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Scott D. Pulsipher

Scott Pulsipher

President | Western Governors University

Salt Lake City, Utah, United States

Scott Pulsipher serves as President of Western Governors University, leading all academic and organizational functions.

Areas of Expertise:

Leadership, Tech Education, EdTech, Disruptive Innovation, Higher Education Access, Higher Education Innovation, E-Commerce, Product Management, Strategy, Public Speaking. Named one of EdTech Digest's Top 100 Influencers in EdTech.


Harvard Business School: MBA, Business Administration 1999
Activities and Societies: Entrepreneurship and Venture Capital / Principal Investment Clubs.

Brigham Young University: B.S., Management (Finance Emphasis) 1994
Magna Cum Laude, Phi Kappa Phi national honor society. Significant course work in finance, economics, marketing, information systems, statistics, and organizational behavior.

Social:   TwitterLinkedIn




Pulsipher, Gupta and Leeds
WGU President Scott Pulsipher Shaking the Hand of a Woman WGU Graduate
Scott Pulsipher video thumbnail
Scott Pulsipher and Betsy DeVos Credit: U.S. Department of Education

Podcasts and radio.


Scott Pulsipher has served as president of Western Governors University, the nation’s premier nonprofit competency-based university, since April 2016, leading all academic, operational, and organizational functions. He cultivates a student-first environment by using technology and data to improve learning outcomes, graduation rates, employment, and overall student wellbeing.

Prior to joining WGU, Scott led several technology-based, customer-focused businesses, including Amazon, Sterling Commerce (now part of IBM), and two successful startups that traverse retail, supply chain, banking, payments, and manufacturing sectors.

He serves on multiple higher education and technology boards, including: Education Co-Chair for Committee for Economic Development, board member at the American Council on Education, advisory board member at the Presidents Forum, and member of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board.

Scott holds an MBA from Harvard University and a bachelor’s degree in Management from Brigham Young University. 


  • Committee for Economic Development: Education Co-Chair
  • American Council on Education: Board Member
  • American Workforce Policy Advisory Board: Member
  • Presidents' Forum: Advisory Board Member
  • Marriott School Marketing Advisory Board : Member


  • Polish

Featured articles.

Other selected articles and media appearances.

OPINION: Time to rebuild the economy, not just stimulate it

The Hechinger Report, 2020-10-12

As higher education leaders, we’ve had front-row seats to the ways in which the relationship between education and work is broken — and we also see how government can play a role in fixing it.


Bridging the Digital Divide

Silicon Slopes, 2020-10-02

It is sobering to consider what the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic would have been if it had taken place 30 years ago, before internet access was ubiquitous and pocket-sized devices could connect us to the world of learning and work, to far flung friends and family, and to entertainment and consumption with only a click. 

Colleges will survive the fall. The bigger question is how we help students thrive

Deseret News, 2020-08-13

How can we renew higher education as the surest path to opportunity? How can we make sure that its promise is widely and equitably accessible?


The Outdated Tax Provision Holding Back Economic Recovery

Real Clear Policy, 2020-08-12

What’s needed is a deeper investment in the workforce to upskill millions of Americans for the jobs that will be in demand.


Pandemic crisis touted as time to finally embrace older students

Times Higher Education, 2020-07-24

Campus-focused plans show US colleges still too age-limited, says job-centric pioneer.


Can Colleges Reopen? 7 Questions From Congress As It Considers More Higher Ed Support

Ed Surge, 2020-07-08

Members of Congress gathered virtually to hear from expert witnesses representing community colleges, public universities and online higher ed institutions. 

Closing the Digital Divide Will Advance Equity

Real Clear Education, 2020-07-08

The current national discussion on racial inequality was kicked off by law enforcement issues, but it is rooted in broader, structural inequalities in our institutions and in our access to the American Dream.

Urgency of getting people back to work gives new momentum to “microcredentials”

The Hechinger Report, 2020-06-02

Americans seek educations that take months, not years, to help them find new jobs fast.

More Students Are ‘Stacking’ Credentials en Route to a Degree

Wired, 2020-06-02

With record numbers of Americans jobless, some are turning to nontraditional programs that offer rewards for completing short courses on specific skills.

The coronavirus crisis will bust up and reshape higher education — for better or for worse

The Boston Globe, 2020-05-22

Chat bots, predictive analytics, and maybe a cheaper, more humane college experience.

Be prepared: 7 things you can do during coronavirus lockdown to improve your employment prospects

The Chicago Tribune, 2020-04-14

Among several suggestions on how to prepare yourself for the transformed job market that will emerge after the pandemic passes, is "keep learning."

A New Normal?

The Chicago Tribune, 2020-04-04

When we get to the other side of this pandemic, the U.S. workforce will be altered for quite some time, if not for good.


Access equals opportunity: The WGU higher ed model

Working Nation 2020-02-18

Western Governors University describes itself as “education without borders”.

The fully online university is the nation’s first and largest competency-based university designed to give all students access to the education they need to compete for work in our rapidly changing economy. 

Crunch Time for Calbright

Inside Higher Ed, 2020-01-17

As an outsider looking at Calbright, Scott Pulsipher, WGU's president, said it’s too early to judge the college's success. In WGU’s case, it took five years to reach 1,000 students.

“That early phase of any new endeavor like this, that’s not some quick turnaround,” Pulsipher said.

DeVos Headlines CED Conference

Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, 2019-11-13

During her keynote address at the Committee for Economic Development of the Conference Board’s (CED) Fall Policy Conference yesterday, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos said that “America’s antiquated approach to education fails too many students.”

DeVos pushes alternative credentials, flexibility in speech to business leaders

Education Dive, 2019-11-13

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Wednesday extolled the potential benefits of microcredentials and other alternatives to traditional degrees, calling on the higher education sector to innovate and look to inexpensive programs for college students.


The ‘minternship’ might be a fix to your mid-career woes

Fast Company, 2019-10-21

The benefits of any work-based learning opportunity are plenty, says Scott Pulsipher, president of Western Governors University.

“The employee gains hands-on learning experiences that are directly relevant to the individual’s career,” he says.


Why Western Governors U thinks microcredentials are the path to degrees

Education Dive, 2019-09-24

Projections that the pool of traditional students will shrink, wariness of continued tuition increases and limited growth in state support for higher education are prompting institutions to shake things up. In many cases, that means making themselves available throughout learners’ lives as their education needs change.

Older articles of note.

Event appearances.

How Data and Automation Humanize Student Experience  Austin, Texas

ASU GSV Summit
The Potential for Artificial Intelligence to Revolutionize Higher Education  Salt Lake City, Utah

Committee for Economic Development Fall Policy Conference
Reimagining Higher Education for the 21st Century  Washington, D.C.

Gallup - WGU Research Event
WGU: How Innovation Delivers Better Experiences & Outcomes for Students  Washington, D.C.