The position is a new one for the college, and was created to bring vision and strategic leadership to a broad range of key initiatives.
"As Vice President of Strategic Initiatives, I look forward to working with different groups at the college to assess and enhance existing programs or create new ones to increase student access, enrollment and retention," said Dr. Ryan. "Because of my academic background and former work experience, I am confident we will work together for what is in the best interest of our students."
Dr. Ryan earned a Ph.D. in Community College Leadership from Old Dominion University. She holds a B.A. and M.A. in Communication from Western Illinois University and graduate hours in English from Old Dominion University. Her academic research focuses on open educational resources (OER) and academic outcomes in the community college classroom.
"I couldn't be happier that Dr. Diane Ryan is joining our YC team," said Yavapai College President Dr. Rhine. "She brings a breadth of knowledge and experience from numerous areas of the college landscape that will be key in helping us shape the future for Yavapai College and our communities that we serve."
Formerly a faculty member at Tidewater Community College in Virginia, she is currently the dean of engineering, science and mathematics. As an academic dean, she advocates for the use of open educational resources, flexible class schedules, online degrees supported with student services and robust dual enrollment programs. Dr. Ryan recruited 38 faculty members to teach with OER course materials, saving students thousands of dollars in textbook costs and retaining tuition for the college. She worked with a team to launch two online degrees and is familiar with the challenges and successes of online education. During a downturn in college enrollment she increased enrollment in the division by creating flexible class schedules, which appealed to a broader audience of students. Under her leadership dual enrollment offerings and enrollment grew by 90% in a college transfer pathway.
In 2018 she was named Administrator of the Year at Tidewater Community College. Dr. Ryan desires to move into senior administration to use her leadership skills to shape policy and practices to remove student barriers to persistence and completion. In her spare time, she practices yoga and volunteers for a local organization that provides food and shelter for people without homes.
Her move to Arizona has Dr. Ryan looking forward to immersing herself in the southwestern culture and its rich history, as well as exploring the beauty of the area and all of its associated outdoor activities.