Arizona Online Wins Prestigious Innovation Award

A male professor of geography teaches to multiple video cameras while gesturing to a large display screen behind him

The University of Arizona Online has been awarded the UPCEA Award for Strategic Innovation in Online Education.

Recognizing exceptional innovation and achievement in online education, the award "is the culmination of all the hard work we've put in these last four years to deliver high quality programs to hundreds of students," said Vincent Del Casino, Jr., interim senior vice provost and vice president of academic initiatives and student success.

Launched in the fall of 2015, the goal of Arizona Online was to create a financially sustainable model, built and managed 100% in-house, that serves ambitious learners such as first-generation college students, military and veteran service members, and students coming back to school.

Watch the making of Arizona Online:


Four key hurdles had to be overcome. First, a student success model had to be built. Second, a faculty development program needed to be created that had buy-in from professors. Next, a business model needed to be implemented that made sense for the institution. Finally, the academic calendar for the entire University needed changes to align with the seven week classes offered online.

An in-house office of digital learning was constructed to use the most sophisticated instructional design and technology, creating an experiential learning environment for online students. Arizona Online merged the best online practices with world-class academics to ensure the same prestigious degree students earned on-campus was delivered online.

Today, the University of Arizona Online offers 32 undergraduate degree programs, serves 1,700 undergraduate students, and 2,300 graduate students.

The University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. Founded in 1915, UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues. This is achieved through innovative conferences and seminars, research and benchmarking information, timely publications, and professional networking opportunities.