Skip to content Skip to Live Chat
Close Nav


Part of Western Governors University

Elke M. Leeds

Elke Leeds

Dean and Academic Vice President, College of IT | Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Dr. Elke Leeds serves as Dean and Academic Vice President for Western Governors University’s College of Information Technology.

Areas of Expertise: 

Information Technology, E-Learning, Distance Learning, Leadership, and Cybersecurity


Walden University: Ph.D., MIS  2007

Kennesaw State University - Michael J. Coles College of Business: M.B.A., Business Administration  1998

Loyola University Chicago: B.S., Finance  1989

Social:   TwitterLinkedIn


Dr. Elke Leeds is Dean and Academic Vice President of the College of Information Technology at Western Governors University (WGU). She joined WGU in May of 2018, after a 20+ year career in higher education at one of Georgia’s largest public universities. Elke holds a Ph.D. in Information Systems. She provides leadership, direction, and focus to inspire innovative programs that achieve student outcomes and meet workforce needs. Her accomplished career includes leading a cybersecurity workforce development team, launching over 70 online degree programs, and improving academic outcomes through the design and implementation of a student focused educational system.

At WGU, Elke sets the strategic vision for 10 undergraduate and graduate degree programs, that currently enroll more than 20,000 students. She coordinates academic and industry partnerships, ensures program quality and relevancy, and expands student professional opportunities. WGU’s offers both graduate and undergraduate cybersecurity degrees which are designed with input from cybersecurity experts and leading IT employers to closely aligned with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and National Security Agency (NSA) guidelines. These online cybersecurity degree programs include multiple industry-recognized certifications including ones from CompTIA, CIW, EC-Council, and ISC².



Women in Technology International: Member

Technology Association of Georgia

Utah’s Women Tech Council

CompTIA Policy Executive Board

Salt Lake City Chamber of Commerce Cybersecurity Executive Committee 

Selected media appearances and articles.

WGU Information Technology Students Take Top Honors in National Cybersecurity Competition

WGU News Release, 2019-10-01

Cyber FastTrack awards scholarships to 19 WGU students to advance their cybersecurity education.

Bad news — skills have a short shelf life in the workforce of the future

CIO Dive, 2019-06-11

In an ideal world, hiring managers present a wish list to human resources of 10 characteristics or skills they want in a candidate and the perfect match appears.

In the real word, hiring managers are lucky to find candidates with half of their ideal requirements. They're lucky to find candidates at all.

The competitive talent market requires companies to rethink which new hire skills to target.

IT Reskilling More Important Than Ever

Information Week, 2019-01-09

New options are becoming available to help IT leaders get people up to speed quickly. For its part, Western Governors University in Salt Lake City takes a "gig-economy learning" approach, said Dr. Elke Leeds, academic vice president for the college of IT. It's an online method that allows students to demonstrate proficiency, earn industry-standard certifications as they go, and proceed up the career ladder even before completing their degree.

MOOCs: Branding, Enrollment, and Multiple Measures of Success

Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration
Leeds, Elke M.; Cope, Jim

KSU redefined the MOOC value proposition through collaboration of university leadership and faculty. The new proposition shifts measures of success beyond just course completion to include measures that benefit students, faculty, and the institution. Students benefitted through access to open educational resources, the acquisition of professional learning units at no cost, and the potential of college credit at a greatly reduced cost. Academic units benefited through a mechanism to attract students and future revenue while the university benefited through digital impressions, branding, institutionally leveraged scalable learning environments, streamlined credit evaluation processes and expanded digital education.

The Role of Student Characteristics in Predicting Retention in Online Courses

Research in Higher Education
Justin D. Cochran, Stacy M. Campbell, Hope M. Baker, Elke M. Leeds

Given the continued issue of student retention for online classes, past research has suggested several “retention strategies” focused on engaging students as a way to reduce their withdrawal rate from these classes. However, a recent study testing the effects of these strategies on retention in online undergraduate business courses (Leeds et al., Int J Manage Educ 7(1/2), 2013) did not show empirical support for the effectiveness of such strategies. Taking an alternative approach that focuses on individual characteristics of students, this study takes a broader view and examines previous research literature on traditional face-to-face classes to determine how individual characteristics of students may be associated with the likelihood of withdrawal from online classes. 

Using Digital Video Technology to Reduce Communication Apprehension in Business Education

INFORMS Transactions on Education
Elke M. Leeds, Ruth A. Maurer

Several studies have shown that communication apprehension (CA) plays a significant role in reducing the effectiveness of oral communication in business settings. To compound this problem, environmental needs for large classes deny students the opportunity to present in the classroom and prevent universities from adequately addressing CA. In this study, digital video was used as a multimedia replacement for in-class oral presentations. 


Distance Learning Administration Best Paper Award
Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration

Sloan-C Effective Practice Award
Sloan Consortium - Online Learning Consortium

Campus Technology Innovators Award

Outstanding Professor
Georgia WebMBA

Tommy and Beth Holder Award for Faculty Innovation
Kennesaw State University