The University of Arizona Global Campus Approved by Accreditor; Board Appointed

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The University of Arizona Global Campus will serve approximately 35,000 students with more than 50 online associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs.

The University of Arizona today announced approval by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) of Ashford University's application for a change of ownership. This approval allows for the acquisition of Ashford University from Zovio Inc. by The University of Arizona Global Campus, an Arizona nonprofit corporation. At the completion of the transaction, Ashford will become The University of Arizona Global Campus (Global Campus). The transaction is expected to be finalized in early December.

"We are grateful for the trust and confidence the WASC Commission and their staff are placing in Global Campus by issuing approval of the change in control from Ashford University to Global Campus," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We appreciate the hard work this commission and their staff have put into considering the transaction. Now, the responsibility of making the Global Campus accessible and equitable to students is upon the leadership of the new board of directors."

Ashford University is a well-established and accredited online university and The University of Arizona Global Campus will continue to serve Ashford's approximately 35,000 students with more than 50 associate, bachelor's, master's and doctoral degree programs. While Global Campus will be operated in affiliation with the University of Arizona, it will remain an independent institution accredited by WSCUC and governed by its own independent board of directors. Under its direction, Ashford faculty and staff will continue to offer the university’s programs without interruption as they now become faculty and staff of Global Campus.

Paul Pastorek is leading the transition efforts for The University of Arizona Global Campus as interim president. Pastorek is an attorney who is known for setting high academic standards for schools at the state and district levels. He is an outspoken advocate for quality education and has testified before the U.S. Department of Education. Most recently, Pastorek was acting chief operating officer and chief financial officer for Loyola University in New Orleans.

"Paul Pastorek is well-regarded and well-known in education circles and is the right leader at the helm for the launch of Global Campus," Robbins said. "He has added significant value to make this online university the right choice for students to pursue their dreams of higher education and earn advanced degrees. His No. 1 goal is to prove Global Campus can serve these students and their online education needs."

Additionally, Global Campus named nine members of the inaugural board of directors who are leaders in higher education, industry, military, and legal and public policy.

Nine Members Named as Directors

The following people have been named as The University of Arizona Global Campus Board of Directors, including three members appointed by the University of Arizona, one member appointed by the University of Arizona Foundation and five independent members:

Lehman Benson III (UArizona Appointee)
President’s Cabinet, University of Arizona

Benson is co-chair of Pillar Three of the University of Arizona Strategic Plan and co-chair of the Eller College of Management's Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee. Benson is also the McClelland Fellow of Management and Organizations at the Eller College, and he specializes in research related to judgment and decision-making, organizational justice, and diversity, equity and inclusion.

Gail Burd (UArizona Appointee)
Senior Vice Provost of Academic Affairs, Teaching and Learning, University of Arizona

Burd is the senior vice provost of academic affairs, teaching and learning at the University of Arizona, where she works with campus leaders on programs that advance the academic mission of the university. She is also a Distinguished Professor in molecular and cellular biology. She has served on numerous government panels for the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation.

Marc L. Miller (University of Arizona Foundation Appointee)
Dean, University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law

Miller is the dean and Ralph W. Bilby Professor at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. He specializes in environmental law and policy and criminal law and policy and has authored several books and more than 70 articles and essays on environmental, criminal justice, constitutional, immigration and legal theory topics.

Gary Packard (UArizona Appointee)
Dean, University of Arizona College of Applied Science and Technology

Packard is a retired brigadier general and serves as dean for the University of Arizona College of Applied Science and Technology. Prior to joining the university, Packard was a vice dean at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs and most recently served with the academy’s foundation to establish the Institute for Future Conflict, focused on cutting-edge academics, research and training to prepare cadets for 21st century national defense.

Kerri Briggs (Independent Appointee)
Partner, Cicero Group

Briggs is a partner in Cicero Group, a data-driven management consulting firm, where she is a member of the Social Impact practice area working with mission-driven organizations and educational institutions to measure, evaluate and implement strategies that realize change and improve outcomes. She previously served as founding director of education reform for the George W. Bush Institute, state superintendent for Washington, D.C., assistant secretary in the U.S. Department of Education Office of Elementary and Secondary Education and, most recently, education program and policy officer for ExxonMobil.

Nivine Megahed (Independent Appointee)
President, National Louis University

Megahed is a clinical psychologist by training and has more than 30 years of experience making higher education more accessible. A champion of students, she has overseen multiple colleges, universities and other organizations where she has been an innovator spearheading the development of new educational models and an operator focused on educational quality and student success.

Sean O’Keefe (Independent Appointee)
Professor, Syracuse University

O’Keefe serves on the faculty of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs as the Howard and Louise Phanstiel endowed chair in strategic management and leadership. Previously, O’Keefe was chairman and chief executive officer of Airbus Group Inc., the U.S.-based subsidiary of the global Airbus SE aerospace corporation, following his tenure as chancellor of Louisiana State University and service in previous presidential administrations, including appointments as secretary of the Navy and NASA administrator.

Ty Smith (Independent Appointee)
Founder and CEO, CommSafe AI

Smith founded CommSafe AI, a technology company specializing in disrupting emerging threats of workplace conflict and violence in real time. He is a retired United States Navy SEAL senior chief who earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Ashford University and then a Master of Business for Veterans from the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.

Omar Vasquez (Independent Appointee)
Corporate Counsel, Vulcan

Vasquez is in-house counsel at Vulcan, the family office of the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Having served six years as a Teach for America high school calculus teacher prior to attending law school at the University of Arizona, Omar continues his deep civic commitment to education, most recently by founding an annual Pre-Law Diversity Summer Conference, which grants fully paid LSAT prep courses to promising undergraduate students.

The inaugural board is responsible for oversight of all aspects of Global Campus academic programs and operations, and will have authorities and duties consistent with applicable legal, regulatory and accreditation standards.

About The University of Arizona Global Campus

The University of Arizona Global Campus is an independent nonprofit Arizona corporation that will provide access to affordable high-quality higher education with flexible opportunities for students from diverse backgrounds seeking to achieve their educational and life goals. Global Campus will build on Ashford University’s promise of high-quality online learning, access and inclusivity and the University of Arizona's mission as a land-grant institution focused on student success. For more information, visit

About Ashford University

Ashford University is accredited by the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) and is one of the nation's most innovative online universities with approximately 35,000 students. Ashford is designed to meet the needs of working adults students, offering programs most often sought by those whose primary educational goals relate to developing professional and career-related competencies.. Ashford University ranks No. 2 in the U.S. with 318 Quality Matters (QM) certified courses and has more than 50 degrees at the associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral levels. For more information, please visit, or

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