May 3, 2007 -- After 32 years of dedicated service to the University of Virginia, Sondra Stallard, dean of the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, has been named the 13th president of Strayer University, effective prior to the start of the fall 2007 term.
"I am excited to join the Strayer University academic community," Stallard said. "This position affords a unique opportunity to help adult learners achieve their educational goals. I recently attended the 115th Strayer University Commencement in Atlanta and saw first-hand how this institution is making a difference in the lives of working adults and their families. It will be an honor to play some small part in opening the doors of higher education to many first-generation college graduates and other nontraditional students."
In the fall of 1995, University President John T. Casteen III and then-Provost Peter W. Low asked Stallard to serve as acting dean of the Division of Continuing Education. In April 1996 she was appointed dean for a five-year term, which was renewed in 2001 and again in 2006. She presided over the elevation of the division to school status when the Board of Visitors created the School of Continuing and Professional Studies in 2000.
Since then, Stallard has led one of the University’s 10 schools, with the mission of providing undergraduate and graduate degrees, professional development certification, personal enrichment courses and travel programs, serving more than 15,000 adult students annually at seven regional academic centers around the commonwealth, in Richmond, Roanoke, Abingdon, Falls Church, Hampton Roads, Charlottesville and at the FBI National Academy in Quantico.
"Sondra Stallard has been an innovative, resourceful and principled dean," Casteen said, noting that she has "built the strongest organization for continuing education that U.Va. has ever had." Echoing many of Stallard's colleagues at U.Va., Casteen continued, "All here will miss her good sense, her candor, her competency and her compassion for those around her, and we wish for her great success in her new position."
Stallard created and implemented many innovative programs for nontraditional students, including the University’s first part-time bachelor’s degree program for adult students, the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies. "Our BIS program enjoys a reputation as one of the finest such programs at any research university in the nation," said Leonard W. Sandridge, U.Va.’s executive vice president and chief operating officer.
Stallard oversaw the broadening of academic programs offered by SCPS, including new degree programs created in partnership with the Curry School of Education and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. With talented faculty and staff, Dean Stallard led development of a nationally award-winning reading education program, an expansive executive development program, the University’s first distance-learning credit courses offered to adult students worldwide, the National Criminal Justice Command College and the Post-Baccalaureate Pre-Medical program.
Stallard "inspired a sea change in faculty and staff commitment and morale” at SCPS, said former provost Low. "And she brought fiscal stability to a unit that historically has seen budgetary difficulties."
Stallard's accomplishments as dean, noted Casteen, have included "initiating and developing new facilities for instruction, and distinguished service to governmental and private-sector employers who use our courses and instructors in their own instructional programs. She has worked successfully with leaders at the highest levels in the U.S. and in Europe."
Born in Norton, Va., and raised in West Virginia, Stallard was the first member of her family to attend college, earning her bachelor’s degree in history and government from the West Virginia Institute of Technology, followed by a master’s degree in history in history from Morehead State University, and later, a Ph.D. in education from U.Va.
Stallard joined the University’s faculty in 1975 in the Curry School of Education and later became director of the University’s Office of Equal Opportunity Programs. In 1986 Stallard became director of development for the School of Engineering and Applied Science and then, in 1988, director of corporate relations for the Darden School of Business, before her selection by Casteen to serve as his executive assistant from 1993 until 1996. "In prior periods," Casteen said, "she proved to be a talented and successful advocate for equity and fair treatment in the workplace, a formidable fund-raiser who built the Darden School's capacity to become self-sufficient, and a wise and effective central administrator."
Stallard's longtime colleague Steve Gladis, former director of the SCPS Northern Virginia Center in Falls Church, said "Sondra’s departure from the University is bittersweet. She’ll be missed by all, but it’s a great testimony that she will be yet another college president produced by the University."
Strayer University, founded in 1892, offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in business administration, accounting, information technology, education and public administration. Accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, Strayer specializes in providing educational opportunities for working adults who want to advance in their careers. In addition, Strayer University Online allows students to combine traditional classroom instruction with online study or to pursue a degree entirely online. With more than 32,000 students, Strayer operates 47 campuses in 11 states and Washington, D.C., as well as worldwide via the Internet.
For more information, visit www.strayer.edu.