PHOENIX--(BUSINESS WIRE)--George A. Burnett has been selected to lead University of Phoenix as president, effective Tues., Feb. 1, 2022. Burnett will succeed Peter Cohen, who has been president of the university since 2017. Cohen will become president emeritus, moving into an advisory role to the university's board of trustees and senior leadership after nearly five years with the university.
"I'm thrilled George will succeed me in leading this great institution," said Cohen. "He is the right leader at the right time in University of Phoenix's ongoing evolution as an institution that is keenly focused and committed to helping working adults enhance their careers, and lives, through education and career skills building necessary to succeed in today's ever-changing workplace."
Burnett joins the University of Phoenix at a pivotal time as the landscape of higher education has changed dramatically due to the COVID-19 pandemic and is poised for even more evolution as the workplace is also changing, and employees and employers are at a crossroads, as evidenced by the Great Resignation among other indicators. As a mission-driven, higher education institution, focused on its purpose of helping working adults, mostly first-generation, acquire a higher education and career skills to help them enhance their careers and futures, University of Phoenix is evolving and innovating to help its students succeed in this rapidly changing work and higher education environment.
A former university president, as well as business leader, Burnett is well-suited to lead the university into the future: "I am excited to be joining University of Phoenix at this important time in its history. I am so impressed with what the university has accomplished over the last 4.5 years under President Cohen's leadership, and I am humbled by the unbelievable dedication the employees and faculty have to student success and the mission of the University. I look forward to joining this pivotal mission to serve adult learners seeking to enhance their career and professional goals."
Recently, Burnett served as executive vice chairman of Academic Partnerships, which supports public universities' online degree programs. He is also a former president and CEO of Northcentral University, a regionally accredited institution. Prior to joining Northcentral, Burnett was president and CEO of Alta Colleges. He also served as chief marketing officer for Qwest Communications International and held several executive positions with AT&T after starting his career with D’Arcy, Masius, Benton & Bowles, a global advertising agency. He also currently serves as a board observer at Universidad Europea, based in Madrid. Burnett earned his BA from Dartmouth College and returned to Dartmouth's Amos Tuck School for his MBA.
During Cohen's nearly five-year tenure, the university evolved to address the changing needs and preferences of working adult learners, even during a historic pandemic. New competency-based degree programs that recognize adult students' professional experience for credit, creating a shorter, more cost-effective path to degree, have been introduced. So have career assessments and career coaches to help students at the outset and conclusion of their higher ed journey prepare for possible career opportunities. Professional development courses are now among the university's offerings to working adults. And, the university has also placed greater emphasis and provided more resources via student support teams knowing that for the university's adult learners—of which almost 65 percent have dependents and greater than 80 percent are working—life intervenes, and students need easily accessible support, guidance and flexibility. Under Cohen's leadership, the university has also built values-based culture with a highly engaged workforce and a purpose-driven focus that is the foundation of its work to help students succeed.
About University of Phoenix
University of Phoenix is continually innovating to help working adults enhance their careers in a rapidly changing world. Flexible schedules, relevant courses, interactive learning, and Career Services for Life® help students more effectively pursue career and personal aspirations while balancing their busy lives. For more information, visit phoenix.edu.