Select Page

Episode #198 | Universities in Flux to Capture and Keep Adult Learners, July 13, 2024, 11 am Eastern

Given student demographics and fast changing societal needs, it is extremely difficult today for higher education institutions to maintain enrollments and even harder to grow them. In Episode #198 we will discover some of the ways that the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) has successfully addressed, and at times, grown its adult learner population through technological interventions like blended and fully online forms of learning delivery as well as massive open online courses (MOOCs), innovative professional development programs, and, most recently, experimentations with Generative AI. One key discussion item during this session will be Web accessibility requirements and compliance measures for online and Web-enhanced classes as well as the opportunities to improve learning experiences for adult learners. We shall also discuss strategies and opportunities related to marketing and enrollment management in a crowded competitive market. More on our guests from UIS can be found below the video.




Vickie Cook, Ph.D. is the Vice Chancellor for Enrollment and Retention Management and a Research Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Springfield. She has provided consultation to over 50 institutions seeking to expand or evaluate their online learning programs and leadership. She has published multiple journal articles and book chapters in a variety of national educational publications, and serves as a peer reviewer for six of the top journals in the field of Online Learning. She is one of the co-authors of the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Online Leadership and a co-author for the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence in Alternative Credentials. She was named a 2017 University of Illinois President’s Executive Leadership Fellow; 2017 Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Fellow; and 2020 University Professional and Continuing Education Outstanding Leader.  She will receive the Mildred B. & Charles A. Wedemeyer Award recognizing her work in scholarship in the field of distance learning this summer. More on Vickie Cook can be found at:


Michele Gribbins, Ed.D., is the Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research, and Service at the University of Illinois Springfield. She is a Vice Chair for the Online Administration Network of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association and was the Treasurer of the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education for six years. She has been teaching online since 2005 for the Department of Management Information Systems and the School of Education at UIS. More on Michele can be found at:



A nationally respected and connected leader in higher education online learning, Ray Schroeder is Senior Fellow of UPCEA ( the Online and Professional Education Assocation, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Illinois Springfield (see After several years as an instructor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, he came to the university in Springfield 1977, beginning as assistant professor, then associate, then full professor, prior to becoming an emeritus professor.  During his tenure, he launched the online learning program at UIS in 1997.  He founded the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service and became Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning in 2013, a position held until 2021. To continue research, publication and presentations, Ray was appointed Senior Fellow for Online Learning in the Provost’s Office beginning in August, 2021, returning to Professor Emeritus in August, 2022.

Dr. Ray Schroeder is the recipient of numerous national awards and citations for individual excellence and leadership from many associations and entities including the Sloan Consortium (OLC), US Distance Learning Association, American Journal of Distance Education, Illinois Council for Continuing Higher Education, University of Wisconsin and University of Illinois, Ray received the honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2023 from UIS and the inaugural UPCEA Leadership Award for the Advancement of Digital Learning also in 2023. That award is now named the Ray Schroeder Leadership Award for the Advancement of Digital Learning. Ray is the author of book chapters, articles, widely read curated reading lists, blogs and social media feeds on news and research in online learning / educational technology. Ray is a noted speaker, consultant, researcher, and author on topics related to online learning, emerging educational technologies, and technology-enhanced learning. For more details on Ray Schroeder, see