MADISON – David J. Ward, former senior vice president for academic affairs at the University of Wisconsin System, has been named interim director of UW System Learning Innovations.
Ward, 58, will begin his new position June 11 and lead the university’s e-learning support organization until a permanent director is hired. The current director, Michael Offerman, is leaving UW Learning Innovations in June to become president of Capella University, the world’s largest online university, based in Minneapolis.
“Dr. Ward possesses outstanding leadership skills, and I am grateful that he has agreed to take on this important assignment on an interim basis,” said UW System President Katharine Lyall. “UW Learning Innovations is a prime example of the updated Wisconsin Idea, and I continue to expect great things from this important unit of the university.”
Established in 1997 as a partnership between UW System and UW-Extension, UW Learning Innovations specializes in developing and supporting online degree and certificate programs for UW System institutions. It also provides services to other universities and non-UW clients in the e-learning arena, including course design/development, training, and learner services.
Ward retired in July 2000 after serving as UW System senior vice president for academic affairs since 1994. He previously was vice chancellor for academic affairs, deputy to the chancellor and acting chancellor at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh. He had served on the faculty at UW-Oshkosh since 1976, and had chaired UW-Oshkosh’s Department of Finance and Business Law.
Among other things, Ward is credited with spearheading development of the UW’s systemwide technology plans, including the automated library system and helping to found UW Learning Innovations.
Since retirement, Ward has been active in economic development as president of NorthStar Economics, Inc. He is particularly interested in developing the state’s New Economy and a “brain gain” strategy for Wisconsin.
His salary as interim director will be set by the UW System Board of Regents on Friday, May 11, at the board’s meeting at UW-River Falls.