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Northeastern launches Professional Advancement Network to help professionals thrive in a dynamic workforce

Scenes from faculty senate on Wednesday, where the university's new Professional Advancement Network was introduced. Photo by Adam Glanzman/Northeastern University

On Wednesday, Northeastern unveiled the Professional Advancement Network, a platform across all colleges offering advanced degree programs, certificates, bootcamps, and experiential opportunities tailored to the needs of adult and continuing learners, and to the demands of employers.

The Professional Advancement Network marshals the university’s College of Professional Studies, the Global Network, and the range of adult professional degrees embedded in all colleges, to present and create a cohesive lattice of services tailored to suit lifelong learners who want to advance their skills and competencies.

“The purpose of the Professional Advancement Network is to be both an amplifier and accelerator for the learner,”­ said Philomena Mantella, senior vice president and CEO of the Professional Advancement Network and the Global Campuses. “We are Northeastern—deeply experiential, broad in our range of offerings, available across our global campuses in key cities. We have an approach that can accelerate your career and amplify your networks.”

You have a membership that extends into your professional life. You’re not just an alum with us, you’re lifelong learners.
—Philomena Mantella, senior vice president and CEO of the Professional Advancement Network

The announcement follows the recent unveiling of Northeastern 2025, which aims to empower humans to be agile learners, thinkers, and creators, and to succeed in an era of unprecedented technological, social, and economic change. Mantella and Provost James Bean announced the new program at a meeting of the Faculty Senate on Wednesday.

As the demand for a skilled workforce increases—and the need for the existing workforce to skill up and stay competitive becomes even more urgent—the Professional Advancement Network will improve the visibility and accessibility of the university’s many assets and resources, including 3,300 co-op employers worldwide; 235,000 alumni in 186 countries; and a network of the regional campuses in Charlotte, North Carolina, Seattle, Silicon Valley, and Toronto.

The Professional Advancement Network leverages professional and post-graduate programs  across all colleges to offer a robust menu of more than 200 online and hybrid degrees and certificates—in addition to just-in-time bootcamps and a spectrum of flexible experiential opportunities. While professionals may initially enroll in shorter offerings—a single course or bootcamp, for instance—the framework exists for them to stack and build on that initial experience in the pursuit of a degree.

The Professional Advancement Network also serves as a touchstone for people as they move through their life. Speaking about current undergraduate students on the precipice of entering the workforce, Mantella said, “Post-graduation—given the speed of change and the technology evolution—they will need continuous learning, learning that advances them, learning in an industrial context, and this will be there for them.”

“You have a membership that extends into your professional life,” she said. “You’re not just an alum, you’re a lifelong learner.”

Bean said, “I think this is a real move forward in how we’re thinking about [professional education].”

In other Faculty Senate business, senate members unanimously approved a Master of Arts degree program in strategic intelligence and analysis in the College of Professional Studies. Members also unanimously approved a report by the PhD Joint Task Force that outlined strategies for broadening the university’s doctoral degree programs by 2025.