Capella University leadership changes

Capella University, an accredited, fully online university and wholly owned subsidiary of Capella Education Company (NASDAQ: CPLA), both based in Minneapolis, Minn., recently announced a new university leadership structure and a national search for a new university president. Michael Offerman, current president of the university, will become vice chairman-external university initiatives, continuing and expanding upon his recent national work with other institutions on such matters as accountability, learning outcomes, transparency and potential partnerships.

“In my new role, I will pursue Capella University’s goal of being nationally recognized as the university that leads the definition of high-quality, adult online education, while the new president will focus on delivering exceptional learning outcomes and learner experiences at Capella University,” said Offerman, president of Capella University since 2001. Offerman will remain president until the national search for a new president is successfully completed; he will then assume his new position as vice chairman-external university initiatives for Capella Education Company, as well as the title of Capella University president emeritus.

Concurrent with Offerman’s change in responsibilities, Karen Viechnicki, currently university provost and chief academic officer, will assume the new role of university vice president for academic quality. In this new role, she will provide overall leadership and oversight to all accreditation and regulatory efforts in Capella’s five schools. In addition, Viechnicki will focus on refining Capella’s academic quality framework to further differentiate Capella’s success in facilitating exceptional learning outcomes. Viechnicki will continue to report to the president of Capella University and begin her new position when the search for a new president is completed. At that time, the new university president will also assume the role of chief academic officer for the university.

“By positioning the new university president in a direct reporting relationship with the deans and in close communication with faculty, we can better support our faculty development program and our continuing work to improve the learner and faculty experience,” said Stephen Shank, chief executive officer of Capella Education Company.

It was also announced that Kenneth Sobaski, Capella Education Company president and chief operating officer, will assume senior executive oversight and responsibility for Capella University management. In that capacity, the new president of Capella University will be reporting to Sobaski and to the Capella University board of directors.

Paul Schroeder, senior vice president, Capella University and Capella Education Company, will move to a new role as senior vice president, operations and business transformation for Capella Education Company, reporting to Sobaski. Schroeder will be responsible for aligning and integrating the end-to-end operations of Capella in order to deliver the superior experience the university wants for its learners.

“I am confident that these organizational changes will further support our work to build a unified and integrated culture at Capella,” said Shank. “As part of our long-range, chief executive officer transition planning, Kenneth Sobaski is taking on additional responsibilities in the management of Capella University that are critical to our pursuit of exceptional learning outcomes and learner experiences, while executing a sound business strategy.”

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