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USF announces College of Adult Learning

Statement as issued Thursday by the university:

March 21, 2013 FORT WAYNE, Ind.—The University of Saint Francis (USF) has announced a new College of Adult Learning and vice president of adult learning to lead it.

USF has launched the College of Adult Learning to make expanded education accessible for working professionals. Through flexible scheduling and accelerated options, the College of Adult Learning offers undergraduate and graduate degrees designed to make advanced education more attainable for adults already engaged in the multiple facets of life — jobs, families and community and professional commitments.

With its orientation toward adult learners, it includes a Virtual Campus that houses 100 percent online programs to provide the convenience and quality working professionals need. The USF graduate school and learning site outside of Fort Wayne will also report through the College of Adult Learning.

Jobs are predicted in robust and growing business sectors in Indiana’s economy. The Indiana Bureau of Workforce Development has developed a list of top 50 currently in-demand educated professionals to fill those needs. Desired graduates with bachelor degrees or higher fall into a number industries including business, healthcare, education, counseling and other social services.

Through its tradition of academically rigorous healthcare, business, social work, science and psychology education, the University of Saint Francis has produced well-prepared graduates for such employment niches for many years. The College of Adult Learning will continue that history, in a structure that benefits working professionals.

New Vice President for Adult Learning, Toni Steffensen Pauls, Ph.D., will oversee and develop USF College of Adult Learning programs and services to educate adult students for these and other opportunities.

Pauls brings a broad range of experience to her new position at USF. For the past six years, she was associate vice president of academics and dean of the adult degree program at Warner Pacific College in Portland, Ore., where adult degree program enrollment increased by 300 percent, five new learning sites were opened and numerous programs added under her leadership.

Before that, she served for six years as chief operations officer for Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Ohio, and another four years as director of adult programs and assistant professor of business for Goshen College in Goshen, Ind.

She has taught numerous management, organizational behavior and business courses and developed and taught a range of online courses.

Pauls earned a doctorate in organizational leadership at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Va. in 2005 and a master degree in organizational behavior at California School of Professional Psychology in Fresno, Calif. in 1995. She completed a bachelor degree in business management and marketing at Fresno Pacific University, graduating magna cum laude in 1992.

She has a long history of voluntarism and belongs to numerous professional organizations. She served in Uzbekistan with Medical Teams International in 2010 and in Goshen, Ind. as chair of the Finance and Marketing Committee for the Middlebury unit of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Goshen from 2001-2006. During that time, the committee raised $1 million to start up a new unit and $3.1million to build a permanent facility. She also raised $750,000 as a member of a fundraising team for a church capital project.

She was president of the Christian Adult Higher Education Association from 2010-2012 and has been a member of the Christian Business Faculty Association since 2007. She also serves on the Council for Christian Colleges and University’s Center for Research in Adult Learning Steering Committee, as an accreditation evaluator for the Northwest Commission of Colleges and Universities, as an advisory board member for the George Fox University Doctoral of Business Administration Program and as a member of the Global Business Leadership Center Steering Committee, the Leadership Council of the Christian Adult Higher Education Association and the Consortium of Accelerated Adult Higher Education.

“I anticipate touching and improving the lives of many working professionals through the College of Adult Learning,” Pauls said. “I envision an education environment in which students can start anywhere within the spectrum and there’s a system in place that allows them to continually advance their learning.”

“We are proud to welcome Dr. Pauls as Vice President for Adult Learning,” said USF President Sister M. Elise Kriss, OSF. “Her professional experience and demonstrated commitment to advancing education for working adults melds well with the university’s vision and goals for the College of Adult Learning.”

The University of Saint Francis, founded in 1890 as a comprehensive university in the Catholic Franciscan tradition, offers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs through the School of Health Sciences, School of Arts and Sciences, Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership, School of Professional Studies and School of Creative Arts. The university’s College of Adult Learning designs focused curriculum for working adults by offering online and accelerated programs, through its Virtual, Fort Wayne and Crown Point campuses. More than 2,300 students from a broad geographic region attend USF for its academic excellence.

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