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American Public University System Marks Inauguration of Dr. Karan Powell as First Female President with Continued Focus on “Students First” and Changing the Future of Learning Outcomes

Karan Powell

Charles Town, WV, November 10, 2016American Public University System (APUS) inaugurated former Provost Dr. Karan Powell as its first female president on November 4, the capstone of week-long programs engaging students and faculty to collaboratively assess and recognize undergraduate and graduate learning outcomes. The ceremony and her remarks -- themed “Why Not Change the Future?” – coincided with APUS’s 25th anniversary celebrating its past accomplishments and opportunities to come, and drew a variety of academic, community, military, and business leaders.

Inaugural speaker Dr. John Gardner of the Gardner Institute for Excellence in Undergraduate Education noted, “As I think about the person and the institution we are honoring today, three themes strike me as most salient: Service, staying focused and building a legacy. Dr. Powell is laser-like focused on student success—it’s her mantra and the key mission for everyone who works for her.”

In addressing Dr. Gardner’s remarks, Dr. Powell also directly acknowledged students, stating that, “You are the reason we are here, our raison d’etre! We recognize that your success in life and career builds from the foundation built upon your experience and grounded in your education. We value the opportunities you provide us to learn from, and with, you. We are here for, and with, you.”

Preceding events during the week included ResearchFest 2016 and the 3 Minute Thesis (3MT®) competition, each designed to support institutional priorities focused on strengthening faculty scholarship and graduate culture. Led by Dr. Jennifer Douglas, associate dean of graduate studies, and Dr. Patricia Campbell, assistant provost of graduate studies, research and innovation, the two events were launched to promote the growth of faculty and student research at APUS and showcase the ingenuity of its graduate students.

The inaugural ResearchFest brought together 12 full- and part-time faculty from across the country and overseas selected on the basis of research proposals for a week of collaboration and workshops designed to advance their projects and strengthen their scholarly agendas. Newly-appointed Provost Dr. Vernon Smith initiated the event by offering insights into the collaborative nature of faculty/student research and the need to cultivate a network of colleagues.

Originating at the University of Queensland, Australia, 3MT® provides an opportunity for graduate students to share their research in three minutes, with one visual, to a general audience. This public speaking challenge allows participants to strengthen their communication skills while sharing their work with a broad audience. The premier 3MT® at APUS featured seven graduate students, who presented their projects virtually from their residence to a panel of faculty judges and audience of staff and administrators. Finalists Cecilia Coruja, Masters of History, and Adetanwa Thomas-Ashiru, Masters of Intelligence Studies, skillfully demonstrated how to convey complex ideas clearly and succinctly.

Follow President Powell through her new blog and APUS via social media for more information about American Public University System’s inaugural events.

About American Public University System

American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Ralph E. Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and four-time recipient of the OLC Effective Practice Award, offers more than 190 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University and American Public University. More than 65,000 alumni worldwide have benefited from APUS's relevant curriculum, affordability, and flexibility in pursuing and earning degrees in such areas as business, information technology, and security and global studies. For further information, visit

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Brian Muys

Brian Muys

Associate VP Public Relations