retired president of APUS Karan Powell

Reflections on Transitioning to Retired President of APUS

On September 29, APEI CEO Dr. Wally Boston sent the following email to staff: 

After 15 years of distinguished service to APUS as a trustee, dean, provost, and president, Dr. Karan Powell informed the Board of Trustees and me that she is retiring from APUS effective October 15. While her term was scheduled to run through June 30, 2018, Karan and the Board considered the importance of launching a search as soon as possible given the reaccreditation visit with the HLC currently scheduled in August of 2018. During the remainder of her term through June 2018, Dr. Powell will work on transition activities including: providing consulting services, representing APUS in the higher education community as an ambassador of good will, and providing guidance on accreditation related matters as requested.

So today, October 16, 2017, is my first day as APUS “president (retired)”. While moving on from APUS is bittersweet, the decision of the board to search for a new president now rather than in June 2018, on the eve of our Higher Learning Commission accreditation site visit, is the right decision for APUS. As I have said to the leadership team and staff in the past two weeks, my aim was to build a strong university by helping build strong leaders. That legacy lives on in them and the opportunity they now have to lead and take the university to the next level, and I look forward to celebrating this legacy next spring with the larger APUS community.

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retired president of APUS Karan Powell

Women in Leadership: Thoughts from NUTN 35

Participating on a panel of women leaders at the NUTN conference on October 11 in San Antonio provided the opportunity for reflection on our journey as leaders. The panel was facilitated by Dr. Pam Quinn, provost of the LeCroy Center, Dallas County Community College District. My co-panelists included Dr. Diane Melby, president of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, and Dr. Adelina Silva, vice chancellor for student success, Alamo Community College District.

What an amazing group of women leaders! In addressing our personal pathways to leadership and the most important characteristics to achieve it, it was fascinating to hear the ways our stories intersected. Common themes included never setting out on a path for a particular position, i.e., who really grows up thinking “I will become a provost, president, or chancellor?” This is especially true for those of us who are first-generation college graduates.

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family preparedness natural disasters Reynolds

Family Preparedness for Natural Disasters

With only about three months remaining in 2017, this year has proven to be a costly one in terms of natural disasters. So far this year, a total of 85 federal disaster declarations have been issued, dealing with everything from winter storms and flooding to hurricanes and wildfires. The unprecedented scale of these disasters has impacted many in our university community. In a matter of just two weeks, the country was hit by two major hurricanes, resulting in the evacuation of six million people in Texas and another 5.6 million in Florida (where I reside in Tampa). Both Harvey and Irma made landfall as Category 4 storms. And in the west, there are no less than 120 wildfires that have destroyed countless acres of forest and thousands of homes.

In a perfect world, everyone would be prepared anytime disaster strikes, but the reality is few disasters allow time for people to gather even the most basic necessities, thus making early planning a necessity. Whether it is wildfires in the west, tornadoes and flooding in the Midwest or hurricanes in the south and east coast, we all face the ever-present threat of disaster. Preparedness begins at home with our families, assuring they have the necessities needed for survival during long-term emergencies. While preparing my own family and home for the arrival of Irma, I spent the day sending out a series of tweets to help other members of our university community prepare their own families for disaster.

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digital literacy Powell

Digital Information Literacy: Preparing Students, Graduates, and Alumni for the Workforce

APUS programs are designed so that students can demonstrate proficiency in several learning areas upon completing their academic course of study. These proficiencies include applied learning, intellectual skill, specialized knowledge, broad knowledge, civic learning, and digital information literacy. While a focus on each of the learning areas required of graduates at all degree levels is essential, this post is focused on digital literacy proficiency.

By focusing on digital literacy, APUS aims to set our students apart from other graduates seeking employment and/or career advancement by developing and enhancing our student’s ability to communicate precisely and creatively using tools to engage, interact, and create visually effective and professional artifacts. Creativity and competence in the selection and safe, ethical use of digital resources are essential skills in the workplace for all employees – now and for the future. In fact, digital skills are emerging as a key job skill for the future – a future that is already here.

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Ed Albin eclipse

Reflections on the Total Eclipse

For millions of Americans, Monday, August 21, 2017, presented a rare opportunity to see a spectacular total eclipse of the sun. The swath of totality made a diagonal path across the country, from Oregon to South Carolina. People within its bicoastal path saw one of nature’s most fascinating spectacles.

Many members of the APUS Space Studies department (faculty and students alike) traveled about the country to view and photograph the eclipse. I experienced 1:42 of totality in Helen, Georgia. It is hard to believe how much can happen in that short period of time.

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Emergency management Portfolium Challenge Junkens

How My AMU Experience Helped Set the Course for My Emergency Management Career

My educational experience at American Military University has had a profound impact on my career in emergency management. Within a year of starting my master’s degree in homeland security, I was asked to teach at another university where I instructed ROTC. This opportunity allowed me to highlight the knowledge I gained from AMU and helped me form valuable relationships with the head of the criminal justice department and the director of public safety that facilitated subsequent employment.

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