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Dr. John Ebersole

Dr. John Ebersole

Hall of Fame Class of 2015

Dr. John Ebersole is among the most distinguished advocates for the adult and lifelong learner in the United States and abroad. As president and chief executive officer of Excelsior College, he leads a regionally accredited, private, nonprofit institution of more than 40,000 students with graduate and undergraduate degree programs focused solely on the adult learner. He is an international leader in prior learning assessment, degree completion methodologies, and the use of technology in the delivery of instruction. Under his tutelage, Excelsior College offers a full menu of online instruction and has grown its associate degree program in nursing to become the world’s largest with 18,000 students enrolled. During his tenure, Excelsior launched a Virtual Veteran’s Center, which provides free access to various forms of counseling and education support for all veterans. 

Ebersole’s previous academic roles have included associate provost and dean of Extended Learning at Boston University, associate provost and visiting professor of management at Colorado State University, and assistant dean and director, Strategic Initiatives, at the University of California Extension, Berkeley. Prior to his exemplary career in higher education, he served with the U.S. Coast Guard in various roles.

As a scholar, much of Ebersole’s thinking regarding adult learning is contained in Courageous Learning, a book he co-authored with William Patrick.  As a practitioner, his efforts have focused on finding credible alternatives for adult and continuing education students to use toward completing their degree programs. As a policymaker, he serves as an active leader of the President’s Forum, a national network of online and adult-serving institutions of higher education, actively engaged in advocacy issues and public policy development (with support from both the Lumina Foundation and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation). He has provided testimony before the U.S. Department of Education regarding President Obama’s College Value and Affordability initiative; was a presenter to Congressional Caucus on eLearning; provided testimony before U.S. Department of Education on Negotiated Rule Making; and provided testimony before the House Committee on Higher Education, U.S. Congress, Washington, D.C. 

Ebersole was the recipient of the Sandler Fellowship in Education at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, where he conducted research on factors that facilitate and impede the acceptance of innovation in higher education. 

Ebersole currently serves as a member on several groups, among them: the Task Force on Workforce Development for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation, the Steering Committee for Boston’s Higher Education Innovation Council, and the student coaching company Inside Track. He is founding chair of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association’s Global Associates Knowledge Network, member of the board of the New York Commission on Independent Colleges and Universities, and chair of the American Association of Community Colleges Corporate Council.