March 3, 2009
CEDAR CITY, UTAH – The George Wythe Foundation Board of Trustees voted unanimously on Friday to restructure the operations and administration of George Wythe University to a more efficient model designed to expand its impact in the Information Age.
The Board’s strategic plan involves dramatically enriching and expanding off-campus programs with live internet teleconferencing, delivering a virtual classroom experience anywhere in the world. This will significantly reduce costs for students living away from the Cedar City campus, while on-campus and extension programs will remain for those who prefer traditional classes.
“Technological advances are transforming the way we interact and revolutionizing education across the globe,” said university founder Oliver DeMille. “Our mission of building statesmen is no longer restricted by geographic boundaries. This is a very exciting time for us.”
DeMille cited the need for greater efficiency in the current economy as the reason for the change. Since the move toward virtual classrooms places greater focus on teaching while reducing administrative needs, the organizational model was streamlined accordingly.
In place of the previous chancellor model with separate administrative and academic heads, the university now designates a single president as both top administrator and academician. This position will be filled by Andrew Groft, former Provost and President of the Cedar City Campus. DeMille will continue as Vice Chair of the Board, and will offer his leadership more extensively in academics by focusing on teaching while directing the masters and doctoral programs. Shanon Brooks has accepted a Board assignment to lead efforts in recruiting and Resource Development, departments critical to the university’s success during the economic downturn. He will also oversee campus development beyond Cedar City.
“With the current economic crisis arriving in the Information Age, we’re fortunate to be agile enough to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities,” said Board Chair Diann Jeppson. “A robust online program in addition to a tighter, leaner administration will be critical in allowing GWU to rise to the forefront and lead out in the new frontier. We plan to be on the cutting edge.”
Brooks’ enthusiasm for expanding the reach of the school was clear. “While the world goes high-tech, attracting donors, supporters and students will always remain a high-touch process.”
Jeppson agreed, “Shanon’s role as an ambassador will be more essential to our mission than ever before. We’ll reach into places we didn’t think we’d touch for decades.”
“I’m surprised how quickly we’ve been able to adapt to the times as a team,” said Groft. I’m especially grateful to be working with so many committed and talented people who sacrifice so much.”
DeMille was particularly excited about the new direction of the university. “Andy has proven his commitment and leadership ability. He is taking GWU in positive new directions and will continue to make changes that are needed while preserving the university’s core mission. His vision and creation of the emerging online programs will unleash the potential for truly global educational leadership, and will greatly improve the university’s purpose, focus and direction into the months and years ahead.”
The efficiency of the new model is expected to result in cost savings that can be passed on to students. Details on the new course offerings and their pricing will be announced in the upcoming weeks.