Skip to content Skip to Live Chat

Part of Western Governors University

Marni Baker Stein

Marni Baker Stein

Provost, Chief Academic Officer | Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Dr. Marni Baker Stein serves as Provost and Chief Academic Officer of Western Governors University, developing and implementing programs that improve student access and success in higher education.

Areas of Expertise: 

Competency-based Education, Innovation, Higher Education, E-Learning, Instructional Design, Distance Learning, and Leadership


University of Pennsylvania: Ph.D., Educational Leadership  2008

Penn State University: M.A., Speech Communication and TESOL  1992

Penn State University: B.S., French  1990

Social:   TwitterLinkedIn




Dr. Marni Baker Stein is Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Western Governors University where she leads WGU’s academic programs, faculty, and supporting design, evaluation and student experience teams. In this role, she is accountable for driving the university’s focus on academic quality and student success.

Stein has more than 25 years of experience in designing and scaling programs to improve access, affordability, and student success. Prior to joining WGU, she worked for several educational institutions in the U.S. and abroad on the development and administration of pioneering high school, undergraduate, graduate and continuing and professional programming models delivered through competency-based, online, and hybrid formats. These institutions include: The University of Texas System, Columbia University in the City of New York, The University of Pennsylvania, The University of California Santa Barbara, The Pennsylvania State University, SUNY Buffalo (Latvia), and the United States Information Agency (Turkey, Japan).

Stein has a Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Curriculum from the University of Pennsylvania.

Event Appearances

SXSW EDU, 2019-03-05
Understanding Students as Consumers of Higher Education  Austin, Texas

SXSW EDU, 2017-05-13
How Data and Automation Humanize Student Experience  Austin, Texas

Selected media appearances and articles.

Marni Baker Stein on What’s Next For Higher Education

Getting Smart, 2020-12-02

In this podcast, Marni elaborates on the progress WGU has made with regards to focusing on what learners need to know, how they know what learners know, and how they can communicate and capture that.

The Key to Regaining America’s Trust in Higher Ed? Skills

Education Technology Insights, 2020-11

COVID-19 has put an exclamation point of what we already knew: college and universities must do better. Pre-COVID, reports abound of America's high levels of student loan debt and recent grads struggling to find jobs... 

History will look back on 2020 as a turning point for US universities

Quartz, 2020-08-23

Like thousands of US colleges and universities this spring, Simmons University in Boston had to adjust to Covid-19 on the fly, closing lecture halls and moving classes online. 

Embracing a Skills-based Future

Diplomatic Courier, 2020-08-07

We don’t yet know what the long-term effects of the virus will be... Recent findings from the Strada Education Network suggest that one in four Americans plan to enroll in education or training in the next six months. 


Ep. 15: Online Learning's Outlook for the Fall

Inside Higher Ed, 2020-07-21

Many questions loom about remote learning in coming months. Will online offerings from colleges be more sophisticated? What steps need to be taken to ensure academic quality in online learning? And will short-term credentials be more popular?

How WGU aligns students' educations to employers' needs

edScoop, 2020-06-23

As the COVID-19 pandemic changes the workforce and the types of skills that workers need, Western Governors University is focused on improving its skills-based education program to help students and industry professionals document their skill sets for employers.

How WGU Is Filling the Skills Gap

Campus Technology, 2020-04-20

Western Governors University is known for innovation in pursuit of student success. Its latest initiative takes that out of school and deep into the hiring process. 

It consists of two components: a tightly structured process for skills mapping (connecting course competencies directly to workforce needs) and a group of dedicated "skills architects" (those doing the mapping).

What's Next: Could coronavirus change the credit hour as we know it?

Education Dive, 2020-04-08

When faculty are teaching courses designed for the classroom remotely, how can they be sure students are learning as intended? As Baker Stein notes, replicating that course online in short order is a challenge, she noted, because the tools and capabilities for learning in the digital domain don't match up so neatly with what's available in the classroom. 

WGU’s new initiative to help connect students with job skills

Pahrump Valley Times, 2020-03-02

Western Governors University has partnered with a labor market analytics firm to help map the skills and competencies WGU students acquire that employers are looking for in the job market.


Identifying Local Skills Gaps

Inside Higher Ed, 2020-02-28

New report from Emsi explains how regions can use data to identify skills gaps, which vary wildly across cities and even within industries, and what that means for higher ed.


The quest to scale undergraduate education online continues, but can it work?

Education Dive, 2020-01-10

EdX and other learning companies are enlisting traditional universities to help create more inroads to college, but earlier attempts at doing so point to potential hurdles.​

Uncharted Territory: A Guide to Reimagining Higher Education

Stanford University, 2019-10

An exploration of how institutions, including WGU, are charting new paths and designing for the student experience in higher ed.


Competency-Based Learning, Personalization, and the Rise of the ‘Multiverse’ in Education

Civitas Learning, 2019-10-09

In this podcast conversation, Marni helps us unpack the particulars and potential of WGU’s competency-based learning model. 

With Skills Mapping, Colleges Create A 'Universal Language' to Explain Value

Education Dive, 2019-06-24

While community colleges and online programs such as Western Governors University have used skills mapping for years, four-year schools are increasingly interested in meeting this demand.