Understanding Higher Education

Understanding Higher Education

This course is free of charge to CUPA-HR members ($295 for nonmembers). Course access requires a one-time registration. After registering, use the “Access Course” button to log in. Closed captioning is available.



What Is Understanding Higher Education?

Based on CUPA-HR’s widely popular live workshop, Understanding Higher Education is a self-paced e-learning course that offers the basic background, information and tools needed to be successful in the unique environment of higher ed.

Who Should Take Understanding Higher Education?

It’s ideal for anyone new to higher ed – young and early-career professionals, HR staff new to higher ed and others.

"I felt that this course was a great overview of higher education and provided the basic insight that an HR professional needs to move to forward within the higher ed environment."
— Understanding Higher Education User


What Will I Learn?

As a course participant, you’ll increase your knowledge of how institutions function and how higher ed differs from the corporate world. After taking the course, you’ll feel more confident and knowledgeable about the idiosyncrasies of the higher ed community and how you can work successfully within that environment.

When you take the course, you’ll:

  • Learn how institutions operate with contingent faculty or adjunct professors, online courses, flipped classrooms, MOOCs and more.
  • Understand how to effectively work within a shared governance environment and across employee groups such as faculty and staff.
  • Find out about common terms and conditions of employment in institutions and how they apply to faculty, staff, union employees and others.
  • Learn about employment laws that are implemented in higher ed institutions.
  • Nurture professional skills that are most transferable from a corporate setting to higher ed.

Watch this video to take a closer look at the course. Understanding Higher Education was developed in conjunction with the association’s learning framework, which guides all CUPA-HR education and programming.

Understanding Higher Education Content

View a full list of modules and topics. With the course, you’ll also have access to an online glossary of higher ed terms and participant guide to walk you through each module.

The three sections of Understanding Higher Education should be completed sequentially and contain both informal and formal assessments to ensure you’ve achieved a basic understanding of the content. Those who complete the course will receive a certificate of completion.


Building Capabilities

4.5 General Credit Hours

4.5 General Credit Hours

HR Certification Institute's® (www.HRCI.org,) official seal confirms that CUPA-HR meets the criteria for pre-approved recertification credit(s) for any of HRCI’s eight credentials, including SPHR® and PHR®.


CUPA-HR is recognized by SHRM to offer Professional Development Credits (PDCs) for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. This program is valid for PDCs for the SHRM-CP® or SHRM-SCP®. For more information about certification or recertification, please visit www.shrmcertification.org.