Explore Career Opportunities with GSV’s world-class partners


Lead Academic Program Manager - IT College

Western Governors University

Western Governors University

IT, Operations
Posted on Tuesday, November 7, 2023

The salary range for this role takes into account the wide range of factors that are considered in making compensation decisions including but not limited to skill sets; experience and training; licensure and certifications; and other business and organizational needs.

At WGU, it is not typical for an individual to be hired at or near the top of the range for their role, and compensation decisions are dependent on the facts and circumstances of each case. A reasonable estimate of the current range is:

Pay Range: $114,800.00 - $178,000.00

If you’re passionate about building a better future for individuals, communities, and our country—and you’re committed to working hard to play your part in building that future—consider WGU as the next step in your career.

Driven by a mission to expand access to higher education through online, competency-based degree programs, WGU is also committed to being a great place to work for a diverse workforce of student-focused professionals. The university has pioneered a new way to learn in the 21st century, one that has received praise from academic, industry, government, and media leaders. Whatever your role, working for WGU gives you a part to play in helping students graduate, creating a better tomorrow for themselves and their families.

Job Profile Summary:

As Lead Academic Program Manager of academic programs in WGU’s Software Engineering program you will be the overall end-to-end owner of that program through its entire lifecycle. This will include (a) all the pre-definition research (market-segment selection, targeted skills, market demand for graduates, student demand, competitive analysis, portfolio strategy, pricing, program requirements, and program level P&L), (b) building and launching the program by working with the academic program directors and other subject matter experts across different departments to define the curriculum, and working with the program development team to build and launch the program (with the right quality, on-time and in budget), and (c) tracking the post-launch adoption of the program by working with the marketing and partnership teams to drive the adoption of the program with students, monitoring and tracking the success of students within the program, working with other stakeholders to make on-going adjustments to the program to improve student success and market relevance, and managing the program-level P&L. Your success will be measured in terms of planning, building, delivering and scaling the right programs profitably that cater to our underserved student population with a high-level of retention and ROI for the students. In this role, you will report to the Associate Dean and Academic Program Director and/or the Vice President, Dean of the department.

Essential Functions and Responsibilities:

  • P&L ownership experience with managing over $10m+ P&L
  • Drive a culture of continuous experimentation, measurement, and learning from data to rapidly improve the quality and delivery to students
  • Strong people leader to indirectly lead a diverse team of 25+ people including academic program leaders, instructional faculty, and student coaches/mentors
  • Influences Others and Communicates Effectively: Communicates to improve and promote teamwork, decision making, and problem solving. Listens and responds effectively to the reactions and positions of others and encourages the expression of diverse ideas and opinions. Adjusts message and style to fit the audience. Provides timely and helpful feedback. Communicates appropriately to win support with all audiences.
  • Collaborates: Works cooperatively with others across the organization to achieve shared objectives. Represents own interests while being fair to others and their areas. Partners with others to get work done. Credits others for their contributions and accomplishments. Gains buy-in, trust and support of others.
  • Manages Ambiguity: Deals comfortably with the uncertainty of change. Effectively handles risk. Can decide to act without the total picture. Is calm and productive, even when things are up in the air. Deals constructively with problems that do not have clear solutions or outcomes.
  • Drives for Results: Has a strong outcomes-based orientation. Persists in accomplishing objectives despite obstacles and setbacks. Has a track record of successfully achieving goals. Pushes self and helps others achieve results. Has a continuous improvement mindset.
  • Builds Effective Teams: Forms teams with appropriate and diverse mixes of styles, perspectives, and experience. Establishes common objectives and a shared mindset. Creates a feeling of belonging and strong team morale. Shares wins and rewards team efforts. Fosters open dialogue and collaboration among the team. Creates a team that works well cross-functionally.
  • Organizational Learning: Learns quickly when facing new situations. Experiments to find new solutions. Takes on challenges of unfamiliar tasks. Extracts lessons-learned from failures and mistakes. Expands knowledge base through ongoing curiosity.
  • Performs other related duties as assigned.

Knowledge, Skill and Abilities:

  • Deep understanding of how students learn and combining innovative curriculum and student support strategies to drive student success
  • Customer or student obsession with a focus on driving successful outcomes for them
  • Industry and academic leader in Software Engineering or closely related field such as Computer Science, Cyber Security, Data Science, Software, or Cloud & IT Management
  • Understanding of the industry trends, job opportunities, and educational market trends in the discipline
  • Credible voice of the department in external partnerships and presentation opportunities
  • Strong people leader to indirectly lead a diverse team of 25+ people including academic program leaders, instructional faculty, and student coaches/mentors
  • Execution focus with the ability to dive-deep and live in the details with a fast-paced weekly execution cadence
  • Ability to organize and coordinate activities and results across cross-functional teams
  • Ability to coach and develop direct reports
  • Ability to collaborate with and manage teams, including those in a remote environment, while demonstrating excellence, integrity, and respect
  • Ability to work effectively in a highly matrixed organization
  • Ability to build relationships and influence at all levels, both internally and externally
  • Ability to be an agent of change in a rapidly changing environment
  • Proven ability to analyze data to identify trends and drive innovation
  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills


Organizational Impact:

  • Responsible for implementing initiatives and projects established by university or department leadership; establishes operational plans for department, function, or office with short-term impact on results. ​
  • May deliver input into new processes, standards, or plans that impact overall university or department results.

Problem Solving & Decision Making:

  • Leverages a systems-thinking approach for improving existing processes and systems within the department using significant conceptualizing, reasoning, and interpretation.​
  • Problems and issues faced are numerous, difficult, and require detailed information gathering and analysis. Typically affect multiple areas or specialties. Problems and issues span a wide range of challenging and unique situations.

Communication & Influence:

  • Collaborates cross-functionally with parties within and outside of the department and may occasionally communicate with external parties. ​
  • May influence others to accept the job area’s views, practices, concepts, and approaches and conduct briefings with leaders within the University or department.

Leadership & Talent Management

  • Responsible for providing guidance, coaching, and training to other employees in the department, Function, or Office. ​
  • Provides direction to project team members, including feedback on performance.​
  • Demonstrates the WGU leadership principles in all aspects of service to students, employees, and partners of WGU.

Job Qualifications:

Minimum Qualifications:

  • Master's degree in a related are from an accredited institution.
  • 4+ years of related experience to include a combination of: program P&L responsibility, able to effectively plan and operate degree-granting educational programs with the goal of driving student outcomes, student satisfaction, and profitability.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Doctorate degree in relevant area from an accredited institution
  • Experience in higher education
  • Experience in developing online education programs and/or developing and scaling rapidly changing organizations/programs
  • Experience in developing curriculum and/or high-stakes assessments
  • Demonstrated success in change management, and bringing order and structure to complex situations

Physical Requirements:

  • Prolonged periods sitting at a desk and working on a computer.
  • Must be able to lift up to 15 pounds at times.




As an equal opportunity employer, WGU recognizes that our strength lies in our people. We are committed to diversity.