The future was the focus at the recent UPCEA Summit. Kicking off the conference was the Leadership Roundtable where chief online learning officers gather for a half-day to reflect strategically on both the current and future state of online education. This year author Jeff Selingo, visiting scholar at Georgia Tech's Center for 21st Century Universities and special advisor to the Arizona State-Georgetown University Academy for Innovative Higher Education Leadership, and Bridget Burns, executive director, University Innovation Alliance, provided insights into the ways universities need to think about the future. Their guidance included, “starting with the future and what it will be” vs. simply asking, “what can we do?” According to the panelists, envisioning a future of who/what we want to be and what we want to achieve unlocks creativity and reduces the problem-solving that inevitably finds its way into future and strategic planning. This dynamic was demonstrated by means of a vendor-facilitated scenario planning exercise conducted during the session.
Author Archive | Dr. Karan Powell
At the recent Eduventures Summit in Boston, we were asked to reflect upon a question in preparation for the for-profit leadership panel but it was never addressed, even though it may well be among the most important: How are we preparing our students for the workplace?
Today’s employers are seeking skills and mindsets in new employees that few institutions seem able to provide their graduates. Is this gap widening? Narrowing? Why, or why not? How do we, as institutions of higher education, respond to this skills gap? Are degrees the only solution? Is there a shorter-term credential at perhaps a lower cost? And how do these choices impact the business model of higher education?
On June 8, I had the privilege of participating in a session on student success at the Eduventures Summit in Boston with for-profit co-panelists Alan Drimmer, CEO of Promoted Inc. and former provost for University of Phoenix, and Diane Longhurst Johnson, president of New Charter University. Topics focused on our student demographics, the relevance of tax status to how students learn, policies/ actions we hope to see from the new administration, the potentially changing competitive landscape and implications of the proposed Purdue-Kaplan acquisition, and such issues as gainful employment and default ratios. These were clearly some difficult questions for any such panelist, let alone a new president like myself, to address.
The APUS class of 2017 is a diverse group of nearly 11,000 men and women, with roughly 20% earning associates degrees, 50% bachelor’s degrees and 30% masters degrees. Of this total, approximately 80% are American Military University graduates and 20% American Public University graduates representing 24 countries worldwide. About one-third of our total graduates earn their degree with honors. Overall, they are amazing women and men dedicated to service, to advancing their lives and their careers, and to learning.
Commencement has always been the most memorable workday of the year for me throughout my academic career, and especially so during the past 14 years at APUS. It is this day, this moment when years of hard work and accomplishments are acknowledged and the pride of this recognition, of being able to walk across the stage in a proclamation of personal and professional success, is celebrated with pomp and circumstance, with great dignity and joy.
Editor’s Note: Whether considering an online or traditional school, accreditation is a critical consideration at both the institutional and program level. APUS President Dr. Karan Powell explains how it underscores a commitment to quality, career-relevance and positive learning outcomes.