PACE director receives UPCEA leadership award

Rachel Yim, Staff Reporter

Lori Crose, director of Professional and Continuing Education (PACE) at Oakland University, recently received the Outstanding Leadership Award at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) conference.

Established in 1975, UPCEA is an American nonprofit association for professional, continuing and online education, according to its official website. It consists of more than 400 member institutions, and it hosts conferences, seminars and research.

“It was just like my tenacity paid off,” Crose said. “And, I realize seeing those opportunities to take a leadership role and having the guts to actually make a move is one of the most important keys to personal growth.”

Crose was recognized for her contribution in workforce development for local businesses by creating education programs to reduce an educational gap. According to her, tenacity and the efforts she has put in have helped her receive this honor.

Prior to 2000, when Crose joined the faculty at OU, she was involved in pharmaceutical research working on genetic studies and laboratories in Kalamazoo, Michigan. Though she received numerous awards for her contribution to antibiotic production process improvements, working conditions — radioactivity and dealing with different types of drugs, etc. — prompted her to switch her career.

“I worked with radioactivity and steroids, and you don’t know what those things are going to do to your own genetics,” she said. “Many people in the area that I worked in died of many different diseases such as a rare kidney cancer.”

After 12 years of her healthcare industry career, she went back to OU and receive her master’s degree in public administration. She said one of the factors that led to such a transition was because she loves being around people.

Crose has served as president of the UPCEA’s central region among the four regions in Michigan and created professional and continuing education programs, targeting its community needs.

“We do educational programs for a lot of local companies such as Chrysler,” she said. “For example, I love training engineers on moving forward into a green space to help Chrysler get their workforce up to speed.”

On the other hand, as director of PACE at OU, Crose’s role is to educate people on what the area does and work with the community, letting people know they can take a further step on their educational journey toward their degrees and beyond.

“Not everybody is fortunate to fully receive their education,” she said. “So, they, oftentimes, have to take a slower path, and we help them come back and get the confidence to continue to grow.”

Besides her tasks for PACE and the UPCEA, she also recently served as a member of the Oakland County’s Workforce Development Business Roundtable, and as a representative on the Oakland County Emerging Sectors Educational Consortium.

“I mean, it [what we do] is really exciting,” Crose said. “There’s never a dull moment because we are constantly doing new things that are really gonna change the world.”

With the award being one of the most influential motivations for Crose in her current job, she hopes to achieve various goals throughout her career. 

Taking this honor as a stepping stone, she said she will continue to face as many opportunities to assist in workforce development with various educational programs. She also plans on promoting the community and continuing to provide educational access to everyone in need.