Continuing Education Unit (CEU) Policy

Original Policy Source APPM Section III Item 16
Policy Approval Authority University Council
Responsible Division Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development
Primary Audience Faculty
Status Active
Effective Adoption Date 11-04-1993
Last Review Date 01-22-2018
Policy Category/Categories Faculty & Academics


The Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development (OERD) at Northern Illinois University shall have the responsibility of awarding the continuing education unit (CEU) to adults who participate in NIU-related noncredit, continuing-education activities. Normally such activities are sponsored by 1) an NIU college, department or other unit; 2) a not-for-profit organization with an educational mission; 3) a for-profit group with an NIU co-sponsor. In no instance shall the award of CEU be equated with college credits applicable toward a degree.


  1. One continuing education unit (CEU) is equal to ten (10) contact hours of participation in an organized continuing-education experience under responsible sponsorship, capable directions, and qualified instruction.
  2. "Participation in" is defined as attendance at, and active involvement in, a continuing-education learning activity.
  3. "Organized continuing-education experience" means a learning activity wherein participant needs have been determined, goals and objectives are clearly specified, appropriate instruction is offered, and pertinent evaluation is conducted.
  4. "Responsible sponsorship" refers to learning activities that are administered, controlled, supervised or endorsed by Northern Illinois University.
  5. "Capable direction" is defined to mean active direction or monitoring by an experienced and professional staff member in the employ or collaborating with the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development at Northern Illinois University.
  6. "Qualified instruction" means that the activity is taught, supervised or reviewed by NIU personnel whose professional experience and/or instructional ability qualifies them as experts on the particular subject.

Activity Criteria

  1. The activity must be planned in response to clearly identified continuing-education needs of a clientele group or target population.
  2. Learning objectives must be specified for each activity prior to its initiation.
  3. Qualified instructional personnel must be directly involved in conducting the activity.
  4. Specific performance requirements for the award of CEU must be established prior to offering the activity.
  5. Student registration procedures must provide sufficient detail to provide necessary information for a permanent record of individual participation.
  6. Evaluation procedures identified during the planning process are to be used to determine the effectiveness of the program.
  7. A permanent CEU record and retrieval system will be maintained by the Division of Outreach, Engagement and Regional Development; supporting documentation may be maintained by OERD or by collaborating departmental or college office.

Suggested CEU Applications

The following suggestions for the possible applications of the CEU are offered as illustrations of the kinds of continuing learning experiences for which CEUs would be offered.

  1. Activities to be used in fulfillment, or partial fulfillment, of certificate or licensing requirements.
  2. Intensive training and education in technical and professional areas (e.g., for engineers, lawyers, doctors, teachers, managers, etc.)
  3. Inservice training programs relative to new techniques, concepts, or developments.
  4. Activities sponsored by technical, professional or special-interest groups, designed to upgrade the performance of members in specified areas.


The following types of learning activities ordinarily will not be awarded the continuing education unit:

  1. Activities that would result in less than 0.5 CEU.
  2. Activities leading to high-school equivalency certificates or diplomas.
  3. Organizational orientation training programs.
  4. Short-duration programs only casually related to any specific upgrading purpose or goal.

Students may not earn both academic credit and CEUs for the same activity.


  1. Recommendations for the award of CEU for activities sponsored by the instructional colleges will be made by the Office of the Dean.
  2. OERD will forward CEU requests from external groups without an NIU co-sponsor to appropriate NIU personnel for review and comment.
  3. The director of Conference Services within OERD will make the final determination of the appropriateness of awarding NIU CEUs.
  4. Approval for the number of CEUs awarded will be based on International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET) guidelines and authorization of appropriate OERD personnel.
  5. The Outreach Advisory Committee shall periodically review CEU policies and procedures and CEUs awarded for programs sponsored by external groups.

Approved by the Continuing Education Advisory Council, November 4, 1993; 
Modified by the Outreach Advisory Committee, May 6, 1996, and January 22, 2018

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