Standing On and Building the Shoulders of Giants - Picture shows Easter Island statues with the sun over the horizon between the middle of them.

As UPCEA’s 2019-2020 board president, it has been an honor to work with the many wonderful people who are committed to this organization. These individuals are leaders in their own right — not only at their home university but also as thought leaders and champions of online and continuing education across the globe.

Together, UPCEA and those working for its advancement, have accomplished amazing things over the past year. The kinetic vibration around what we are doing is everywhere and made evident through sold-out events, the immensely enriching online member communities, and even in hallway chatter and phone calls. We have seen growth in membership, activity participation, and corporate engagement. The pursuit to create and support the workforce of tomorrow is vibrantly active, and as forward-thinking leaders, you are guiding the way.

Part of my role as board president was to ensure that the association was also looking to the future. The board took on that responsibility fully, engaging in discussions and strategic conversations with an inclusive focus on positioning UPCEA’s ability to continue to thrive and serve its members. We have worked to reshape our governance process and renewed our commitment to be an accountable and consequential board — one that intentionally welcomes diversity of thought, perspective, and experience into the strategy of the organization.

The organization of UPCEA represents a collective group of people, each dedicated to making transformational educational options achievable. The collaborative efforts of those who came before us and the dedication to a greater mission by those currently involved in this organization are remarkable. I’m continually inspired by your experiences and willingness to share lessons learned, divulge visions and ambitions, and tirelessly advocate for the millions of individuals who need additional education to reach their lifetime goals. Working alongside you is what makes me most excited and I feel thankful to be among such giants. You are leading higher education into the next generation of serving its learners, not just in the fundamental years post-high school, but in all years — precollegiate to retirement and beyond.

This publication, Unbound, is just one mechanism for you to share these amazing viewpoints. Thank you to Northwestern University, which initially took the lead on this periodical for UPCEA. I encourage each of you to take an interest in Unbound’s continued success by volunteering to work with the Rutgers University team as it goes forward. Write articles and share your experiences, perspectives, and time — whatever you give is incredibly valuable, and you never know whom you might be helping to become the giants of tomorrow!


Nelson C. Baker, Ph.D., is the dean of Professional Education at the Georgia Institute of Technology and professor in the university’s School of Civil and Environmental Engineering. As dean, Dr. Baker leads a multifaceted operation including the Global Learning Center, Georgia Tech-Savannah, the Language Institute, and Georgia Tech’s extensive professional education programs in STEM- and business-related subjects. Dr. Baker also oversees educational outreach programs and serves as the interface between Georgia Tech’s professional education activities and the industries, corporations, government agencies, and professional societies that benefit from them.