Active Engagements.

Chief Academic Officer and Provost

Company: Established in 1976, the University of Phoenix (UOPX) was founded to provide educational access to underserved populations, particularly working adult populations.  In the 40 years since, it has become one of the largest private, accredited universities in North America, continuing to champion non-traditional students, working learners whose more formal, post-secondary education has been interrupted by personal or work obligations or military service. In so doing, the University has focused on creating innovative models for higher education to better meet the needs of its target populations.  The University of Phoenix is committed to providing the opportunity for higher education to anyone with the capacity and willingness to achieve its benefits.  Since its inception, the University’s goal is to enable students to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to achieve their professional goals, to improve the productivity of their organizations, and to provide leadership and service to their communities.  University revenues for FY2016 were $1.6 billion.

University of Phoenix is innovating to help working adults move efficiently from education to careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant and engaging courses, and interactive learning can help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. University of Phoenix serves a diverse student population of over 100,000 (66 percent female and 34 percent male), offering associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs (more than 100 degree programs and more than 50 certificate programs) in 26 markets across the U.S. as well as online throughout the world. The University’s average class size is 15:1 with the average student age at 35, with 68 percent of those self-reporting as having dependent family members. In addition, the University has nearly one million alumni.

At the heart of the University of Phoenix’s success are its approximately 10,000 committed faculty members.  University faculty members have advanced degrees and real-world experience that bridges the gap between theory and practice—helping students apply what they learn in class one day to their job the next.

On February 1, 2017, the parent company of the University of Phoenix, Apollo Education Group, Inc. (formerly a publicly-traded company) was acquired by a consortium of investors including Apollo Global Management, LLC and The Vistria Group, LLC.

As a roadmap for success, the University relies on five broad, high-level objectives that provide a clear direction for day-to-day operations, actions and initiatives:

  1. Differentiate our schools, colleges and programs. Through deep domain expertise within the University’s distinct schools and colleges, deliver rigorous and relevant academic programs that meet University of Phoenix students’ and employers’ unique and ever-changing needs.
  2. Improve student outcomes. The University is committed to improving student retention and academic success through reinvestment in quality, career-relevant programs; faculty; partnerships with industry, community colleges and nonprofits; infrastructure (staff and technology); and innovation.
  3. Enhance the reputation of the University. Being a world-class university dedicated to the academic success of adult learners should not be a best-kept secret.
  4. Continuously improve operational excellence. University of Phoenix is dedicated to continuing to improve its operational efficiency and effectiveness while maintaining or enhancing the student experience and faculty performance.
  5.  Build world-class assessment.  Beyond ensuring ongoing compliance with the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) and our programmatic accreditors, the University is committed to building world-class assessment programs which measure student learning outcomes and the effectiveness and quality of our academic programs.

Position Summary: Reporting to the President, the Chief Academic Officer and Provost will be a highly-regarded and dynamic leader with solid business and academic credentials who is committed to educational innovation and will be responsible for the University’s academic standards and programming, curriculum and assessment, regulation and accreditation, and influencing and implementing the overarching growth strategy. The ideal candidate will be a visionary leader, highly creative, with the ability to ascertain and confront the tremendous opportunities and critical challenges facing UOPX during this transformation.

The Chief Academic Officer and Provost’s focus will be on ensuring academic quality and innovation; assuring course content meets the ever-changing needs of the employers who hire our graduates; building a well-respected, external brand for the University. The Chief Academic Officer and Provost will help guide the University toward new opportunities for growth.

This individual will be responsible for operations, academic oversight, student and faculty experience, and strategic collaboration with all internal stakeholders within the University. The Chief Academic Officer and Provost will also be responsible for enhancing the University’s external brand to distinguish it from those of competitors. 

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Provide dynamic, visionary leadership to create a differentiated value proposition, leading to revenue and EBITDA growth.
  • Stabilize and turn around the declining top line revenue and EBTIDA.
  • Work closely with the President and other key partners to ensure that opportunities are maximized in order to continue to evolve and develop the University.
  • Lead and oversee the development of degree and non-degree program offerings across all colleges within the University.
  • Ensure that students and prospective students understand what makes UOPX unique (e.g. curriculum, degree programs, career opportunities, etc.).
  • Collaborate with marketing on messaging and branding. Bring an informed perspective to systemic changes in higher education and enthusiasm for crafting an effective strategy to guide the University’s ongoing response.
  • Lead the analysis, development, and implementation of academic offerings.
  • Make certain that Executive Deans and each of her teams are of the highest quality. Attract, hire, and retain top faculty. Ensure that every degree program is relevant and competitive in the market and top rated compared to the competition.
  • In a collaborative and transparent manner, identify opportunities for program expansion and development; examine a range of academic programs and options that charts the most successful future course for the institution. Make good programs better and accentuate programs that distinguish UOPX from its competitors.
  • Increase graduation rates and grow enrollment year over year.  Improve student engagement and peer reputation. Ensure students are increasingly more employable.
  • Utilize excellent communication, networking, interpersonal, and stakeholder management skills to lead collaboratively and achieve results.
  • Become the ambassador for the University of Phoenix in the market.  Collaborate with and build relationships with employers.
  • Work closely with Executive Deans to enhance the corporate and industrial partnerships that will drive enrollment growth, academic success and students’ career outcomes in key programs.
  • Develop and implement the budget, goals and objectives in accordance and alignment with established University standards, goals, and objectives.  Ensure budget goals are met on an annual basis.
  • Maintain current knowledge of accreditation and regulatory standards, and ensure compliance.

Qualifications:           

  • At least 15 years of experience in an education-related industry or corporate training function with 7 years in leadership roles.
  • Senior leadership experience in large University, or a complex business that targets adult learners.
  • Demonstrated ability to execute on strategic imperatives for an organization of at least $100 million. Strong business acumen and marketplace credibility.
  • Proven ability to assess a portfolio of businesses of varying size and complexity and know which levers to pull to grow most optimally.
  • Has successfully lead and delivered results in a highly matrixed environment. Demonstrated experience effectively leading and influencing non-direct reports. A record of leading teams through consensus, persuasion, and transparency.
  • Experience successfully managing resources within a large-scale educational enterprise.
  • Turnaround experience is a plus.
  • Knowledge in the areas of academic program development and evaluation, adult principles and practices, and curriculum development. In-depth understanding of the higher education industry.
  • A deep understanding of contemporary teaching-learning methods with specific emphasis on the use of educational technology in serving the needs of a diverse learner population.
  • Experience working with federal and state policymakers, regulators, and both regional and programmatic accrediting bodies to address concerns and ensure transparent student outcomes.
  • At least five years of experience in an external customer-facing role that had to form strategic partnerships (business to business) and prior experience being an ambassador for the business.
  • Ability to effectively represent the organization within the education, business, government and political communities.
  • Experience going through an implementation of a major software, technology or learning platform is preferred.

Education:  PhD or EdD or other terminal degree from an accredited higher education institution is required.

Compensation:  The selected candidate will receive an attractive compensation package consisting of base salary, bonus and equity, along with a comprehensive benefits plan.

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