The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

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January 4, 2014

Nationwide search under way to fill Ashford vice president post

CLINTON — Ashford University is searching for a new vice president and campus director as the former leader of the Clinton campus becomes an online professor.

John Ballheim, the former vice president and campus director, started transitioning out of the senior leadership position in Clinton in early December. He is currently on leave and expected to return as a full-time faculty member teaching classes online.

According to Ashford University President and CEO Richard Pattenaude, the decision for Ballheim to leave the position was a mutual one.

“John’s done a great job and we really greatly appreciate all he’s done,” Pattenaude said. “It was John’s decision. For him, it was time for a new chapter and we talked with him about it.”

Of the university’s 75,000 students, around 1,000 attend class in Clinton. The remainder are online students.

The for-profit University as a whole has faced some challenges during Ballheim’s tenure. In the summer of 2012 it was denied initial accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, prompting its accrediting body at the time to place the university on special monitoring status. The year-long struggle to obtain accreditation from WASC, the body that accredits schools in the western United States where Ashford is based, ended this summer when the university was granted a five-year accreditation.

Ballheim also was at the helm during the university’s expansion in Clinton, which included purchasing the Best Western Frontier Inn and the former Clinton country club, along with building a sports complex and investing millions of dollars in its Clinton facilities.

Ashford’s parent company, Bridgepoint Education, will conduct a nationwide search to find Ballheim’s replacement.

Charlie Minnick, the dean of Ashford’s Forbes School of Business, started serving as interim vice president and campus director Wednesday. Minnick has been with Ashford University for eight years. He will work in this role for the next two months until a permanent leader is selected.

“We want to make sure we have a vision with the campus. We need to think of how you positively impact the campus and the students,” Minnick said.

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