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Beyond Degrees

What is Beyond Degrees?

Beyond Degrees is designed for adult learners who seek additional skills, knowledge or resources for personal or professional growth. Each webinar focuses on a narrowly defined topic adapted to the practical world of work and real-life experiences.

Beyond Degrees courses are skills-based and stress the value of a public affairs orientation to help businesses and other enterprises to anticipate and manage risk in an increasingly demanding and complex regulatory environment. Instructors are experts with extensive background and experience in business, education, non-profit organizations or public policy involvement who apply their expertise to helping other professionals sharpen their own competencies. Beyond Degrees courses are not applicable to degree-granting programs. However, some courses may be eligible for continuing education credit. Most courses range from three to twelve hours in length, and each includes an emphasis on ethical personal and business practices.

Our Vision

To enable participants and life-long learners of all ages to prepare for professional success through practicable coursework delivered through a framework of effective communication, professional expertise, ethical conduct and enduring support

Our Mission

To partner with preeminent academics, business and civic leaders, creatives and professional organizations to develop and administer timely and relevant professional educational programs with requisite insights into governmental processes and the rights and obligations of national citizenship and global participation.

Our Values

Commitment to participant success is in the application of learning and should transcend course instruction.
Education should be positively life-changing for students and transformative for our country.
Civility and mutual edification should be foundational for all education programs.
Tenets of faith, hope and charity are immutable constants.
Well-informed people can be trusted with their own government.
Wisdom and honor are life-long pursuits.

Available Courses and Registration

Contract Management Fundamentals

Eight hours - $799 – Live Webinar (Date TBD)
This course introduces contract management and the contract life cycle, exploring all phases of managing a contract successfully from formation through completion of performance, including change management, communications, contract types, terms and conditions, risks, defaults, terminations, claims and dispute resolution.

Crisis Management

Eight hours - $799 – Live Webinar (Date TBD)
Business problems aren’t what they used to be. Catastrophes can materialize from anywhere with little or no warning, evolve impossibly fast, and affect businesses in untold ways. Crisis Management seeks to predict, prioritize and preempt disasters from befalling a business, and mitigate effects of unfortunate events when they happen. This discipline leverages strategic management fundamentals, process management principles, and effective communication techniques to address political, socioeconomic, technological, ecological and legal factors that might adversely impact an organization’s competitive advantage, efficiency and reputation.

Public Affairs as a Discipline

Eight hours - $799 – Live Webinar (Date TBD)
The course provides an overview of the critical knowledge and essential skills required of public affairs professionals in a dynamic, changing communications and business environment. Participants will gain an understanding of entry-level qualifications, core competencies essential for success and advancement, basic responsibilities and tasks performed by public affairs and resources for additional learning. The course is designed to introduce the profession of public affairs to 1) individuals with a desire to consider a career in this work; 2) new practitioners seeking to enhance their skills and knowledge; and 3) corporate executives and others seeking to understand the critical value public affairs in both public and private organizations and institutions.

Risk Management Fundamentals

Eight hours - $799 – Live Webinar (Date TBD)
Private and public organizations face a complex myriad of laws and regulations. Processes designed to detect and prevent regulatory compliance failures are vital; however, such effective processes cannot succeed without development and maintenance of a strong ethics, compliance and risk management culture. Course topics may include, but are not limited to, how government agencies legislate; understanding and participating in the regulatory process; exploring how disputes between agencies and the regulated public are adjudicated; due diligence and more. Learn how the development of a firm's internal policies, procedures and controls can minimize or eliminate undesirable areas of risk. Learn ways to enhance existing compliance programs. Gain a solid understanding of the main legal issues as well as risk management industry best practices.

The Law and Public Affairs

Eight hours - $799 – Live Webinar (Date TBD)
Public Affairs professionals must be aware of laws and ordinances regulating gifts to elected officials, campaign contributions at all levels of government, and rules and regulations impacting their industry, business or association. Because laws and regulations are subject to change, it is imperative that practitioners understand not only extant laws and regulations but are adept at keeping up to date with changes as they occur. Violations of such rules may result in fines or other penalties and present serious risks to an organization’s reputation and credibility but may also affect the public affairs professional’s reputation and credibility as well.

Terms and Conditions


Concordia University Irvine and its Center for Civics Education (“University”) provides the information on its website as a courtesy. It is designed for informational purposes only, and not as legal or other professional advice. The University has done its best to ensure the accuracy and currency of the materials contained on its website but disclaims any warranty, express or implied, as to quality, accuracy, timeliness, completeness or fitness of website content for a particular purpose.

Enrollment in Beyond Degrees does not award any academic credit or continuing education credit. It is a participant’s responsibility to contact a relevant professional association to obtain continuing education credit if desired. See the Beyond Degrees website and course syllabus for more information.

Copyright Information

Copyright [] 2023 Concordia University Irvine. All rights reserved.

To request permission to use material from the Concordia University Irvine website, or if you believe material is in violation of a copyright, please contact the email address prescribed for that site.


Online registration is available at least two weeks prior to the start of your course, unless otherwise specified. Changes to courses as well as to other related programs or special events may have an earlier registration deadline and will include such notice on the event postings on our website. If you register for a course and receive an error message or are unsure if something is wrong, send an email to [email protected] as soon as possible.

Unless otherwise specified, we accept payment for online registration only via credit card (Visa, MasterCard, Discover and American Express). Registration must be paid in full at the time of registration.

The University, at its discretion, may permit registration fees to be paid by check and will not accordingly on such courses. In these cases, checks must be received before the start of the course.

The University reserves the right to cancel, reschedule, or combine courses; to alter or discontinue curricula; and to change instructors.

Enrolled participants will be notified prior to the start date of a course in the event a course is canceled or postponed. A participant’s email address should be kept up to date to ensure delivery of course information.

Enrollment Deadlines

Participants should enroll in a course by the enrollment deadline. Courses may be closed to registration after the enrollment deadline.

Wait List

Wait lists are created as courses fill. The University may extend enrollment availability to participants in the order they appear on the wait list.

Refund Policy

To be eligible for a refund, a written email request for a refund must be received on or before the refund deadline for the course. Please refer to your enrollment confirmation for the course specific refund deadline. Not receiving your enrollment confirmation before the course begins is not justification for seeking a refund. After the refund deadline, paid participants may be eligible to receive credit for future coursework.

In the event a course is cancelled or rescheduled, a full refund of the course fee will be processed. Please allow a minimum of three weeks for processing.

Schedule Changes

Since Beyond Degrees is self-supporting, classes with fewer than the minimum number of enrollees may be discontinued at or before the first scheduled meeting. If your class is discontinued, you may request a transfer to another class or a refund of your enrollment fee. The University reserves the right to reschedule or combine courses and to change instructors.

Online/Zoom Live Class Session Information

Live Class Meetings are conducted using Zoom online meeting software or other analogous interactive livestreaming platform. A computer (Mac or PC) or portable device with an internet connection and computer speakers or a headset, or a telephone, are required.

A wired connection is recommended for optimal meeting performance.

Quick Start Steps:

  • Log in to your online course page to access instructions for joining your Zoom meeting and accessing the recording. On the date and time of the Live Meeting you wish to attend, lock the meeting link or visit the Beyond Degrees website and click the “Join” button, then enter the Meeting ID number and password.
  • Enter your name and email address, then click the “Join Meeting” button.
  • The media client will automatically download to your computer, and you will be placed into the meeting.
  • A pop-up window will prompt you to choose how you want to set up your audio. Audio options include using your computer headset if you already have a headset or speakers connected to your computer (click “Join with Computer Audio”). To use your phone, select “Phone Call,” then dial the toll- or toll-free number (enter Meeting ID and Participant ID when prompted), or select “Call Me” and enter your phone number to receive a call.
  • You can send your questions via the Chat window. To do this, type your question in the text box and click “Send” or press “Enter.”
  • If you are a first-time interactive streaming media platform user, please join the session 15 minutes prior to start time to allow adequate time to set up your user interface. For technical issues, please refer to media platform support resources.

    You can access the recording link 48 hours after the session has ended. If your meeting is offered for continuing education or other credit, credit can only be provided to those who attend the live session and not to those who only access the recorded link.

    Note: All participants should be aware that any class, and discussions held therein, may be subject to recording. Such recordings may be reused by Concordia University Irvine and others to support the educational experience of other enrolled participants. Participant access to and use of a recording of an online course session is limited to personal use for educational purposes only.


Federal and State laws and regulations covering confidentiality of student records may be accessed on Concordia's FERPA page.

Participant Conduct

Beyond Degrees participants are required to conduct themselves in accordance with Concordia’s Student Conduct Policy. The site also includes Concordia’s Sexual Harassment Policy and Non-Discrimination Statements. View Concordia's Privacy Policy here.


Concordia’s Accessibility policy and services may be found here.

Workshop Instructors

Jo Ellen Chatham, Ph.D.

Jo Ellen is the Director of the Center for Civics Education at Concordia University Irvine, dedicated to promoting civil dialogue, providing educational and inspiring programs devoted to our nation’s history and foundational principles, and encouraging informed citizen engagement. Prior to her current position, she served for twenty years as Director of Public Affairs for Southern California Edison, managing a team which served more than fifty cities in Orange and Los Angeles counties and supporting strategic planning for public affairs services. Jo Ellen is the former Chair of the Board of Trustees of PBS So Cal, the second most viewed of more than 340 PBS stations in the United States, and member of the Board of Directors of the Public Media Group of Southern California. She has served in various capacities on the boards of numerous community organizations and for nearly fifteen years taught political science at West Los Angeles College and served for six years on the Board of Governors of the California State Bar Association. Jo Ellen has extensive experience on radio and television, including participating as a regular panelist on NBC’s Emmy Award winning weekly public policy program “Free 4 All.”

Jo Ellen Chatham, Ph.D

Virginia A. Suveiu, Esq.

A practicing attorney, Virginia counsels on risk management, regulatory compliance and commercial law matters, including the entire contract life cycle. She has held various corporate and legal positions, including Director of Risk Management, Chief Safeguard Officer and Of Counsel. She recently completed editing Routledge Handbook of Risk Management and the Law. Virginia is also a mediator and arbitrator, including for the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), and served on the editorial board of National Contract Management Association’s Contract Management Magazine. She is affiliated with, advised, and has been invited to speak to professional associations on business law-related matters and is an active member of the State Bar of California and was admitted to the U.S. District Court, Central District of California. Virginia has held numerous positions in academia, including founding dean, adjunct professor at Concordia University Irvine, instructor and content developer for UC Irvine, from where she was given the Distinguished Instructor Award.

Virginia A. Suveiu, Esq.

Alain Mazer, MBA

Alain is vice-president of operations at a streaming content company. He also serves as an adjunct professor in the School of Business at Concordia University Irvine. Focusing on change management and communications, he has held roles at various companies in financial services, public relations, publishing and trade shows, software, apparel, retail, eyewear, video games and computer hardware.

Alain Mazer, MBA
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