Associate Vice President - Office of Digital Education

Job description

The recruitment for this position is being handled by Russell Reynolds Associates. See information below on how to submit your application. Please DO NOT apply on the CU Careers site.

Associate Vice President - Office of Digital Education

The University of Colorado (“CU” or “the University”) plays a profound role in the lives of individuals, businesses and communities throughout Colorado, across the country and around the world. More than a half million alumni are leaders in business, science, the arts, health care and their communities, and they’re joined by some 15,000 more each year. CU is made up of 4 independent campuses: Boulder (“CU Boulder”), the flagship research campus; Anschutz Medical Campus (“CU Anschutz”); the premier health sciences campus; Denver (“CU Denver”), the urban serving institution; and Colorado Springs (“UCCS”), a top regional institution. The CU Boulder and UCCS campuses are separately accredited, and the CU Anschutz and CU Denver campuses are jointly accredited. Each campus has a distinct statutory role and mission. Each campus has a different mix of academic and research programs.

Digital Education is a key growth area for CU, a significant opportunity to extend the benefits of a CU education to more people, as well as an initiative to help further enable a dynamic learning experience for on-campus students. The Office of Digital Education (“ODE”) lives at the intersection of education and technology. ODE’s goal to actively engage with CU’s faculty to design, market, and deliver digital education. ODE’s mission is to improve access to education and connecting learners of all types with high-quality online degree programs and professional development opportunities – essentially, put high-quality digital learning within reach. Its goals are fourfold:


    High quality - To continuously pursue and support high-quality digital education and practices.Access - To broaden access and increase student learning and success in higher education.Partnership - To collaborate with CU faculty, schools and college leadership to provide quality online programs that help us advance inclusive 21st-century digital education.Model in Education - To enable CU’s four campuses to be widely recognized as leaders in providing innovative online education pathways and an exceptional student experience.
Because each of the campuses is responsible for its own academic programs, the Office of Digital Education is organized as an internally serving, central service center that provides a comprehensive suite of services to each University of Colorado campus and their academic units – similar in function to an online program manager (OPM). The organization is housed centrally in the CU System office. ODE is a metrics driven service provider that brings together diverse expertise and experience to provide the campuses and academic partners the best in online program support.

ODE’s current service areas include:

    Market Research, Marketing, and Advertising – assess the demand and competitive dynamics, recommend go-to-market strategies, curate messaging and presentation, generate online student inquiries.Enrollment Management – qualify all student inquiries, present the value story of CU and its programs and campuses to prospective students, provide care and support to students from application to graduation, oversee one-stop help desk and ticketing support services.Faculty and Learner Support – provide instructional design capabilities to all campuses, provide training programs around best practices of online course development and instruction, provide a suite of technology toolkits to further support faculty in the classroom, assist in gathering data to evaluate ODE metrics and provide academic unites with overall program performance metrics.
Additionally, ODE has a set of administrative capabilities including client services and project management, along with central functions such as Human Resources, Finance, Accounting and Reporting.

The Associate Vice President, Office of Digital Education (“AVP”) role will lead the organization supporting the delivery of selected online programs from across the University of Colorado System that will receive enhanced marketing, enrollment management, and faculty and learner support. This leader will enable CU to achieve its goals to reach and serve a growing population of learners in Colorado and beyond, via fully online programs.
This leader will work with the System executive team, campus leadership, academic leadership and other stakeholders to scale online learning solutions for the CU system; drive best of class marketing, enrollment and learning services to all four campuses, their faculty and their students; create centers of excellence in marketing, enrollment and learner services, and explore new ways to collaborate with faculty and academic leadership at each campus to best support online learner experiences for all campuses’ students.

This leader will be a strategic thinker able to partner with campus leaders to build and deliver a long-term strategic plan for successful online learning. The focus of this position is to develop and manage a comprehensive, sustainable organization to:

    market selected programs offered from the campuses;partner with campus units to recruit and retain students to these online programs;provide select services to campus-based online programs at their request; and,review, recommend and steward marketing investment funds into targeted online programs.
This role and the team that reports to them, while a service organization with responsibilities to System leadership, will work in partnership with the campuses, including faculty and administration to foster strong working relationships and growth in the selected online programs. The relationship between ODE and the campuses are governed by specific Service Agreements that address the enhanced services offered by ODE for selected programs, and a service model for ODE to support separately offered, campus-based online programs.

Online programs themselves are offered through the campuses, rather than through an independent online enterprise. The faculty at the campuses originate academic policy and standards related to the initiation and direction of all courses, curricula, and degree offerings. The rights, welfare and autonomy of faculty at all ranks are respected in this collaborative work.

In concert with the campus constituents, this role will develop, articulate, and expand, for select online programs, the CU Online launch strategy, go-to-market, onboarding plans and timeline for coordinated delivery of an online program portfolio that align with university-wide and campus priorities. All CU System online programs are selected in collaboration with the campuses and their colleges and units who have developed the curricula, courses, and degree offerings for these programs.In parallel to accelerating growth in select online programs for each campus, this role will continue to collaborate with each campus.

The primary responsibilities of this role include:

    Superior Delivery – Each of the services areas noted above should operate at standards considered on the high end of quality in the industry.Team Development – Assess, adjust, and carry forward a culture befitting of a high growth, goal-oriented group; establish the appropriate leadership cadence, professional development efforts and hiring standards to achieve operational and cultural goals.Budget/KPI Leadership – Review, adjust, and carry forward all necessary financial and operational measures to ensure achievement of operational goals.Leadership and Counsel – Collaborate with the senior administrators, academic leadership, and faculty from all four campuses to support campus and system efforts to provide a broad range of online programs.President’s Leadership Team – Participate in and provide advisory support to the senior leadership of the system office including, but not limited to, areas specific to online learning and best practices.Culture - Support a culture that fosters inclusivity, expands access to CU educational offerings, and promotes student and faculty success.Growth - Support a culture that fosters the ability of the University of Colorado to offer online services to populations of qualified learners, who might not otherwise be able to access traditional, on-campus learning opportunities.
The review of nominations and applications for the position will commence immediately and continue until the position is filled. All candidate information will be held in strict confidence. 

Qualified applicants should forward an electronic version (Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF files preferred) of their curriculum vitae to: [email protected] . 

Please DO NOT apply on the CU Careers site.


The ideal candidate will bring a proven track record of leadership, partnership development, and growth as related to online learning to support the expansion of CU’s online capabilities and offerings. The successful candidate must be a results-oriented individual with a passion and capability for creating world-class teams and culture, and managing high-quality operations and processes, on-time, on-budget and on-quality. Ideally, they will bring experience in offering OPM-like operations.

Characteristics of an ideal candidate include:

    Demonstrated experience and success in a strategic leadership or managerial role related to online learning, running a division of similar scope and scale in a complex, multi-stakeholder environment. Ideally this includes OPM-like operations.Strong domain expertise in continuous learning, online learning, and higher education.Extensive experience in developing or consulting related to online learning technology solutions.Experience in evaluation, assessment, and recommendation of educational technology-related products and systems.Possesses a strong ability to influence, motivate and inspire across the organization.Collaborative mindset, low-ego with a track record of results.Operational rigor and financial acumen.Experience building and scaling business.Functional expertise in go-to-market and partnership building.
The ideal candidate must possess an understanding and appreciation for the complexities of a university academic environment; the roles and relationships of faculty, staff, and students; and the diverse needs for online learning support in a comprehensive university. They will have strong interpersonal and facilitation skills to forge relationships with, and motivate others at all levels, and build trust both within and outside the University. Additionally, this new executive will be an adept listener and influencer with exceptionally high organizational EQ. Academic and administrative leaders at the campus and system levels should perceive the candidate as credible, compelling, trustworthy, persuasive, and likable. The candidate will be very comfortable leveraging relationships to move the online agenda forward using conviction and tenacity. This leader will also understand how to constructively challenge the conventional wisdom or accepted ways of doing things, by demonstrating the emotional maturity to effectively navigate the University and gain stakeholder buy-in.

In terms of the performance and personal competencies required for the position, we highlight the following:
Setting Strategy

    The ability to create and articulate an inspiring vision for ODE.The inclination to seek and analyze data from a variety of sources to support decisions and to align others with the ODE's overall strategy.An entrepreneurial and creative approach to developing new, innovative ideas that will stretch the ODE, and push the boundaries within the industry.The ability to effectively balance the desire/need for broad change with an understanding of how much change ODE is capable of handling, to create realistic goals, and to implement plans that are achievable and successful.Executing for ResultsThe ability to set clear and challenging goals while committing the organization to improved performance; tenacious and accountable in driving results.Comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty; the ability to adapt nimbly and lead others through complex situations.A risk-taker who seeks data and input from others to foresee possible threats, or unintended circumstances from decisions; someone who takes smart risks.A leader who is viewed by others as having a high degree of integrity and forethought in their approach to making decisions; the ability to act in a transparent and consistent manner while always taking into account what is best for both ODE and the constituents it serves.
Leading Teams

    The ability to attract and recruit top talent, motivate the team, delegate effectively, celebrate diversity within the team, and manage performance; widely viewed as a strong developer of others.The ability to persevere in the face of challenges and exhibit a steadfast resolve and relentless commitment to higher standards.A leader who is self-reflective and aware of their own limitations; leads by example and drives the organization's performance with an attitude of continuous improvement by being open to feedback and self-improvement.
Relationships and Influence

    Naturally connects and builds strong relationships with others, demonstrates strong emotional intelligence, and an ability to communicate clearly and persuasively.An ability to inspire trust in others through compelling influence, powerful charisma, and passion for higher education and the ability to deliver it through online learning.Encourages others to share the spotlight; visibly celebrates and supports the success of the team.Creates a sense of purpose/meaning for the team; generates a shared sense of purpose beyond their own personality and engages others to advance the mission and purpose of the organization as a whole.
Driving Sustainability

    Firmly believes that sustainability is in the organization’s best long-term interest.Integrates economic, societal, and environmental factors into a purpose-driven strategy, turning sustainability into a competitive advantage.Understands and incorporates viewpoints from all key stakeholders to drive decision making and share the benefits.Delivers breakthrough innovations and business models that create value for all stakeholders, continually challenging traditional approaches.Sets audacious business and sustainability goals, drives concerted action and investments, and stays the course in the face of setbacks or push-back from short-term oriented stakeholders.
Who we are: System Administration, which also houses the Office of the President, is located in the uptown neighborhood of Denver with a few smaller offices located on the campuses.  However, this position is located in Denver.   Many of our departments support the educational and research missions of the four University of Colorado campuses, but System Administration is not considered a campus. We provide diverse opportunities for professional development, innovation, and collaboration with talented staff and faculty.  Learn more about CU System Administration.

The University of Colorado has been proactive in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. You can visit our COVID-19 webpage for more information.

What we offer:

Salary: The salary range has been established at $250,000-$300,000 and will be commensurate with skills and experience. 

The salary of the finalist(s) selected for this role will be set based on a variety of factors, including but not limited to, internal equity, experience, education, specialty and training.

The above salary range (or hiring range) represents the University’s good faith and reasonable estimate of the range of possible compensation at the time of posting.

Benefits: The University of Colorado offers an excellent benefits package including:

  • Medical: Multiple plan options
  • Dental: Multiple plan options
  • Additional Insurance: Disability, Life, Vision and Wellness
  • Retirement 401(a) Plan: Employer contributes 10% of your gross pay
  • Paid Time Off: Accruals over the year
    • Vacation Days: 22
    • Sick Days: 15
    • Holiday Days: 10
  • Tuition Benefit: System employees have the benefit on all campuses 
  • ECO Pass: RTD Bus and light rail service
  • Additional Perks & Programs: Click here to access a few more Perks and Programs
Click here to access our Total Compensation Calculator to see what your total rewards could be at CU. This position is a University Staff position.

Additional taxable fringe benefits may be available.

More information on benefits programs, including eligibility, is available at

The recruitment for this position is being handled by Russell Reynolds Associates. Please direct all inquiries and applications to [email protected].   Please DO NOT apply on the CU Careers site.

Job Category: Executive
Primary Location: Denver
Schedule: Full-time
Posting Date: Jun 4, 2021
Unposting Date: Ongoing




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Job No:
Posted: 6/5/2021
Application Due: 8/4/2021
Work Type: Full Time