Amy Smith, an accomplished educator and administrator, has been selected as the new senior director to lead Colorado State University Online and will begin on Aug. 1.
“Dr. Smith’s depth of knowledge and scope of understanding of the educational landscape will be a crucial asset as CSU Online continues to work with its partners to serve students and increase access to educational opportunity,” said Lou Swanson, vice president for Engagement. “Her career path demonstrates that she is dedicated to building and innovating and the University is fortunate to be gaining a leader with such extensive experience and success.”
Innovation and optimization
Most recently, Smith served as dean of the School of Education for Capella University, where she was responsible for innovation and optimization of 38 graduate education programs, including master’s and doctoral degree programs in P-12 education and leadership, adult education, corporate education, higher-education leadership, and instructional design and online learning. Under her leadership, the School saw significant enrollment growth and increases in persistence and completion.
Smith’s professional background also includes time as the Curriculum, Language and Literacy Chair for Concordia University Chicago and academic dean for the College of Humanities and Sciences and College of Social Sciences at the University of Phoenix. She has held teaching positions at Western Oregon University and Kent State University, in addition to having broad experience in consulting, training, and development. She brings extensive experience and success in organizational development, change management, human capital management, training, process improvement, and program development.
Student success and engagement
Throughout her career, which includes over 18 years in online education, Smith has led cross-functional teams, managed significant complexity and scale, led strategic and annual operating planning processes, and held substantial budget responsibility. She has successfully led the administration of online programs for 60,000 students and 7,000 faculty; redesigned qualifications for and realigned 7,000 faculty roles in collaboration with faculty, operations, finance, accreditation, and strategic-planning teams; and worked to innovate and optimize curriculum and support, which resulted in increased student success and engagement for 10,000 students in one year.
Smith has a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership: Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Denver, a M.Ed. in Public Administration and Supervision from National-Louis University, a M.A. in Secondary Education/English Education from the University of Akron and a B.A. in English from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
‘High-quality, high-impact learning’
“I am passionate about creating and advocating for high-quality, high-impact learning experiences for adults that give them the space to learn and thrive,” said Smith. “I have tremendous respect for the quality of the staff, faculty, and programming CSU Online maintains in support of its students and communities, and am looking forward to innovating, designing, and thinking into the future.”
As of Aug. 1, Smith will lead CSU Online and take over for Interim Senior Director Ashley Stokes who will return to her role as assistant vice president for Engagement and deputy director of Extension. Smith will report to vice president for Engagement Lou Swanson in her role as Senior Director.
Colorado State University Online supports CSU’s mission to increase access to educational opportunity by partnering with colleges and departments and external partners to offer 34 graduate degrees, eight undergraduate degrees, 30 graduate certificates, nine undergraduate minors, and seven digital badges to students around the state, nation, and world who cannot or chose not to come to campus. In the last five years, CSU Online has served almost 40,000 students and helped more than 3,000 students earn their degrees online from CSU. It has offered more than 1,000 unique credit courses, more than 300 professional development noncredit courses, and 10 free online courses (MOOCs), all of which were taught by 1,050 CSU faculty, selected and hired by departments and colleges.
CSU Online has an infrastructure that is unique within the institution. The division uses innovative digital tools and strategies to provide marketing, recruitment, retention and advising services designed specifically to attract and meet the unique needs of adult students at a distance. It also provides customized services to faculty teaching online, including instructional design, training, and best practices to maintain the integrity of campus programs when offered online; access to market demand and industry research to support strategic decisions about curriculum, tuition, and staffing; and program development and management support to build and maintain successful, relevant programs.