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

By Connie Johnson, Ed.D., Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Connie Johnson - CAO ConferenceMost 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.

Recently, the American Council on Education ACE held its Chief Academic Officer (CAO) workshop in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 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 on 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.

It excites me to see that the success we have at CTU is in alignment with the conversations had at the ACE CAO workshop. As CTU continues to explore exciting and innovative ways to approach education, let’s enjoy these moments of success and grow from them into more success.


CTU Faculty - Connie JohnsonConnie Johnson, Ed.D., is the Chief Academic Officer/Provost working with both online and ground degree programs. Dr. Johnson is the leader of CTU Academics and Student Affairs and brings over 20 years of experience in academics. Connect with Dr. Johnson on Twitter @DrConnieJohnson.


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Image credit: Dr. Connie Johnson, CAO and Provost, with attendees at the American Council on Education CAO conference in St. Louis, Mo.


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