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Lessons Earned Podcast

Season 2: Episode 4

Scott Pulsipher

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Western Governors University began as a bold experiment to create a completely online university—a place where learning is self-paced and the institution’s value is measured not by the profiles of its incoming freshmen, but the career success of its graduates. As the COVID-19 pandemic forces colleges and universities across the country into a virtual learning environment, we talk to Scott Pulsipher, president of the nation’s largest online competency-based university.

About Scott Pulsipher

Scott Pulsipher has served as president of nonprofit Western Governors University, the nation’s first and largest competency-based university, since April 2016. He leads all academic, operational, and organizational functions as WGU’s president.

Pulsipher blends a personal drive for making a difference in the lives of individuals and families through education and a passion for technology-powered innovation. At WGU, he is focused on rapidly advancing curriculum quality, new faculty models, data-driven learning, and a different cost model.

Under Pulsipher’s leadership, WGU has expanded to serve more than 120,000 students from across the United States. The university has been named one of Fast Company’s 50 Most Innovative Companies and earned the #1 NCTQ Teacher Prep Ranking and a Center of Excellence for Nursing Education recognition from the National League of Nursing. More than 170,000 WGU graduates are now working across every major industry.

In 2019, Pulsipher was selected by the U.S. Department of Commerce among a group of 25 U.S. governors, Fortune 500 CEOs, and education and workforce leaders to serve on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. Recently, he was named one of the Top 100 Influencers in Edtech by EdTech Digest.

Before coming to WGU, Pulsipher had more than 20 years of leadership experience in 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.

Pulsipher earned a bachelor’s degree in management at Brigham Young University and an MBA at Harvard University.

More About Scott’s Work

WGU President: Secret to Online Learning Is Putting Students at the Center

Tips From The Top: One On One With Scott Pulsipher, President of Western Governors University — Thrive Global

WGU President Scott Pulsipher on Bringing Customer-Centric Culture to Universities — EdSurge

Season 2, Episode 4 Transcript: Download

Hosts

Ben Wildavsky

Senior Vice President, National Engagement

Strada Education Network

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Andrew Hanson

Director of Research

Strada Education Network

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