Scott D. 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.
Podcasts and radio.
- Online learning in the time of COVID-19 Lessons Earned Podcast, 5/2020
- Disruption, Leadership in Crisis, and Re-Imagining the Promise of Higher Education The EdUp Experience Podcast, 4/26/2020
- Is coronavirus the catalyst higher ed needed for transformation? EdScoop Radio Podcast, 4/2/2020
- The Worth of a College Degree BYU Radio, The Lisa Show, 3/11/2020
- High-quality education doesn’t have to mean small and selective Future U Podcast, 2/19/2019
- Scott Pulsipher: Disruptive Leadership in Higher Education Disrupt Yourself Podcast, 11/2/2017
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
- Can Data Tell If Higher Ed Is Delivering on Its Promise? The promise of higher education is opportunity -- a fulfilling career, increased wellbeing, greater earning potential -- and ultimately social mobility and a better life. When fulfilled, this promise extends beyond the individual to families, elevating potential and impact for generations to come.
- Now, more than ever, student-focused education is critical The coronavirus pandemic is highlighting the innovations that have been desperately needed in higher education all along.
President Pulsipher is a regular contributor to Forbes:
What Alexander Hamilton Taught Us About Learning, July 10, 2020
Covid-19 Accelerates 3 Disruptive Trends Facing Higher Education, July 8, 2020
Forget Bitcoin—Skills Are The Currency Of The Future, June 26, 2020
Beyond Zoom U: The Online Learning Experience Students Want, June 23, 2020
A Bridge Over The Digital Divide – The Infrastructure Project For Education Access, June 8, 2020
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
National Conference of State Legislatures, 2019-08-20
With increasing numbers of nontraditional and adult learners seeking postsecondary credentials and degrees, institutions are continuing to develop new approaches and strategies to promote student success.
Harvard Business School, 2019-07-03
Scott talks about the innovative practices and involvement of employers, which allows WGU to deliver on its mission. He also discusses recent efforts to expand access even further by offering crucial support services to those close to the college-readiness gap.
Gallup Education, 2019-05-13
The promise of higher education is opportunity -- a fulfilling career, increased wellbeing, greater earning potential -- and ultimately social mobility and a better life. When fulfilled, this promise extends beyond the individual to families, elevating potential and impact for generations to come.
But how do higher education leaders know if we are delivering on this promise?
Thrive Global, 2019-04-29
Adam: What is something about you that would surprise people?
Scott: Surprise people? – that’s a tough question, given that I don’t find many things about me too surprising. Maybe, some simple things like that I speak Polish, or that I’ve lived in 14 cities, eight different states, and three foreign countries. Given my current role, though, maybe more notable is that my work experience prior to joining WGU in 2016 was with tech organizations like Amazon that focus on creating great experiences for customers.
Older articles of note.
- WGU Establishes Scholarship Opportunities for Argosy Transfer Students Diverse Issues in Higher Education, 2019-03-26
- Can Education Innovate to Meet Student Needs? Deseret News, 2019-03-19
- Redefining the Higher Education Model Business Innovation Factory, 2018-02-21
- Competency-Based Education, Put to the Test Education Next, 2017-09-01
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.