Saint Louis University, a Collegis Education Partner, Honored With 2023 UPCEA Outstanding Program Award

University’s School for Professional Studies recognized for excellence in achieving educational objectives

OAK BROOK, IL (March 27, 2023) — Saint Louis University’s (SLU) Cannabis Science and Operations Undergraduate Certificate program is the winner of the 2023 UPCEA Outstanding Program Award, recognizing credit professional, continuing and/or online education programs at UPCEA member institutions for excellence in achieving their educational objectives. The honor was announced last week at the 2023 UPCEA Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. SLU partnered with Collegis Education, a higher education, data-enabled managed services provider, on the development of this successful microcredential program.

“SLU is a stellar example of an institution leveraging the power of micro-credentials to meet and exceed its enrollment goals, respond to demands for a skilled workforce in an emerging industry and attract online adult learners, “ said Jamie Cowie, Chairman and CEO, Collegis Education. “We are honored to have collaborated with their School for Professional Studies as they navigated the creation of this new microcredential and congratulate them on this well-deserved national recognition.”

Saint Louis University — located in St. Louis, Missouri — is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic universities with an enrollment of approximately 13,500. The university’s School for Professional Studies developed the Cannabis Science and Operations (CSO) program in partnership with Missouri’s medicinal cannabis industry to help develop an educated workforce. The program addresses all aspects of the medical cannabis industry, including cultivation, manufacturing, dispensing, plant science, pharmacological properties of cannabis, compliance and operations. Graduates may pursue positions in sales and marketing, dispensary management, quality assurance and laboratory technology, among other areas.

Collegis collaborated with SLU leaders to help prepare for the program’s launch, identifying new channels for reaching potential students, and new tactics to drive qualified inquiries. The microcredential program quickly became the most successful program in the School of Professional Studies’ history, generating tens of thousands of inquiries and nearly 600 enrollments from 35 states and Puerto Rico in just its first year.

“As we were developing this microcredential program, we knew we were going to be in the right market at the right time. There was a lot of excitement at the University and in the business community. However, to fully realize the opportunity, we knew we needed the expertise and experience of Collegis,” said John Buerck, Ph.D., Interim Dean, School for Professional Studies at SLU. “It is an honor to have UPCEA recognize our program.”

Students who earned the SLU certificate viewed higher education in a new way. Nearly 100 percent reported they wanted to remain connected to the University and to continue to receive industry employment opportunity information. More than 90 percent indicated appreciation for the quality of instructor knowledge, high level of instructor engagement/availability/responsiveness.

A recent study by Collegis and UPCEA showed that employer demand for microcredentials, such as those provided by the SLU program, is on the rise. In the report, “The Effect of Employer Understanding and Engagement on Non-Degree Credentials,” 95 percent of those surveyed said they saw benefits from microcedentials, particularly because they show an employee’s willingness to develop their skills. Organizational leaders were particularly interested in stackable credentials leading to a degree with 80 percent saying that increased their appeal.

About Collegis Education

Collegis Education is higher ed’s innovation enabler, empowering schools with a better vision of how they fit into learners’ lives and what’s possible when they do. With more than 10 years’ experience as industry pioneers, we’ve proven how leveraging data, tech and talent can transform everything from student experiences to business processes. As higher ed evolves, you’ll need a thought partner and tactical pro, not a pre-packaged product or platform. Our strategic services allow institutions to leapfrog from wondering to doing, implement long-term growth plans and build in-house capabilities to thrive in a complex market. Learn more

About Saint Louis University

Founded in 1818, Saint Louis University is one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious Catholic institutions. Rooted in Jesuit values and its pioneering history as the first university west of the Mississippi River, SLU offers more than 13,500 students a rigorous, transformative education of the whole person. At the core of the University’s diverse community of scholars is SLU’s service-focused mission, which challenges and prepares students to make the world a better, more just place.


UPCEA is the online and professional education association. Our members continuously reinvent higher education, positively impacting millions of lives. We proudly lead and support them through cutting edge research, professional development, networking and mentorship, conferences and seminars, and stakeholder advocacy. Our collaborative, entrepreneurial community brings together decision makers and influencers in education, industry, research, and policy interested in improving educational access and outcomes. Learn more at