Cunningham named vice president and interim CEO of UMassOnline
Former deputy provost and longtime faculty member John Cunningham has been named vice president for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and International Relations and interim chief executive officer of UMassOnline by President Robert L. Caret.
Cunningham served for the past year as associate vice president for Academic Affairs, Student Affairs and International Relations. At UMassOnline, Cunningham will be filling the post held by Ken Udas, who recently joined the private higher education sector.
As interim CEO, Cunningham reports to Caret, who said Cunningham’s chief priority will be to complete a process of operational review of UMassOnline to fine tune the unit’s plan to continue advancing its competitive position and leveraging its strategic advantages in an increasingly competitive and changing marketplace.
A faculty member in Nutrition since 1986, Cunningham was the principal investigator on three U.S. Department of Agriculture education grants during the 1990s The grant involved incorporating computer-mediated telecommunications in instruction, developing an Internet “bulletin board” for nutrition education and the Interactive Distance Education and Access (IDEA) Leadership Project. He also served as deputy provost for more than a decade, working with the academic deans and the Faculty Senate, and supervising the directors of campus-wide undergraduate academic support units to ensure the quality and availability of the general education program. In addition, he oversaw the Division of Continuing and Professional Education and the University Without Walls, units with substantial online portfolios delivered through UMassOnline.
“John is an ideal fit for this transitional role while we conduct a national search for a permanent CEO,” said Caret. “He has both a broad and deep understanding of the UMass system. He brings a strong faculty perspective as well as a proven understanding of executive leadership responsibilities and demands at the University. He has had hands-on experience with our Continuing Education initiatives at our flagship campus. And, he was innovating successful online learning solutions long before many anticipated their broad use in higher education today.”
Cunningham serves as the editor-in-chief of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition and is a fellow of the college. In 2007, he was appointed by Gov. Patrick to serve on the Massachusetts Public Health Council.