The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) began as an initiative at the University of Wisconsin – Madison nearly one hundred years ago. The association seeks to make education more available to adult learners and serves as an industry resource for continuing education institutions and affiliated organizations. Recently proposed reforms promote the incorporation of more technology into student recruitment and the classroom, solidification of the role of the UPCEA Center for Research and Consulting and development of new member association revenue streams.

The UPCEA will be hosting its 97th Annual Conference in Portland, Oregon later this month March 28-30, 2012. Described on its website as “the premier, international association for educators, administrators and staff working in [professional and continuing education],” the conference offers an opportunity to explore how UPCEA members can make education more resilient and sustainable. Penny Ralston-Berg, Instructional Designer at the Penn State World Campus and co-author of MindMeld: Micro-Collaboration Between eLearning Designers and Instructor Experts, will be speaking at the event on “Student Perspectives of Quality in Online Courses.”

I recently sat down with David Schejbal, Program Chair of the 2012 UPCEA Conference, to learn more about the upcoming conference and his thoughts on what association and non-profit distance education professionals can gain from joining UPCEA and attending the conference. As more eLearning management opportunities become available, networking with these types of associations gains steadier importance.

Click play to listen to the interview (approx. 5 minutes)