Finalists named for assistant vice chancellor for digital, online learning

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Finalists named for assistant vice chancellor for digital, online learning

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The University of Nebraska–Lincoln has announced five finalists for the inaugural role of Assistant Vice Chancellor for Digital and Online Learning. The candidates will visit campus between Dec. 7-13.

The finalists, listed by campus visit dates, are:

  • Dec. 7 — Paul Savory, provost and executive vice president, Colorado State University Global (Aurora, Colorado)
  • Dec. 8 — Andrea Butler, associate vice president of digital learning, Colorado State University Global
  • Dec. 9 — Esther Meijer Lahargoue, chief executive officer, EDUKAN (Overland Park, Kansas)
  • Dec. 12 — Anne Soon Choi, professor in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies/Program for Accelerated College Education and associate director of online pedagogy and learning in the Faculty Development Center at California State University, Dominguez Hills (Carson, California)
  • Dec. 13 — Kevin Shriner, senior director of enrollment strategy at EAB (Richmond, Virginia)

Additional candidate information, including curriculum vitae and candidate evaluation forms, and the full position description is available on the assistant vice chancellor for digital and online learning search website.

The inaugural assistant vice chancellor for digital and online learning will champion the university's response to evolving workforce development needs, attracting new nontraditional learners, and reaffirming the university's commitment to access with growth in new programs, stackable certificates, and more non-credit offerings to meet the goals of flexible, accessible digital learning needs of degree- and non-degree-seeking individuals.

The position will report to the executive vice chancellor, and provide expertise, leadership and coordination on activities and initiatives that advance and support digital and online learning. The position will work closely with the executive vice chancellor, the leadership team, and the colleges to establish campuswide strategic priorities, a vision for online programming, and chart and implement a course for success.


Paul Savory interviews Dec. 7. Savory has served as the Chief Academic Officer for three colleges — Colorado State University Global (a 100% online university), Doane University, and Nebraska Methodist College. His academic leadership experience is focused on establishing innovative strategies to improve all dimensions of the online student experience. He also has worked as a data scientist where he evaluated operations and strategic initiatives for Union Pacific Railroad.

Prior to these roles, he worked as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln in the Department of Industrial and Management Systems Engineering and Department of Management. He received numerous recognitions for his teaching and service to students including being inducted into the UNL Academy of Distinguished Teachers.

While at Nebraska, he additionally served in several administrative roles including interim associate vice chancellor for extended education and outreach and director of summer sessions. He also co-coordinated the Peer Review of Teaching Project, which has faculty explore and reflect on their teaching. His efforts in faculty development resulted in his co-authoring two books.

He has served as education and assessment area editor for the journal Computers and Industrial Engineering. He also serves as a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission to confirm a college’s resources support its program quality and effectiveness.

Savory holds a Bachelor of Science in computer science and a Master of Science in operation research from Oregon State University. His doctorate in industrial engineering is from Arizona State University.


Andrea Butler interviews Dec. 8. Butler is the assistant vice president of digital learning at Colorado State University’s Global Campus. She began her career as a decorated military nurse officer in the United States Air Force but quickly discovered her penchant for education and training.

She has served in the roles of director, dean and vice president of online or digital learning at higher education institutions but also has experience leading departments of advising, enrollment, marketing, instructional design, academic technology, academic support, and disability and accessibility services. Her leadership has led to outcomes such as record enrollments, increased diversity hires, inclusive curriculum, appreciative online advising, benchmark massive open online courses design, online multilingual curriculum, remote video production, in-demand online labs and inclusive marketing campaigns.

Butler recognized that universities are filled with creative and smart people and therefore invested in the people, the institution and the community by creating a unit specifically focused on innovation to cultivate ideas within the community. The unit launched three projects that achieved notable success.

She has created successful partnerships and relationships within institutions, in the local community, nationally, and internationally in an effort to make education more available and approachable for people who want to learn. This passion has fueled her drive to create a digital learning ecosystem at universities that incorporated professional development, micro-credentials, short courses, certificates, and degree programs that are integrated pathways of learning, resulting in substantial revenue growth for the institutions, greater academic access for students, and more flexibility for faculty.

Butler holds a Bachelor of Science in nursing from Creighton University and a Master of Science in health promotion with an emphasis in human resources from Nebraska Methodist University. She is completing her doctorate in human capital management at Bellevue University.

Meijer Lahargoue

Esther Meijer Lahargoue interviews Dec. 9. Meijer Lahargoue has served as the chief executive officer of EDUKAN, an online education consortium, for the last six years, overseeing the curriculum development, technical delivery and instruction of online courses for both national and international students. In this role, she brokered and maintained several partnership agreements with four-year institutions, including Arizona State University, Kansas State University, Fort Hays State University and Wichita State University. The objective of these agreements was to create easier and additional pathways for students to enroll, transfer credits and succeed in completing their educational goals.

She prioritizes keeping costs low for students and has grown student enrollment by 30% for EDUKAN colleges over the last six years. She oversees legal and accreditation compliance for all the consortium’s colleges and works directly with its board of directors to plan effective long-term strategies. A hallmark of her tenure as CEO has been incorporating cutting-edge digital technologies to enhance the online classroom experience for students and providing a greater depth of meaningful instruction at an affordable price.

Meijer Lahargoue's experience in online education stretches back to 1998, where she pioneered the development of the field with the University of Phoenix and Grand Canyon University.

She holds a Bachelor of Arts in foreign languages from Purdue University and a Juris Doctor from Southwestern University School of Law.


Anne Soon Choi interviews Dec. 12. Choi is professor and chair of interdisciplinary studies, a degree completion program for working adults and non-traditional students in the College of Arts and Humanities at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She developed the first online and hybrid courses in the college, and as the chair, she has increased retention and graduation rates and reduced time to degree for undergraduates in the department. She also created the first state-supported undergraduate online degree pathway at the university and established a series of undergraduate cohort degree options through partnerships with county agencies in Los Angeles. Additionally, she developed community partnerships with local community colleges and businesses to create student pipelines into the major. She also has been engaged in larger workforce development initiatives both on and off campus.

Choi is also the associate director of online learning and pedagogy in the Faculty Development Center at the university, overseeing faculty-targeted initiatives around online and hybrid instruction. These initiatives have included the design and implementation of self-paced, on-demand online training for faculty and students rooted in equity-minded pedagogy and the science of learning; faculty mentoring programs; and larger trainings focused on building online courses that center on equity and accessibility.

She is a U.S. 20th century historian specializing in Asian American history and an expert in the digital humanities. She is an award-winning scholar and teacher. She is also a novelist.

Choi holds a Bachelor of Arts in American history and East Asian studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, and a Master of Arts in history from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She also holds a Master of Social Work and Master of Public Health from the University of California, Los Angeles. Her doctorate in history is from the University of Southern California.


Kevin Shriner interviews Dec. 13. Shriner is senior director of enrollment strategy at EAB, an education company focused on best practice research, technology services, and enrollment services for non-profit institutions. He is a first-generation, Pell Grant recipient, who is committed to the opportunity of a college credential to a diverse population regardless of socioeconomic status. Shriner is the primary strategist, consultant and subject matter expert to hundreds of colleges and universities seeking to improve marketing, recruitment and student success for adult degree earners and graduate students. He has cultivated a strong reputation as a higher education thought leader who remains industry relevant.

He formerly served as associate dean for institutional effectiveness and associate dean for student success at Florida Southwestern College. During his tenure, he collaborated with faculty to create a first-year experience program and streamline program review and general education assessment. He has also been an active faculty member, teaching undergraduate and graduate courses through mixed modalities, primarily online, since 2005.

Shriner has worked with more than 800 institutions in all 50 states to apply enrollment strategies, marketing insights and market data on developing, launching and strategically planning academic programs to meet the educational requirements of students and provide pathways to workforce outcomes. He frequently presents and writes about trends in higher education diversity, education attainment, enrollment and distance education.

He holds a Bachelor of Science in park resource management from Kansas State University. He also holds a Master of Arts in history, emphasis in African-American history, and a Master of Education in higher education from the University of Arkansas. His doctorate in higher education leadership is from Nova Southeastern University.

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