Repost – Academic Leadership: 3 C’s to Ensure Success in the Classroom

On September 25th we’re gathering a panel of experts to talk about their institution’s approach to student success at InnovateEDU 2014. The following is an entry written by Dr. Connie Johnson, one of our partners who serves at Colorado Technical University’s Chief Academic Officer and Provost. Her post originally appeared as part of a series on the PlattForm blog to give a preview of what’s to come. We hope to see you there!

Seelio Partner Panelists at InnovatEDU


Academic Leadership: 3 C’s to Ensure Success in the Classroom 
By: Dr. Connie Johnson

Most people share their challenges, yet few give as much attention to their success. Of course, we can grow and learn from challenges, but there is just as much growth and learning available when we examine our success.

Annually, the American Council on Education conducts its Chief Academic Officer (CAO) program which I was honored to participate in. The event drew academic administrators and faculty from institutions around the country, representing traditional four-year universities, community colleges and private institutions. These leaders came together to discuss academic success, and more important, the actions and behaviors that led to that success. It was certainly a fun, lively and engaging conversation!

After the event, I couldn’t help but wonder: Where is CTU seeing success in classrooms – both online and ground? What actions and behaviors enabled that success?

I posed these questions at a meeting with CTU’s academic and student affairs leaders. What ensued was yet another lively conversation that resulted in the following factors that contributed to our success with students, faculty and colleagues:

  • Community: CTU is known for its community of collaboration, communication and feedback by and between students, faculty and staff. The statement, “It takes a village…” isn’t just a cliché phrase here. Rather, it’s a team-based belief that underlies everything we do at CTU.
  • Clarity: If you’ve ever driven or walked in the fog, you know the uncertainty that sits in the pit of your stomach. We never want that feeling to happen at CTU. That’s why we set clear goals that tie to a unifying vision. This vision starts with leadership and engages everyone from students to staff members. It’s with this intentionality and focus that we are able to make strong decisions that produce successful results.
  • Creativity: One thing we know for certain: close-minded and autocratic styles do not work when it comes to academic life. Students and faculty are inherently creative, problem-solving beings who thrive in the openness and possibility we provide at CTU. It’s this level of creativity that drives success in the classrooms, and eventually in the workplaces where our students flourish.

As we continue to explore exciting and innovative ways to approach education, let’s enjoy, share and grow these moments into more success.

Interested in hearing more from Dr. Johnson?  Register now for this premier event for education leaders, held September 23-25 in downtown Kansas City.


Dr. Connie Johnson is Colorado Technical University’s (CTU) Chief Academic Officer and Provost, working with both online and ground degree programs. She has oversight of academic and student affairs, including faculty, curriculum, student advising, registrar’s office, prior learning assessment and learning center. Connie has served in higher education for 20 years with extensive experience in teaching, administration, regional accreditation, curriculum implementation, and faculty training and development. She is a trained peer evaluator for the Higher Learning Commission, is participating in the ACE Chief Academic Officer program, and is a member of the CTU Board of Trustees.