This week, following the recent arrival of Dr. Vernon Smith as new APUS provost, Mr. Robert Gay (Bob) joined the university as chief operations officer (COO). Bob’s primary role is to lead our focus on strategic enrollment growth, consistent with our established mission to provide an affordable, accessible and relevant education. The COO oversees the strategy of the university and leads and/or interfaces with teams focused on admissions, financial aid, marketing, military, corporate and community college outreach, transfer credit, and alumni relations. To achieve strategic enrollment growth in an ever-changing higher education and learning environment, he will focus on simplifying the prospect and student experience so that it is seamless and free of unnecessary administrative roadblocks.
A university provost leads the academic community of faculty, directors and deans, is responsible for the library and its staff, for academic and instructional design and quality and, ultimately, for ensuring the strategic priorities and goals of academic excellence are achieved with a special focus on learning outcomes assessment. To achieve academic excellence in an ever-changing higher education and learning environment, the provost also leads innovation advancement initiatives for faculty and curriculum.
First Women: The Grace and Power of America’s Modern First Ladies, published earlier this year by Kate Andersen Brower, was given to me as a gift upon my appointment as APUS president. It tells the story of ten of our country’s first ladies, including Barbara Bush, Laura Bush, Rosalynn Carter, Hillary Clinton, Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, Jackie Kennedy, Pat Nixon, Michelle Obama and Nancy Reagan. At the time, I thought, well, this is interesting, and why this book? I was quickly captivated by the fascinating stories of their unique and similar challenges living in the White House and being in the public eye as first lady.
In keeping with my leadership theme this week, I wanted to share some noteworthy takeaways from this week’s Online Learning Consortium (OLC) annual meeting. In an invitation-only session on Wednesday, I joined several other senior online leaders in exploring common issues and topics we face on our campuses, in our institutions and in our nation.
Strategic focus and savvy time management are key leadership success criteria. Over the next several months, through the first quarter of 2017, we will be focused on several critical supporting priorities for APUS, including the topic of today’s post, leadership onboarding and development, along with leadership “Listen and Learn” and strategic planning. Other key institutional priorities such as curriculum quality, teaching excellence and strategic enrollment and relationship management will be addressed in future posts.
On July 1, 2016, I became just the third, and first woman, president of American Public University System. This week, APUS celebrates my inauguration, commonly understood as “the beginning or introduction of a system, policy, or period,” "the formal admission of someone to office,” and ”a ceremony to mark the beginning of something.”