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Dr. Rick Osborn becomes president of Association for Continuing Higher Education

Friday, December 12, 2008JOHNSON CITY – Dr. Rick Osborn of East Tennessee State University recently took the helm as president of the Association for Continuing Higher Education (ACHE) during the organization’s 2008 annual conference and meeting in Nashville.

Osborn, who is assistant vice provost for Academic Support and Public Service in ETSU’s School of Continuing Studies, has been an active member of ACHE for more than 10 years, and has served as chair of ACHE Region South and as a member of the ACHE board of directors.

“I know we face a challenging year,” Osborn said in his address to the membership at the annual luncheon. “But continuing education is too important to struggle for long. We’ll offer programs, we’ll serve students and we’ll strengthen our communities.”

“Unlocking the Transformational Power of Continuing Education” is the focus of Osborn’s ACHE presidency, and will also be the theme of the association’s 2009 annual conference and meeting in Philadelphia next November.

Continuing education professionals, Osborn says, “take students who have limited access to traditional higher education and transform them into an educated citizenry. We take unemployed, unskilled and underemployed workers and transform them into a productive workforce. We take entry-level employees, young professionals and mid-level managers and transform them into executives and leaders. We take practicing professionals and provide the training that keeps them licensed and up-to-date. We take immigrants and transform them into citizens. We take folks in transition from one life stage and transform them to the next – from single to married, from married to divorced, from partners to parents, from parents to grandparents, from full-time workers to retirees. We do this through continuing education.”

Osborn joined the ETSU School of Continuing Studies in 1990, holding the post of assistant dean of credit programs and serving three years as interim dean of the school before attaining his current position. Throughout his tenure, he has worked tirelessly to increase outreach to students throughout the region by implementing new degree programs and services for working adult students and overseeing the Off-Campus Cohort Program, which enables adults to complete undergraduate and graduate degree programs at locations near their work and home, whether they are nursing students in Mountain City, teachers pursuing a Master of Education in Sevierville, or student-soldiers on active duty in Iraq and throughout the world.

Through the success of the Cohort Programs initiative, “Dr. Osborn (has been) responsible for greatly increasing access to higher education in Northeast Tennessee, Southwest Virginia and Western North Carolina,” said Dr. Norma MacRae, ETSU vice provost for Academic Support and Public Service and dean of Continuing Studies. “These innovative programs enable students living outside the Johnson City area to complete degrees while maintaining their job and family responsibilities and saving gas and time. Dr. Osborn’s leadership is an invaluable asset to ETSU and to our regional community.”

Before coming to ETSU, Osborn earned his Ph.D. in education at the University of Iowa and served as director of Continuing Education at Mount Mercy College, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and director of Continuing Education and literature instructor at Drury College (now University), Springfield, Mo. In addition, he taught English literature at Western Illinois University, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in English and education specialist degree in educational administration.

Founded in 1939, ACHE is an institution-based organization of colleges, universities and individuals dedicated to the promotion of lifelong learning and excellence in continuing higher education. It strives to encourage 

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