Dr. Mark Milliron to Lead WGU Texas, 11/9/11

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News Brief - 11/9/11

Dr. Mark Milliron to Lead WGU Texas

Award-winning leader in student success strategies to serve as Chancellor for Texas’ new online university

AUSTIN — WGU Texas, texas.wgu.edu, the nonprofit, online university established by the state of Texas, has appointed Dr. Mark Milliron as its first Chancellor. An award-winning leader, author, and speaker recognized for his commitment to college completion and student success, Milliron will lead the growth and development of the state’s newest university from its headquarters in Austin.

Dr. Milliron joins WGU Texas after serving as Deputy Director for Postsecondary Improvement at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Before his work at the Gates Foundation, he founded and served as CEO of Catalyze Learning International and was an Endowed Fellow, Senior Lecturer, and Director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at the University of Texas at Austin. In addition, Dr. Milliron was Vice President for Education and Medical Practice at SAS, the world’s largest private software company, and for five years served as President and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College. From 2004 to 2010, he was a member of the Western Governors University Board of Trustees.

Much of Dr. Milliron’s career has been dedicated to increasing access to and success in higher education, with a special focus on the strategic use of technology in teaching and learning. Dr. Milliron earned a Ph.D. in Educational Administration at the University of Texas at Austin, which recognized him with its Distinguished Graduate Award in 1999. More recently, the National University Technology Network (NUTN) presented Dr. Milliron with its 2011 Distinguished Service Award.

WGU Texas was created August 3 by Governor Rick Perry with the bi-partisan support of Texas Higher Education Chairs Senator Judith Zaffirini and Representative Dan Branch. The state’s only fully online, competency-based university, WGU Texas offers more than 50 accredited bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Business, Information Technology, Teacher Education, and Health Professions, including Nursing. A state-based subsidiary of nationally recognized, nonprofit Western Governors University, WGU Texas is open to all qualified Texas residents.

WGU Texas’ academic model is unique—rather than earning degrees based on credit hours or time spent in class, students are required to demonstrate competency in degree subject matter. They advance by writing papers, completing assignments, working on projects, and passing exams that demonstrate their knowledge of required subject matter. This allows students to move quickly through areas where they have prior work or academic experience and focus on the areas they still need to learn. Learning is individualized and guided by the one-on-one support of a faculty mentor. Degree programs are rigorous and challenging, but designed to allow students to schedule their studies to accommodate work and family obligations. Tuition is affordable, approximately $6,000 per year for most degree programs, and federal financial aid is available. For more information, visit the WGU Texas website, http://texas.wgu.edu/.

“I look forward to working with the state’s higher education, business, and community leaders to make our citizens aware of the new opportunity for completing a bachelor’s or master’s degree that WGU Texas provides,” said Dr. Milliron. “Even more, I am committed to building a vibrant, engaged community of WGU Texas students and alumni supporting each other.”

“The Texas Association of Community Colleges is very pleased with Dr. Milliron’s appointment,” said TACC President Dr. Reynaldo Garcia. “His experience in higher education, which ranges from community colleges to research institutions like the University of Texas at Austin, makes him the ideal candidate for creating a link between the Texas higher education community and WGU Texas. We are very excited about the new opportunity WGU Texas offers our graduates—a means to completing their bachelor’s degrees at a quality university that is affordable and accessible. Our agreement with WGU Texas provides community college graduates with seamless transfer, discounted tuition, and an application fee waiver.”