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Presidents Forum 2017 innovation Powell

Reflections on Presidents’ Forum 2017, Part 2: Development of Leaders for Today and for the Future to Serve and Advance Our Environment

At the October Presidents’ Forum, Dr. Merodie Hancock, president of SUNY Empire State College, led a panel discussion on a topic about which I am passionate -- addressing the need for development of leaders for today and the future to advance the digital and alternative learning environment. Questions addressed by the panel and participants included: How do we prepare leaders for the nontraditional environment? How do we build skills sets (and also define them) to work across institutions in our industry? How do we build policy skills in our emerging leaders to enable them to work with regulators and accreditors? How do we engage emerging leaders in pre-lobbying and/or train them in how the politics of higher education work and how to influence change in this world? To what opportunities do we need to expose emerging leaders in navigating the diversity of voices embedded in leading higher education today, and for the future?

In this discussion of leadership development, I was reminded that we as leaders need to model the way. Transparency, truth, and authenticity were characteristics that came to mind as the various panelists and participants spoke.

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Presidents Forum 2017 innovation Powell

Reflections on Presidents’ Forum 2017: Leadership and Innovation in a Time of Transition

Each October, the Presidents’ Forum convenes to “advance the recognition of innovative practice and excellence in online learning.” The Forum provides an opportunity for higher education leaders focused on alternative and online learning to meet and dialogue on strategic, innovation-related and regulatory issues. To say that these are interesting times for higher education, and especially online and alternative learning, would be an understatement, given the recent sessions here in Washington, D.C.

This year’s gathering focused on questions and perspectives related to innovation and the future. In this post and subsequent ones, I focus on key themes that emerged from the presentations and related dialogues: 1) our use of language and the need to re-define/clarify terms used in distance learning; 2) development of leaders for today and for the future to serve and advance our environment; and 3) emerging and rapidly evolving learning technology.

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Thanksgiving Karan Powell

Reflections on Transitioning to Retired President of APUS

On September 29, APEI CEO Dr. Wally Boston sent the following email to staff: 

After 15 years of distinguished service to APUS as a trustee, dean, provost, and president, Dr. Karan Powell informed the Board of Trustees and me that she is retiring from APUS effective October 15. While her term was scheduled to run through June 30, 2018, Karan and the Board considered the importance of launching a search as soon as possible given the reaccreditation visit with the HLC currently scheduled in August of 2018. During the remainder of her term through June 2018, Dr. Powell will work on transition activities including: providing consulting services, representing APUS in the higher education community as an ambassador of good will, and providing guidance on accreditation related matters as requested.

So today, October 16, 2017, is my first day as APUS “president (retired)”. While moving on from APUS is bittersweet, the decision of the board to search for a new president now rather than in June 2018, on the eve of our Higher Learning Commission accreditation site visit, is the right decision for APUS. As I have said to the leadership team and staff in the past two weeks, my aim was to build a strong university by helping build strong leaders. That legacy lives on in them and the opportunity they now have to lead and take the university to the next level, and I look forward to celebrating this legacy next spring with the larger APUS community.

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NUTN network leadership Powell

Women in Leadership: Thoughts from NUTN 35

Participating on a panel of women leaders at the NUTN conference on October 11 in San Antonio provided the opportunity for reflection on our journey as leaders. The panel was facilitated by Dr. Pam Quinn, provost of the LeCroy Center, Dallas County Community College District. My co-panelists included Dr. Diane Melby, president of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, and Dr. Adelina Silva, vice chancellor for student success, Alamo Community College District.

What an amazing group of women leaders! In addressing our personal pathways to leadership and the most important characteristics to achieve it, it was fascinating to hear the ways our stories intersected. Common themes included never setting out on a path for a particular position, i.e., who really grows up thinking “I will become a provost, president, or chancellor?” This is especially true for those of us who are first-generation college graduates.

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digital literacy Powell

Digital Information Literacy: Preparing Students, Graduates, and Alumni for the Workforce

APUS programs are designed so that students can demonstrate proficiency in several learning areas upon completing their academic course of study. These proficiencies include applied learning, intellectual skill, specialized knowledge, broad knowledge, civic learning, and digital information literacy. While a focus on each of the learning areas required of graduates at all degree levels is essential, this post is focused on digital literacy proficiency.

By focusing on digital literacy, APUS aims to set our students apart from other graduates seeking employment and/or career advancement by developing and enhancing our student’s ability to communicate precisely and creatively using tools to engage, interact, and create visually effective and professional artifacts. Creativity and competence in the selection and safe, ethical use of digital resources are essential skills in the workplace for all employees – now and for the future. In fact, digital skills are emerging as a key job skill for the future – a future that is already here.

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Emergency management Portfolium Challenge Junkens

How My AMU Experience Helped Set the Course for My Emergency Management Career

My educational experience at American Military University has had a profound impact on my career in emergency management. Within a year of starting my master’s degree in homeland security, I was asked to teach at another university where I instructed ROTC. This opportunity allowed me to highlight the knowledge I gained from AMU and helped me form valuable relationships with the head of the criminal justice department and the director of public safety that facilitated subsequent employment.

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