligned with the university’s strategic initiatives; developing and nurturing partnerships with the community associations, businesses, and military installations throughout the university’s system of twenty-seven campuses throughout California and Washington; and develops other opportunities for revenue and enrollment generation.  Nancy also chairs the Brandman University competency based programming committee, leading a cross functional team that initiates and provides the functional support required to develop and deliver competency based programs across multiple Brandman schools. 

Prior to joining the Brandman University team, Nancy practiced law as a member of two large California law firms, built a solo practice, was the education director for a nonprofit lobbying organization, and taught law and business courses at various educational institutions.  Nancy received her undergraduate degree from Tufts University, her law degree from Loyola Marymount, and a teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach.


  • Bob Hansen

    Bob Hansen, CEO, UPCEA

Dr. Robert J. Hansen was named Chief Executive Officer of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association in September 2010. Under Hansen’s leadership, UPCEA has grown by 125% in the past six years. He established a number of initiatives targeting the association’s unique role in online leadership and management under the umbrella of the National Council for Online Leadership: the Summit for Online Leadership and Administration, the Online Leadership Roundtable for chief online learning officers, and the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership. He also established the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Professional and Continuing Education, advancing two frameworks to provide a set of standards that reflect the ambitions, potential, and importance of units that serve adult learners.

Hansen previously served as Associate Provost for University Outreach at the University of Southern Maine, a regional public university located in Portland, Maine. Prior to that position, he spent six years at Saint Xavier University of Chicago as Assistant to the President & Secretary of the Corporation, and then as founding Executive Director of Orland Park Campus & Off-Campus Programs. Hansen also previously served as Assistant to the Governor for Education in the administration of former Illinois governor, Jim Edgar. Hansen earned a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Illinois, an M.A. in English Language and Literature from the University of Michigan, and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Notre Dame.



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