Linda Glessner reports research on educational “resilience” at national conference


On March 28-30, the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), the nation’s leading organization for professionals in the field of continuing education (CE), held its annual conference in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Linda Glessner, Executive Director of Continuing and Innovative Education (CIE), escorted a contingent from The University of Texas at Austin to the conference to take part in panel discussions and seminars built around this year’s theme of “Resilience.” The theme has taken on significance in recent years as restructuring in higher education and CE units has required administrators and educators to re-evaluate old operating methods.

On the first day of the conference, Dr. Glessner took part in a panel discussion entitled “Redefining Resilience: Leading Change through Strategic Analyses and Accountability.” With her were co-panelists Joseph Ugras of La Salle University, Emily Richardson of Stetson University, Robert Manuel of Georgetown University and Denise Gillis, researcher in residence for CIE. The session examined strategic planning processes for the organization of departments and systems, as well as the evaluation of individual CE units.

During this discussion, Dr. Glessner shared her ongoing research to evaluate professional knowledge products and services at the University. She discussed how CIE has been working to create a matrix tool to assess the effectiveness and relevance of its “knowledge products.” One of the goals of the research is to create a matrix that will examine CE units as business entities. The matrix will help CE enterprises identify marketable business opportunities where gaps in learning and management may now exist. Taking advantage of these opportunities will help organizations demonstrate their resilience, flexibility and value to their parent organizations.

This paradigm is based in part on the internationally recognized methodologies outlined in the book "Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant," by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne. The strategy describes how profits and growth may be generated through the exploration of new, uncontested market space (a "Blue Ocean") instead of competing head-to-head with other educators/suppliers in a pre-existing and crowded marketplace.

What is the end goal of Dr. Glessner’s research to explore “Blue Ocean” opportunities in Continuing and Innovative Education? To create more learning opportunities and more flexible knowledge products in CIE, in our partner educational institutions and in our communities.

Look back to this blog in the coming months for more information about Dr. Glessner’s research and publishing.


Tags: upcea, resilience, research, linda glessner, blue ocean strategy,