Carolyn M. Callaghan, dean of professional, continuing and distance education at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania, has been named executive director of educational outreach at Western Carolina University.
The appointment, announced recently by WCU Interim Provost Richard Starnes, is effective July 1. Callaghan will be filling a vacancy created by the retirement of Susan Fouts, who had overseen WCU’s educational outreach programs since July 2013.
Callaghan has led professional, continuing and distance programs at Shippensburg since May 2016, also previously serving as the university’s associate dean and assistant dean of professional, continuing and distance education. She first arrived at Shippensburg in November 2005 as coordinator of off-campus programs.
Her appointment concludes a national search that attracted a strong field of candidates, Starnes said.
“Carolyn is an accomplished leader in her field and received very strong feedback across all constituencies,” he said. “I am excited that she will be joining us to help further the mission of the Division of Educational Outreach and WCU. She is a great addition to a dedicated and talented staff, and I very much look forward to working with her.”
Prior to joining Shippensburg University, Callaghan held positions at the Medical Career Institute in Newport News, Virginia, and at the College of William and Mary and Illinois Wesleyan University. She holds a doctorate of adult education from the Pennsylvania State University, a master’s degree in college student personnel from Illinois State University and a bachelor’s degree in history and social sciences, also from Illinois State.
At WCU, Callaghan will oversee the university’s distance and online programs, as well as noncredit activities including camps, conferences, professional development and continuing education programs. The Division of Educational Outreach also collaborates with community colleges, area nonprofits, businesses and governmental entities to create programs toward professional credentialing.
“Even now in a time of great disruption, I see the role of the executive director of Educational Outreach as a great opportunity to serve a pivotal leadership role in the regional and global restart. I have every confidence that the important and varied portfolio in Educational Outreach will elevate and provide strategic and positive growth for WCU,” Callaghan said.
“Western Carolina University possesses the great reputation of a leading public regional institution. The region offers immense beauty and local hospitality. I knew after I met the search committee, the amazing Educational Outreach team and other members of the Western Carolina University community, I was in the presence of innovative and dedicated professionals in a unique and special place,” she said.
Filling the executive director position proved challenging, even with a national search, because of the breadth of academic areas that the Division of Educational Outreach covers, said Kevan Frazier, executive director of WCU programs in Asheville, who chaired the search committee.
“Dr. Callaghan, however, comes to the position with an extraordinary depth of experience in the many fields covered by the division,” Frazier said. “Likewise, the committee was impressed by her keen understanding of national trends and her vision for the future. The work of the Division of Education Outreach is at the cutting edge of higher education, and Dr. Callaghan is the right leader to move WCU forward.”