Having just returned from a Disney cruise, I am intimately aware of Disney care and the experience of being “their guest,” as Lumière sings in a song from Beauty and the Beast. My recent Disney cruise is the experience I will focus on in this post and since this is not my first cruise with Disney, I am confident in these reflections as every cruise has provided the same quality experience. I am reflecting on this experience not so much to tell a Disney story, but rather in an effort to identify what contributes to this experience and discuss how/whether this experience can that be translated to higher education and our experience in serving students.
I am pleased to announce that the Council on Education in Public Health (CEPH) has accredited our Master of Public Health (MPH) program, making APUS the first fully-online institution to have its program so recognized.
Who is CEPH and what does this specialized accreditation mean to our public health program? CEPH is an independent agency recognized by the US Department of Education to accredit both schools of public health and programs offered by other academic institutions.
In June, I attended the annual WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) Summit in Salt Lake City. Thought leaders and luminaries in both higher education and technology gathered to share ideas and reflect upon the future, especially in regard to how to develop a content strategy to sustain innovation in teaching and learning while aligning human capital and technology. I participated in a related panel, Do you fail at scale or do you pilot to tell? with Stacey VanderHeiden Guney from Aims Community College, Kara Monroe from Ivy Tech Community College, and Paul Thayer from Colorado State University, which was facilitated by Luke Dowden from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.
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.
Teamwork, professional development, assessment. What links these concepts? The APUS assessment team recently attended the Association for the Assessment of Learning in Higher Education (AALHE) Annual Conference in Louisville, Kentucky. Participating in this event as a group allowed us to build and enhance team connections and share daily feedback on new ideas, alternate processes and innovative methods and how we might apply those learnings to our ongoing initiatives at APUS. With our assessment initiatives in mind (e.g., rubric integration into our classrooms using iRubric, rebuilding and reshaping the university assessment committee, continuous improvement through triennial program reviews, and several others) we went forth to attend the daily sessions.
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.