Dr. Karan Powell is president (retired) of American Public University System. Between 2002 and 2017, Dr. Powell led university initiatives to advance its strategic goals of academic excellence, managed growth and institutional effectiveness, with a core focus on expanding its reputation and recognition as a premier quality provider of and partner in student success.

Prior to becoming APUS president in July 2016, Dr. Powell served APUS as provost since 2011, leading university academics to ensure academic quality and online teaching effectiveness, student success, advocacy for the faculty, and the adoption and creation of innovative online instructional strategies and technology. She also served as interim chancellor in 2004, dean of the School of Business, Management and Graduate Studies in 2005, and academic dean from 2006 to 2011, advancing the academics department in areas of curriculum, programs, and faculty. Dr. Powell first joined the APUS Board of Trustees in 2002 while serving as chief learning officer for American Management Systems. Now, in retirement, she consults through her business, Powell & Associates, LLC, in areas of accreditation, digital learning leadership, executive and management development, and the transformation of higher education organizations and leaders.

Prior to joining APUS, Dr. Powell served as an executive faculty instructor at Georgetown University School of Business and also served as director of professional development programs in the Georgetown University School of Continuing Education, where she designed and taught leadership classes for the U.S. Senate and Verizon, among other organizations. She has been an adjunct faculty member at University of Phoenix Online, George Mason University, and University of Maryland University College.

Dr. Powell holds a doctorate in education from George Mason University, with a specialization in organization development and organizational learning. She also holds a bachelor of science in business education from Western Illinois University and a master of divinity from Loyola University (Chicago), in addition to a certificate in advanced organization design from the University of Southern California. Dr. Powell also completed the HERS Institute: Advancing Women in Higher Education Administration, the Harvard Institute for Educational Management, and the University of California Berkeley Executive Leadership Academy.

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