Statewide workshop on distance-education state authorization offered free

November 06, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s Outreach and Online Education Office of Compliance and Contracts will hold a free virtual workshop on Nov. 12 on state authorization, specifically addressing issues of interest for institutions who are members of the State Authorization Reciprocity Agreements (SARA).

It is the fifth year Penn State has hosted the annual PA Distance Education & SARA Workshop — and the first time it has been offered at no cost in a fully virtual format.

“Despite budget cuts and spending freezes that many Pennsylvania institutions are currently facing, we were able to create an event that will be free of charge to participants so that this important event can continue to be offered,” said Teri Spence, director of Penn State’s Outreach and Online Education Office of Compliance and Contracts.

Registration is still open for the workshop, which will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. on Nov. 12 on Zoom. More information is available at

The event brings together people from across Pennsylvania who work in the field of state authorization, compliance and reciprocity for distance education to hear news and updates from national and state leaders and to network and ask questions. 

This year’s speakers include Gina Wetten, higher education associate from the Pennsylvania Department of Education; Wanda Barker, director of education technology and multi-state cooperative programs for the Southern Regional Education Board; Jeannie Yockey-Fine, general counsel for the National Council for State Reciprocity Agreements and Cheryl Dowd, director of the State Authorization Network for the Western Cooperative for Educational Technologies.

Nearly 200 people have registered for the event, which was moved from a face-to-face event to a virtual event due to COVID-19 concerns, said Shawna M. Cassick, a compliance specialist in the Office of Compliance & Contracts.

SARA provides a voluntary, regional approach to state oversight of postsecondary distance education. States that join SARA agree to follow uniform processes for approving their eligible institutions' participation and for dealing with other states' institutions. More than 2,100 colleges and universities participate in SARA.


Last Updated November 30, 2020