Aligning Continuing Education Units and Universities: Survival Strategies for the New Millennium

  • Nancy Petersen Simon Fraser University


The goal of the study presented in this paper was to understand and to start to document the contributions that a continuing education unit (CEU) makes to the university. Although continuing education contributes in both financial and non-financial ways, the financial benefits are often the only recognized contribution. The non-monetary contributions are significant, however, and may be the most critical.A national survey of Canadian continuing education deans, conducted by the author, is discussed in this paper. Deans were asked to respond to a list of contributions that were identified by focus groups of continuing education programmers. Deans were also asked to rank each indicator as to its level of importance in gaining support for a CEU within the university. Outcomes were categorized on the basis of their financial contributions and on contributions to the teaching mission, the research mission, and the strategic directions and initiatives of the university. The findings provide evidence of significant contributions in all four categories, although the research contributions are ranked the lowest. CEUs may find the list of institutional outcomes identified in this paper useful in assessing their own contributions and in building support for their units.