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.
As I frequently note, APUS is proud of our focus on student success, which means that students have a quality and relevant higher education learning experience appropriate to the discipline in which they are engaged, or the credential they are pursuing. This focus in enrollment management means reaching out, inviting, and then welcoming students to our university with the same intentions by setting them up for success through each onboarding process and interaction. Bob will also drive our marketing and outreach strategies, collaborating with those departments executing these strategies so that we can achieve our goals of attracting and retaining quality students interested in pursuing, and completing, their academic or career goals with us. As such, he will be a key leader and university leadership partner in helping achieve these critical goals.
Fulfilling our mission of affordability and accessibility means paying attention to the pricing of our programs. While we have slightly raised undergraduate tuition only once in the past 14 years and actually provided a grant to our military students (approximately 60% of our total) for this modest increase and have twice increased graduate tuition, we remain focused on affordability and cost-effective achievement of educational goals for our students. Bob’s work will enable us to understand our options and strategically embrace and fulfill this mission for the future.
To that end, Bob will report to me in this new role and serve on my leadership team. He brings a wealth of experience in enrollment management, including his prior work as senior vice president with Maguire Associates . During his five-year tenure, his noteworthy accomplishments included end-to-end management of the Connecticut State Colleges and Universities (ConnSCU) contract, in addition to initiating and guiding the firm’s relationship with Blackboard, among others. He also worked at the New School, a private university in New York City, as executive vice president of operations and enrollment management at Cardean Learning Group, and as first vice president of enrollment management at the University of Maryland University College.
Based on the few days that Bob has been on board and including prior visits and interactions here on campus this fall, I am excited about the questions he is raising, the information he is acquiring, and the future recommendations and actions he will spearhead in helping us achieve our goals, vision and mission. Like Vernon Smith, Bob also is a quick study, a fast learner, and embraces collaboration and leadership. His deep knowledge about enrollment management and marketing strategy and outreach is a capability we welcome as we work together to lead APUS into the future. It is a pleasure to have him on our team.