Dec 102008
Authors: Madeline Novey

After the former associate provost transferred to another university five months ago, the Division of Continuing Education is in the process of hiring a replacement to continue the development and expansion of its online and professional development classes.

The Division of Continuing Education is a branch of CSU located in Spruce Hall that offers master’s and undergraduate programs, professional development courses and leadership classes to local and national students online, on-site at businesses and in traditional classroom settings.

While officials said they could not comment on the qualities of the final three candidates, they said the future associate provost, above all else, must understand the importance of financial sustainability.

“There is no money coming to the school directly from the provost office,” said Lou Swanson, vice provost of DCE and current interim associate provost. “The new person has to be savvy in working with sustainable income.”

“They need to extend the talent here on campus but listen to the government and life-time learners and their needs as long as (they) can do it in a financially sustainable manner.”

The new associate provost fills the position formerly held by Rick Simpson. DCE, while a division of CSU, receives no funding from the university and brings in its own revenue stream from tuition. It grossed approximately $4.9 million last year.

The money was redistributed among departments and faculty within the DCE and CSU.

Swanson said a search committee, responsible for finding potential candidates, started the national hunt in summer 2008 and only recently narrowed it down to the final three.

The three candidates who are scheduled to speak at CSU about their candidacy at open forum sessions throughout early December include:

Tim Rees, campus dean for Aims Community College

Mike Boyle, dean of Continuing Education and Distance Learning at Middle Tennessee State University

Craig Kaml, associate dean of Extended University Programs at Western Michigan University

Working with 50 faculty — made up of people CSU and educators unrelated to the university — the DCE offers educational programs in biomedical sciences, agricultural business, fire and emergency services and leadership, among others.

DCE officials said its programs provide life-long learners and companies an opportunity to expand their academic and business capacities and help people to become more skilled.

Last year, enrollment in credit programs exceeded 13,000 with about 2,300 enrolled in non-credit, leadership and development classes.

Nicole Olsen, manager of specials projects for the Division of Continuing Education, said DCE communicates with businesses to see what skills its employees need the most and then recommends or develops a program to meet that need.

People enrolled in DCE have the opportunity to take classes online or at one of the campus’ sites, including the newly opened Brighton Educational Center in Brighton. Professors are also available to travel to the business to teach on location.

Olsen said the new associate provost has to be able to enhance and develop communication with business owners and potential students.

“The new (associate provost) would work with businesses and industries, and individuals on campus to provide economic development opportunities,” Olsen said. “(The associate provost) would meet with public and private people to develop programs to meet (business and students’) needs to provide education as a whole.”

Swanson, who echoed Olsen’s view, said that his greatest hope is that the new associate provost continues to improve the DCE’s purpose to provide additional and specialized education to students across the nation.

“.We want to be the leading university in terms of life-life long learning and workforce development, which are appropriate on a global scale,” he said. “The challenge is how we can create the educational curriculum to help people enhance their jobs across the country?”

Assistant News Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at

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