New Dean of the Division of Continuing Education

June 18, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

It is with great excitement that I write to announce that Dr. Nancy Coleman has been named the next Dean of the Division of Continuing Education. She will assume the role on July 13, 2020. 

Nancy is an accomplished and nationally recognized leader in professional, continuing, and online learning who leads with a passion for student success and a deep commitment to expanding access and opportunities for non-traditional learners from all backgrounds. With professional experience that spans traditional higher education, corporate, and start-up ventures, she brings to the deanship an expansive view of the continuing education landscape and emerging trends and opportunities for online learning. She’s a firm believer in the value of lifelong learning and a steadfast advocate for technology-enabled pedagogical innovation to enhance student learning and success. Throughout her career she has prioritized building collaborative relationships as the foundation for launching innovative, mission-aligned academic programs that support both the ambitions of the faculty and institutional revenue generation goals. Nancy is joining Harvard at a moment when advancing creative and sophisticated models of online learning is mission critical. I’m delighted to have her as a partner as we imagine the future of both DCE and the FAS as we adapt our teaching and learning in a post COVID-19 world. 

Nancy joins Harvard from Wellesley College where she served as Associate Provost and Director of Strategic Growth Initiatives and led an era of innovation for Wellesley Extended, a unit that encompasses summer programs, online learning, and professional education. Upon her arrival in 2016, she had primary responsibility for building this new unit from the ground up, with the goal of creating and implementing academically rigorous educational programs consistent with the College’s liberal arts mission. Under her leadership, Wellesley expanded their summer offerings to engage new learners, developed and delivered their first fully online credit-bearing courses, launched a compelling new executive education program for professional women, as well as an innovative Contemporary Women’s Leadership Institute for undergraduates. Prior to joining Wellesley, she served as Vice President of Global Academic Services at Keypath Education, where she established and grew the academic services unit, offering online program development, instructional design, and student and faculty support services to universities across the US, UK, and Australia. She also served previously as Director of Distance Education at Boston University, overseeing the design and implementation of all online degrees and certificates across the university, leading the department to receive several prestigious national awards including the Online Learing Consortium Excellence in Institution-Wide Online Education award and the United States Distance Learning Association Best Practices award. 

A highly respected and engaged national thought-leader on issues of continuing and online education, Nancy is currently serving on the Board of UPCEA (University Professional and Continuing Education Association) and is President-Elect for 2020-2021. Nancy holds an Ed.D. in Human and Organizational Learning from George Washington University, where her dissertation explored leadership behaviors in online learning units. She also holds an MBA from Boston University Questrom School of Management, and a B.S. in Marketing from Stonehill College.

Throughout her career, Nancy has proven herself to be strategic, thoughtful, and forward-thinking in her approach to continuing and online education, with a keen appreciation for and understanding of the intellectual aims of a liberal arts education. She’s been an effective champion for the modern, non-traditional learner and the value of technology-enabled learning solutions to expand educational opportunities and increase faculty-driven innovation. Her deep commitment to transforming the next generation of learning for part-time, non-traditional students is reflected in her remarkable track record of successful and creative program building. She joins the FAS poised to advance DCE’s mission of extending Harvard to part-time learners with the academic ability, curiosity, and drive to succeed in rigorous courses and programs.

I am profoundly grateful to the members of the search advisory committee, Gary King, Alison Simmons, Joe Blitzstein, Anne Margulies, Bharat Anand, and Leslie Kirwan, who, together with our search consultants from Storbeck Search & Associates, worked diligently to identify and review an outstanding pool of candidates. And, of course, I am grateful to Henry Leitner, for his leadership and distinguished service as Interim Dean of DCE. 

This is an exciting moment for the future of DCE. Even as we enter a time of significant challenge, Nancy will be an energetic builder and connecter, deepening ties between DCE and the rest of the FAS and committed to a transformative experience for all our students. I look forward to partnering with her to ensure the continued success and vibrancy of all DCE’s academic programs.