UPCEA Announces Key Staff Changes, Positioning Association for Next Phase of Strategic Growth

Julie Uranis, formerly of WKU, hired as Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives; Amy Heitzman elevated to Deputy Chief Executive Officer

 
WASHINGTON, D.C., January 25, 2017 – UPCEA, the leader in professional, continuing, and online education, has announced a number of key staff changes designed to carry the association through its next phase of strategic growth. After growing by 140% since 2011, these changes will allow UPCEA to expand its service to members and others in the field with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities, timely publications and advocacy.  
 
UPCEA has hired Julie Uranis, formerly of Western Kentucky University, as Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives. Chief Operating Officer Lori Derkay is departing the association to pursue her next challenge as a senior association executive. With decades of leadership experience in Washington, Derkay was instrumental in helping to re-build the infrastructure of the association. Amy Heitzman, formerly UPCEA’s Senior Vice President for Strategy and Chief Learning Officer, has been named Deputy Chief Executive Officer.
 
“UPCEA has been reborn over the last five years,” said Alice Warren, Vice Provost for Continuing Education at North Carolina State University, and President of the UPCEA Board of Directors. “UPCEA continues its trajectory of change through leadership, growth, expansion, increased services, events, and practices that are impacting its professional members in many positive ways. As President, I am proud of these purposeful steps as our association has grown and shifted to meet the needs within our profession.”
 
Julie Uranis Hired as Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives
As Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives, Uranis supports the Center for Online Leadership (COL), including both the COL Advisory Council and various COL partnerships and collaborations. She also leads the planning efforts for the Summit for Online Leadership, which established UPCEA as the source for innovations focused on online leadership, strategy, and management. Additionally, she leads the planning of the Online Leadership Roundtable, the body for postsecondary chief online learning officers focused on thought leadership and policy. She also supports the work of the eDesign Collaborative, a new group within UPCEA focused on the needs of instructional designers/technologists and multimedia developers from both public and private sectors. Finally, she works closely with the CEO and the Chief Learning Officer on key strategic initiatives such as the development of web-based professional development opportunities and initiatives associated with the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership. 
 
Prior to joining UPCEA, Uranis led two distinct units at Western Kentucky University (WKU). Her responsibilities included overall operations and the strategic direction of WKU On Demand, instructional design, Career and Workforce Development and Lifelong Learning, and proctored testing. WKU’s Distance Learning Unit was recognized by UPCEA for strategic innovations focused on accessibility in 2016 and ranked as high as #2 in the nation on the 2014 U.S. News and World Report list of online bachelor degree programs. She played a key role in the state of Kentucky joining the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreement (SARA) as she was heavily involved in the lobbying effort on behalf of the public four-year institutions in Kentucky. Prior to joining WKU in 2013, Uranis held both teaching and administrative positions at Eastern Michigan University (EMU), joining that institution in 2003. A native Michigander, Uranis has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, a Master of Science in Technology Studies, and a Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership from EMU.
 
“We are so fortunate to have Julie join the leadership team at UPCEA as Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives,” said Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois-Springfield, and Director of the UPCEA Center for Online Leadership. “Julie brings a track record of national leadership in developing and enhancing online programs, and I look forward to working closely with her as we expand and advance the Center for Online Leadership. With Julie on board, our members can expect to see many new and exciting initiatives in online learning.”
 
Chief Operating Officer Lori Derkay Departing to Pursue Next Association Challenge
Hired as Chief Operating Officer in 2011, Derkay joined UPCEA to help modernize the association’s infrastructure and boost efficiency of overall operations. Prior to UPCEA, Lori was the Senior Vice President at the Greater Washington Society of Association Executives and then Senior Vice President at ASAE & The Center for Association Leadership, overseeing the Greater Washington Network.
 
Derkay, a career association executive, is departing UPCEA to pursue her next challenge in the association space. In her place, UPCEA plans to hire a director of finance with an accounting focus, allowing the association to bring in-house numerous accounting functions.
 
“Lori will be deeply missed,” said UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen. “Together, we rebuilt the entire infrastructure of the association. We simply could not have done it without Lori’s vast experience and dedication.”   
 
Amy Heitzman Elevated to Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Continuing as Chief Learning Officer
In her new role as Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Heitzman supports the CEO in managing the association, overseeing the day-to-day operations of staff and supporting the delivery of organizational and departmental strategic planning. Heitzman oversees the planning, budget, content development, and volunteer leader engagement for most of the association’s events and, in her ongoing work as Chief Learning Officer, is responsible for leading the association’s overall strategy for professional development. She also leads the association’s two major volunteer leadership structures, Regions and Networks, as well as a number of Board-designated committees. In her new role, Heitzman will also take lead responsibility for the development and implementation for professional development opportunities and initiatives related to the forthcoming UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Professional and Continuing Education.
 
Heitzman holds an M.A. from the University of Chicago, an M.Ed. from Southern Methodist University, and an undergraduate degree in Art History with a minor in English from the University of Michigan. Her doctorate was earned in Higher Education Administration from The University of Texas at Austin, and her dissertation research focused on the experiences of female student veterans.
 
“Amy’s leadership as Chief Learning Officer has been peerless,” said Hansen. “This new role both recognizes and leverages her great strengths in the development and delivery of the association’s strategic priorities.”
 
 
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UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA now serves most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between adult learners and public policy issues. Learn more at upcea.edu.
 
CONTACT: 
Molly Nelson, UPCEA Director of Marketing and Communications, 202.659.3130, mnelson@upcea.edu