California’s Online Community College Chooses Its Leader

Inside Higher Ed

Heather Hiles, an entrepreneur and Gates Foundation alum, will lead the new institution, launching this fall with competency-based certificate programs for the state’s adults.

California’s new online community college has made a key hire, pending approval today from the institution’s Board of Trustees. Heather Hiles, an entrepreneur who has led companies that support technology and access initiatives at higher education institutions, will serve as chief executive officer of the new institution, set to begin this fall.

More than 20 people applied last fall for the CEO role — a mix of “traditional higher education folks” and “individuals from a tech background and the start-up world,” according to Eloy Ortiz Oakley, chancellor of California’s community college system. The search team last month selected Hiles after interviewing 10 candidates. The California Community Colleges Board of Governors, which also serves as the new institution’s Board of Trustees, will vote on her today.

The tasks ahead for Hiles, who wasn’t available for an interview in time for publication, are formidable and will be heavily scrutinized. Former California governor Jerry Brown last year set aside $100 million in start-up costs and an annual… (continue reading)