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.
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.
Leave it to a bunch of scientists and engineers to stick to a schedule and actually start the march early! That’s what happened on a rainy Saturday, April 22, when my family and friends traveled to Washington, DC, to participate in the March for Science on the National Mall.
We have all likely encountered Transportation Security Administration (TSA) professionals and it’s clear that they have an extremely difficult job protecting our nation’s transportation infrastructure and each one of us when we travel. Earlier this week, we proudly announced a significant expansion of our existing TSA partnership. American Public University (APU) was selected by the TSA’s Institute of Higher Education as one of just two partners in education from a total field of 19 institutions nationwide to serve up to 20,000 TSA employees at 147 airports across 14 states and five U.S. territories.
The enthusiastic response from APUS faculty to the end-of-year “Service Challenge,” offered insight into the solid culture of service within our ranks. As part of the APUS Wellness Program, the Challenge grew out of a trend within workplace wellness circles that point to the ability for one to connect with his or her purpose as a key ingredient of well-being. Add that to a growing body of research showing the positive impact of selfless service and volunteer work on personal health and well-being, and a challenge was born. While faculty typically account for, at most, 25% of participation levels in our programs, they comprised nearly 50% of Challenge participants during the last quarter of 2016. Among the 30 who participated, three shared their experiences for this article.
We all know what makes us comfortable and many of us stray into the ‘unknown’ to push ourselves beyond our limits. The challenge for most of us is that we don’t have someone there to coach and help us be courageous. The faculty and staff at American Public University System (APUS) provided just the support I needed to step into my “courage zone” and be successful.