A message from Dean Judy Ashcroft


I am so proud to offer my congratulations to Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE) on 100 years of service to the state of Texas.

Through CIE, The University of Texas at Austin offers students across Texas and around the world the continuing education and professional development options they need as well as the personal enrichment opportunities to be continuous learners. For our students, UT is truly their university for a lifetime.

Most people think of continuing education as knowledge and skill enhancement for working adults. However, at UT Austin, Continuing and Innovative Education serves persons of all backgrounds, at any point in their educations and in their lives. Indeed, Continuing and Innovative Education is one of the most comprehensive university based programs anywhere in the world. We are home to one of the largest K-12 programs and also the largest, most established Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in the nation.

Both the K-12 and older adult communities will continue to grow in the coming years. However, the greatest growth will be in Continuing and Innovative Education’s primary demographic: the non-traditional student. The non-traditional student was once simply defined as any student entering college for the first time that is not the standard college age of 18-21 years old.

Today, the U.S. Department of Education's National Center for Education Statistics (NCES) has expanded that definition of the non-traditional student as having one or more of the following characteristics:

  • Delaying enrollment into postsecondary education,
  • Attending part time,
  • Being financially independent from parents,
  • Having dependents,
  • Working full time while enrolled,
  • Being a single parent, or
  • Having a GED or high school equivalent certificate.

Within this definition, today’s non-traditional student makes up:

  • 89% of undergraduates at both public 2-year and private for-profit colleges.
  • 57% of undergraduates at 4-year public colleges.
  • 50% of undergraduates at private nonprofit colleges are non-traditional students.

This explosion of "non-traditional" students has made Continuing and Innovative Education as relevant as ever. This growing number of students needs the access, relevance, affordability, and quality found in the programs CIE has to offer. And we continuously strive to find new ways to meet the needs of these students with all of the rich educational resources found at The University of Texas at Austin.

In the coming years, Continuing and Innovative Education will continue the legacy of our predecessors of 100 years ago. We will continue to pioneer and develop new areas of study and innovative delivery methods for 21st century learning. I look forward with great enthusiasm to seeing what the future holds for Continuing and Innovative Education.

Dean Judy Ashcroft
Continuing and Innovative Education
The University of Texas at Austin


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