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American Public University System Appoints Dr. Michael Cottam as Associate Provost, Academic and Faculty Services

Charles Town, WV – July 17, 2019  American Public University System (APUS) today announced the appointment of Dr. Michael Cottam as associate provost, reporting to APUS Provost Dr. Vernon Smith.

Dr. Cottam brings two decades of experience to APUS, most recently as dean and associate vice president of military campuses and online education for Webster University, where he oversaw campus administration, military agreements and state authorizations, among other areas. In his new role, he will primarily be responsible for academic processes related to the creation, design, development, and quality assurance of course and program design.

“Michael’s stellar portfolio of academic leadership experience includes assessment, quality frameworks, student retention, custom textbooks, open educational resources, adaptive learning and competency-based education,” said Dr. Smith. “I look forward to working closely with him and academics leadership to continue to infuse innovation and student engagement throughout our curriculum and, most importantly, to drive outstanding learning outcomes.”

“I am truly honored to have the opportunity to directly support and advance the academic mission and strategic vision of the university to deliver high-quality, career-relevant online education” said Dr. Cottam.  

Dr. Cottam joined Webster University in 2014 as associate vice president for academic affairs and director of the Online Learning Center, a role in which he oversaw a two-year Online Learning Consortium Quality Scorecard initiative resulting in improved student performance for those enrolled in blended learning programs. He previously served in 2012 as the founding dean of instruction for Portmont College at Mount St. Mary’s College in Denver while employed by the MyCollege Foundation, non-profit organization designed to extend access to underserved populations.  The new college successfully launched its first cohort of students in January 2014, less than two years after its inception.

Dr. Cottam previously spent more than 12 years teaching and developing curriculum, courses and programs for Rio Salado College, helping it to grow into the largest online community college in the country. He advanced online learning in the foreign languages department, implementing new technologies and improving faculty skills, and established the Instructional Design Services department of the college as its first director, extending improvements in technologies, multimedia learning, course design processes and faculty development to the entire college. Later, as associate dean, he researched and established new programs of study while continuing to lead grant projects, technology initiatives, and collaborations with other colleges across the country.

Dr. Cottam received his bachelor’s degree in Spanish, a master’s degree in Spanish Applied Linguistics, and a doctoral degree in Educational Technology, all from Arizona State University in Tempe.

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About American Public University System

American Public University System, recipient of the Online Learning Consortium's (OLC) Gomory Award for Quality Online Education and five-time recipient of OLC's Effective Practice Award, offers more than 200 online degree and certificate programs through American Military University and American Public University.  More than 80,000 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