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Join Our Team as President of National University

The Board of Trustees of National University invites nominations and applications for President of National University.

The application deadline is January 14, 2022.

An Exceptional Opportunity

National University is the founding institution of the National University System (NUS), which includes National University (NU), Northcentral University (NCU), City University of Seattle (CU), and National Education Partners (NEP). NUS has operated under the leadership of Chancellor Michael Cunningham for more than eight years, during which the System’s student enrollments have doubled, and the endowments have tripled.


Currently, NUS is undertaking a significant milestone in its history. The Boards of Trustees of NU, NCU, and NEP decided to consolidate these three brands under the NU brand pending applicable regulatory approvals. This consolidation will create one of the largest non-profit open access universities serving adult learners in the country. The combined entity will have more than 47,000 students, 3,000 faculty, 1,200 staff, 200,000 alumni, and endowments of more than $1.5 billion. In addition, a major transformation aimed at significantly increasing enrollment while materially improving student learning outcomes is underway.


NU seeks an accomplished leader to work collaboratively to achieve the transformation goals and lead the merged entity and ultimately the System. The next president will be the respected head of the flagship of NUS and an effective, selfless player implementing a progressive, evolving strategy for growth.


The new president will possess the experience, skills, and focus required to help shape the future of this innovative institution while exemplifying the character and ethics expected in a highly visible, trusted university and community leader. The new president will also ensure that student success, social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion are at the center of all we do.

Candidates are advised to submit their materials by January 14, 2022 to ensure the fullest consideration.


Our Institutions



1971 as a private,

non-profit university


Students: ~29,000


Alumni: ~184,000


Faculty/Staff (FT HC): 215/521


Revenue (FY21): $238M


Headquarters: San Diego, California



1996, affiliated with NUS and
converted to non-profit in 2018


Students: ~17,000


Alumni: ~20,000


Faculty/Staff (FT HC): 104/134


Revenue (FY21): $145M


Headquarters: San Diego, California

nep logo.png


2018 as a corporation wholly

owned by NUS


Staff (FT HC): 627


Revenue (FY21): $95M


Headquarters: Scottsdale, Arizona

Qualifications and Qualities of the Next NU President

The next president will need strong innovation skills to build and adjust a winning strategy as the impact of digital technologies continues to progress in education and across all industries and governments. The next president will possess:

  • Exceptional strategic thinking skills to refine or adjust NU’s direction by anticipating how external forces will require changes to maintain a winning strategy

  • Experience in leading change and innovation where the people essential to the organization’s success are highly educated and intelligent

  • A deep appreciation for and commitment to social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion

  • Deep knowledge of the impact and potential of digital technologies to provide effective, low-cost learning experiences for those who have not done well in traditional education

  • Extensive understanding of how companies are changing their organizations and are developing and enhancing job descriptions to include micro-credentials

  • A solid understanding of online marketing, including influencers and social media

  • Insight into how NU can provide career-long learning to ensure that the faculty are current on the new career skills students will need throughout their lifetimes

  • Knowledge of what is important to adult learners and how open access educational institutions use that knowledge to develop a meaningful/relevant brand

  • Expertise in how technology impacts and improves the administrative processes throughout an educational institution, including enrollment, counseling, financial aid, human resources, course development, career assistance, retention, accounting and finance, library development, and maintenance

  • A deep understanding of the importance and utilization of cybersecurity in an online environment

  • An earned doctorate from a regionally accredited University or commensurate experience as a successful Chief Executive of a successful large organization

The next president will aggressively seek to build and strengthen relationships with all constituents, including students, alumni, faculty and administration, the community, local and statewide businesses, and foundations.


Desired Skills


  • Demonstrated success in higher education leadership positions

  • Direct experience fostering a learning environment in which academic rigor leads to successful learning outcomes

  • A collaborative leadership style to lead major university while functioning as a team player

  • The style and experience of a planner and a doer. Someone who takes pride in assembling a team, setting clear, measurable goals, and achieving success.

  • Experience building and motivating effective teams—appreciating the nuances of leading both faculty and administrative operations

  • Ability to drive consensus and be decisive when appropriate

Relationship Building

  • The ability to work collaboratively to further the goals of NUS

  • Experience in building trust and respect across multiple constituencies, including students, alumni, faculty, administration, trustees, community, donors, and strategic partners

  • Proven success in developing and nurturing partnerships with external organizations



  • Demonstrated interest in all aspects of fundraising

  • The ability to enthusiastically influence various donor constituencies and convey the NU vision to inspire transformative gifts

Business Acumen

  • Experience managing a complex educational organization, including detailed budgets and financials, marketing functions, and enrollment management

  • Design and implementation of transformative strategic plans at an academic institution

Communication Skills

  • Exceptional transparent verbal and written communications

  • The ability to listen carefully to a wide range of constituents, and adjust communication style effectively to those constituents

Personal Characteristics

  • The highest ethical and moral standards in both professional and personal life

  • Perseverance, work ethic and drive to build a legacy of success at NU

  • Intellect –curiosity and open-mindedness

  • Eagerness to serve as an institutional advocate and spokesperson

  • Humility and a sense of humor


“Education is for improving the lives of others and for leaving your community and world better than you found it.”

–  Marian Wright Edelman

The Application Process

The NU Presidential Search Committee will begin reviewing and evaluating applications as they are received and continue to accept and review credentials until a new president is selected. Candidates are advised to submit their materials by January 14, 2022 to ensure the fullest consideration.


Dr. Richard A. Wueste of AGB Search is assisting with this search. Nominators and prospective candidates may contact him at richard.wueste@agbsearch.com or (540) 431-5131. 

Nominations and expressions of interest may be submitted electronically to: NUPresident@agbsearch.com  

Application materials must include:

  • Letter of interest that responds to the Opportunities & Challenges and the Qualifications & Qualities of the Next NU President sections of this profile.

  • Complete CV or resume.

  • Names and contact information (telephone and e-mail) for five references. References provided will be contacted at a later stage of the search and references will not be contacted without the formal permission of the candidate. All inquiries and applications will be received and evaluated in confidence.


Applications should be submitted electronically in Word or PDF format to: NUPresident@agbsearch.com

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

NUS offers a comprehensive benefits package, competitive salaries, and an opportunity to work in an innovative environment that supports diversity. It is our policy to provide equal employment opportunities for all applicants and employees. The System does not unlawfully discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, childbirth, or related medical conditions), national origin, ancestry, age, physical disability, mental disability, medical condition, family care status, veteran status, marital status, sexual orientation or any other basis protected by state or federal laws.

Commitment to Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

NUS has a strong commitment to social justice, equity, diversity, and inclusion. NUS created the Office of Social Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (S-JEDI) to oversee a system-wide effort to achieve excellence in all aspects of the student experience.