Washington State University President Kirk Schulz has appointed Dave Cillay, vice president of WSU Academic Outreach and Innovation, as the university’s first Global Campus chancellor.

“Dave has done an outstanding job of guiding the growth of our Global Campus the past seven years,” said WSU President Kirk Schulz. “WSU is in the vanguard of U.S. universities delivering distance education, in no small part due to Dave’s vision and his expertise in developing the programing that meets the specialized needs of these students.”

WSU is among the first public universities in the nation to put its online campus into the same chancellor-level leadership structure as traditional physical campuses.

“This is a great message to students from our university leadership,” said Cillay. “It’s a strong statement that WSU supports all students, regardless of whether they learn in a physical classroom, online, or both.”

Cillay will maintain his position as vice president of Academic Outreach and Innovation while taking on the title, roles, and responsibilities as Global Campus chancellor. Continuing to focus on improving the online student experience will be key as he begins his new role.

WSU Global Campus, home to 3,265 students learning completely online as of fall semester 2019, offers 19 undergraduate majors, 12 master’s degree programs, 20 online certificate programs, and two teaching endorsements. Additionally, more than 3,000 students at one of WSU’s physical campuses enrolled in one or more online courses this fall.

Online learning is a growing trend in higher education nationwide. The National Center for Education Statistics reports that the percentage of college students who were enrolled exclusively in online courses in fall 2017 grew to 15.4 percent, from 14.7 percent in 2016. In addition, 43 percent of undergraduate students took at least one online course in the 2015-16 academic year, up from 32 percent four years earlier.

WSU has been a leader in online higher education for more than 25 years. It launched its first distance degree program in 1992 and was one of the first public universities to recognize the potential of online education. In 2019, WSU Global Campus was ranked by U.S. News & World Report in the top 5 percent of best online undergraduate programs in the nation.

“This university has been on the cutting edge when it comes to using innovative technologies to expand learning opportunities,” said Cillay. “But it’s not all about the technology. We’re also about enriching the online learning experience for our students.”

WSU was the first public university to create a student government exclusively for online students. Other programs and services created to enhance the online student experience include the Global Connections online engagement program, free career counseling, online learning virtual mentors, in-person events, and more.

“I’m proud to be a part of this university and to work with the outstanding faculty, staff and students here at Global Campus,” said Cillay. “I’m also very grateful for the opportunity to work with university leadership who fully understand the value and impact of online learning, especially as WSU looks to the future.”