Member Spotlight

Member Spotlight: WGU Ohio

October 10th, 2019

Member Spotlight by Rebecca Watts, Chancellor 

Provide us with a brief summary of your business’ services.
WGU Ohio is a state-endorsed, accredited, online, competency-based, nonprofit university offering high-quality, affordable degree programs for working adults in the state. To do this, we work with employers who identify the knowledge and skills that are critical to their ongoing success. WGU Ohio seeks input, advice, and counsel from Ohio employers to inform our ongoing program development and array of offerings. Through our competency-based approach, students progress through courses as soon as they can prove they’ve mastered the material, rather than advancing only when the semester or term ends. This benefits our students as well as the timely needs of their current or future employers.

Tell us about your company’s mission and values.
The mission of WGU Ohio is to expand access to affordable higher education for Ohio residents through online, competency-based degree programs that address key workforce needs.

WGU’s Leadership Principles are: student obsession; innovation; learning; inspiration and development; urgency; courage; ownership; delivery of results; integrity; and earned trust.

What are the services you use the most (or are looking forward to using) from the Columbus Chamber?
We look forward to opportunities to network with other Chamber members to learn about the ongoing educational needs of their incumbent employees and future talent pipeline.

How do you stay engaged with trends that you see in your industry?
WGU is at the forefront of innovation in postsecondary education. The 19 governors who founded WGU in 1997 knew that the adult learner of the 21st century would be very different from students in the past. For millions of working adults, the dream of pursuing a college education could only become a reality once the boundaries of time and place could be removed. Overcoming this challenge was at the heart of the WGU idea. Harnessing the power of technology and our innovative new learning model—competency-based education—WGU revolutionized the way students learn, master concepts, and progress to a degree.

WGU is engaged with other educational innovators, including the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) and the Clayton Christensen Institute.

WGU President Scott Pulsipher was recently appointed to serve on the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The Advisory Board, co-chaired by United States Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump, will collaborate with the National Council for the American Worker to develop strategies that will better align education with 21st century workforce needs.

What is your company culture like?
As indicated by WGU’s Leadership Principles, WGU Ohio is student-obsessed, fosters and rewards innovation, and is committed to earning and sustain trust from our students and partners.

What does it take to be a successful employee at your company?
To be a successful WGU Ohio employee requires a commitment to student success and a passion to engage with, listen to, and respond to the input and advice of employers and industry leaders.

What makes Columbus such a great place to do business?
Columbus has a positive energy and culture that embrace innovation, risk-taking, and collaboration. It is a great place to live and work.

What pieces of advice have you found to be the most helpful since starting your career?
Early in my career I was advised that on a daily basis I should consciously reflect on those I am working for and supporting. For me those people include the direct and indirect recipients of the services we provide, the people on my team, and my organizational leaders.

How do you achieve a work/life balance?
I achieve a work/life balance by integrating my work into my life and vice versa. Because I so fervently believe in the work I do, it is a fundamental part of who I am.

Where is your favorite place to have a meeting outside the office?
My favorite meeting place is at a partner site. To truly understand the needs of employers and their workforce, it is very helpful to be able to experience their setting and their culture. 

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