Policy Title

Continuing Education


According to the Winthrop University mission statement: “The university provides personalized and challenging undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education programs of national caliber within a context dedicated to public service to the nation and to the State of South Carolina." (see SACS 3.4.2). The University’s continuing education offerings include continuing, professional, specialized and personal-enrichment learning opportunities. 


This policy applies to students, faculty and staff.

Policy Number:2.1.08
Effective Date:03/01/2017
Date Reviewed: 03/01/2017
Last Review Date: Mar 1 2010 12:00AM; 04/15/2021
Responsible Official: Graduate School
Responsible Office: Academic Affairs
Contact Information:

Academic Affairs

115 Tillman Hall

Rock Hill, SC 29733




1.0 Specific meanings of bold terms seen throughout this policy can be found within the University's policy definition glossary by following the link below.

1.1 http://www.winthrop.edu/policy-definitions-glossary

According to the Winthrop University mission statement: “The university provides personalized and challenging undergraduate, graduate, and continuing professional education programs of national caliber within a context dedicated to public service to the nation and to the State of South Carolina." (see SACS 3.4.2). The University’s continuing education offerings include continuing, professional, specialized and personal-enrichment learning opportunities. 

I.  Definitions


Continuing Education

Continuing Education (CE) courses and programs are designed to provide professional development and life-learning opportunities to community members, students, and alumni. The University’s continuing education offerings include: non-credit courses, non-credit certificate programs, Continuing Education Unit (CEU) offerings, and personal-enrichment courses.

Continuing Education Unit (CEU)

A CEU is defined as 10 contact hours of continuing education instruction under the supervision of a qualified professional (60 minutes of instruction per one credit hour; this does not normally include breaks, lunch or dinner hours, or recreational activities). The CEU is a standard measure for participation in a course, does not include degree credit, and may not be converted to graduate or undergraduate credit.

CE Credentials 

CE credentials from the University may be in the form of a pre-approved CEU, Certificate of Participation, and micro-credentials such as Digital Badges/Achievements, which provide educational institutions the ability to recognize learning and competencies on a smaller scale. 

II. Categories of CE Program Offerings

As a public higher education institution with a focus on service to the nation and to the State of South Carolina, Winthrop University will offer four categories of non-credit CE program offerings, described below, to support the professional, intellectual, and creative activities and pursuits of adult and lifelong learners. CE program offerings by the University may be offered via short courses, workshops, or seminars and delivered on-campus or in partnership with third party or professional organizations.

The four categories of CE program offerings by Winthrop University are:

1. Continuing Professional Development (CPD): CPD programs are designed to serve individuals in specific professions by providing career training and professional development opportunities. These include CEU-based and non-CEU programs. The key audiences for CPD programs include: healthcare professionals, finance-related specialists, public safety practitioners, teachers, managers, administrators, and engineers.

2. Human and Career Development (HCD): HCD programs provide professional development and specific technical training opportunities and are designed to serve a general audience. HCD offerings will not normally offer CEU credits. However, some HCD may offer CEU credits if all of the required criteria are fully met. The audiences for HCD programs include practitioners, career changers, and lifelong learners. 

3. Personal-Enrichment Programming (PEP): PEP programs are designed primarily for recreation, leisure, and personal enrichment. The delivery of these courses may include lectures, workshops, seminars, short-courses, and field activities. By definition, personal-enrichment programs are not CEU-eligible. PEP offerings include: Arts, conversational language, history, wellness, writing, ecology, and gardening and landscaping courses.

4. Non-Credit Certificate (NCC): NCC programs are designed to certify that a participant has completed a prescribed number of units or CEU’s which, taken as a whole and appropriately sequenced, provide a comprehensive overview or review of a particular subject or discipline. 

The table below provides examples for each category of CE offerings along with applicable contact hour ranges.

Table 1: CE Course Category and Applicable Contact Hours

Category: CPD

Examples of courses and program offerings: Project management, accounting, audit, IT security, criminology, healthcare, data analytics, data security, social media, program evaluation, real estate

Contact Hours range: 24-36

Category: HCD

Examples of courses and program offerings: Critical thinking, organization development, leadership courses, diversity, arts management, nutrition, entrepreneurship, real estate, basic technology and internet 

Contact Hours range: 12-18

Category: PEP

Examples of courses and program offerings: Conversational French, 18th-Century dance, financial literacy course, bird migration, the Battle of Brattonsville, health and fitness

Contact Hours range: 4-8

Category: NCC

Examples of courses and program offerings: Summer Business Institute, Non-profit Management, Social Media, Web Development, and Medical Assistant/Pre-Nurse Certificate 

Contact Hours range: 36+

Contact hours for CE offerings may be achieved face to face (F2F), online, or hybrid. In addition, F2F sessions may be organized in multiple ways to include: hour blocks, one to multiple half-days (each half-day equals 3 hours), one to multiple full days (each full day equals 6 hours) or combinations of hour blocks, half-days, and full days. For example, a CPD offering may require four (4) full-day sessions on Saturdays, eight (8) half-day sessions on Friday mornings, or six (6) 2-hour sessions on Tuesday mornings plus four (4) half-day sessions on Saturdays. The faculty member’s chair, dean, and the Director of Adult Programs (DAP) must approve the planned schedule for contact hours.

III. Administrative Responsibility and Oversight

Winthrop University, through the Office of the Provost and the Graduate School, assumes administrative responsibility for all CE courses and programs offered by its faculty, staff or third party partners. Implementation and oversight of all Winthrop CE courses and programs are delegated to The Graduate School. 

Quality Control of CE: The academic department of a CE offering (course or program) is responsible for ensuring its quality. The department is to ensure that the academic contents of the CE program are consistent with the mission and purpose of the University.

Institutional Approval for CE offering: The Graduate School, through the Director of Adult Programs, must approve all new CE courses and programs. Established and sustainable CE offerings may be approved ex post facto to allow program continuity and maintain consistency in the learning experience offered to the participants.

Issuance of Official CE Credentials: The Office of the Provost authorizes the Graduate School with the specific authority and exclusive right and responsibility on behalf of Winthrop University to approve the issuance of documents exhibiting the title “Continuing Education Unit” or “Non-credit Certificate” or exhibiting the appearance of an official credential related to any approved CE course or program.

Monitoring and Oversight of CE: The Graduate School will serve as the University-wide clearinghouse for all CE activities and will maintain documentation on curriculum, qualification of instructions, and program delivery. The Graduate School will also serve as the reporting entity at the University for CE offerings.

IV. New Program Development 

New CE programs may be initiated by faculty or staff of Winthrop University in consultation with DAP and the Graduate School. Following preliminary discussions with DAP, a formal application titled Continuing and Professional Education New Course Request must be completed by the initiator. DAP will review formal requests only after the approvals of the department chair and college dean have been secured. Further, junior tenure-track faculty are strongly encouraged to check with their department chairs prior to engaging in discussions about CE course development. 

The New Course Request form provides DAP with all the pertinent course details, including subject, course description, the rationale for the course creation, market sustainability, and a proposed fee schedule among other data. Inquiries about the form may be directed to the DAP.

Considerations for Program Qualifications

In addition to criteria described above, the program must meet SACSCOC 3.4.2 and “be consistent with the institution’s mission”; the program should expand the relationship of Winthrop University with both students and the surrounding community, while providing a valuable learning opportunity.

Procedures for CE Approval

1. A CE course or program initiator obtains from DAP and completes the course proposal form, Continuing and Professional Education New Course Request.

2. The course or program initiator submits the completed course proposal form to the appropriate department chair and college dean for review and approval.

3. CE courses or programs approved by college deans are forwarded to DAP for administrative review and approval. Depending upon the scope of the offering, DAP will work with the CE initiator and sponsoring department or college to develop a budget and marketing plan for the offering to affirm financial sustainability.

4. Courses and programs reviewed and recommended by DAP will be forwarded to the Office of the Provost for final approval. Non-recommended proposals will be returned to sponsoring academic departments for clarification, revision, or additional information.

5. If the request is approved by the Provost, the DAP will inform the course initiator. Denied proposal requests will be returned to the initiator and sponsoring department with comments explaining the denial as well as suggestions, if any, for proposal improvement.

CEU Standards

CEU courses will comply with the following standards:

1. CEU offerings should be tied to the mission of the university and the goals of the sponsoring department/unit. The sponsoring department/unit is responsible for ensuring that course content and educational experience are of quality and appropriate academic rigor.

2. In consultation with DAP, registration may be processed at a variety of locations, platforms, and or internet. 

3. Instructional personnel must be qualified by education and/or experience and such qualification must be documented prior to the delivery of the course.

4. All participants must have the opportunity to evaluate the course in a confidential setting.

5. An individual’s participation in the course and completion of course objectives must be appropriately documented and recorded.

6. The Office of Records and Registration will keep records of participation in CEU courses and the awarding of CEU credits.

Quality Assurance of CEU offerings and Non-credit Certificate programs

Continuing Education Units and Non-credit Certificates are awarded to participants of approved seminars, symposia, workshops, non-credit program offerings that are overseen and administered by the DAP. These programs shall be jointly reviewed every five (5) years by the DAP and the sponsoring academic department to ensure currency and relevancy to the goals and objectives of the University’s CE program. The financial viability of all CE courses and programs shall be reviewed annually by the DAP.

Delivery Options

CE courses may be delivered on-campus and via seminars, conferences, professional meetings, lecture series, distance learning, or at appropriate off-campus locations.

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