Home Online Education APUS Innovation and Research Featured at the Policy Studies Organization’s Dupont Summit
APUS Innovation and Research Featured at the Policy Studies Organization’s Dupont Summit

APUS Innovation and Research Featured at the Policy Studies Organization’s Dupont Summit


Danny Welsch Dupont SummitGuest Post by Dr. Danny Welsch
Interim Dean, School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

APUS showcased a variety of faculty research and innovation at the Policy Studies Organization’s recent 10th annual Dupont Summit in Washington, D.C. The Summit is a highly interdisciplinary gathering of individuals who come together to discuss issues related to science, technology, and the environment, and this year’s conference proved to be an excellent event for APUS faculty to showcase the advances in online higher education about which we are most passionate.

The historic Whittemore House served as the venue, allowing for small and intimate presentations to occur, with easy conversations and dialogue. APUS President Dr. Wally Boston provided opening remarks, followed by panel presentations from APUS faculty across the Schools of STEM, Business, and Security and Global Studies.

Dr. David Syndergard, Space Studies faculty, provided an overview of the APUS Observatory and how it is used for student and faculty research on stellar photometry, which involves making detailed measurements of star brightness over time. A regular dimming of a star may indicate the presence of an undiscovered planet in orbit. Another student project is examining RR Lyrae variable stars, which can be used to determine the distance of deep space galaxies from Earth.

Dr. Jim Brinson, a biochemist and Natural Sciences faculty member, presented his work on the efficacy of virtual labs, with a focus on education policy. He studied 84 undergrad non-science majors who completed a lab activity on density. Half of the group completed the activity traditionally (hands-on), and half completed the activity in a virtual lab space (on a computer). His results showed that there was no difference between the two different lab types on conceptual understanding and inquiry skills related to density. This finding independently demonstrates that our innovative online STEM lab delivery is capable of generating equal learning gains when compared to traditional lab approaches.

Dr. Brinson also joined me for a panel discussion with APUS Cyber Defense Center Director Dr. Ken Williams and Dr. Tim Boileau from the University of West Florida on how online labs and virtual learning spaces can address gaps in STEM education. For example, APUS’ fully online bachelor’s program in electrical engineering uses virtual circuit boards to effectively replicate physical lab work for students without access to traditional on-campus engineering programs.

The interdisciplinary nature of the meeting provided rich discussion and opportunities for APUS faculty to think about their work in new and different contexts. APUS is proud to be an ongoing sponsor of, and participant in, this event.

Wally Boston Dr. Wallace E. Boston was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of American Public University System (APUS) and its parent company, American Public Education, Inc. (APEI) in July 2004. He joined APUS as its Executive Vice President in 2002. In September 2019, Dr. Boston retired as CEO of APEI and retired as APUS President in August 2020. Dr. Boston guided APUS through its successful initial accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association in 2006 and ten-year reaccreditation in 2011. In November 2007, he led APEI to an initial public offering on the NASDAQ Exchange. For four years from 2009 through 2012, APEI was ranked in Forbes' Top 10 list of America's Best Small Public Companies. During his tenure as president, APUS grew to over 85,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 100,000 alumni. While serving as APEI CEO and APUS President, Dr. Boston was a board member of APEI, APUS, Hondros College of Nursing, and Fidelis, Inc. Dr. Boston was appointed to the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity by the U.S. Secretary of Education in 2019. He also serves as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), as a Trustee of The American College of Financial Services, as a member of the board of Our Community Salutes - USA, and as a member and chair of the board of New Horizons Worldwide. He has authored and co-authored papers on the topic of online post-secondary student retention, and is a frequent speaker on the impact of technology on higher education. Dr. Boston is a past Treasurer of the Board of Trustees of the McDonogh School, a private K-12 school in Baltimore. In his career prior to APEI and APUS, Dr. Boston served as either CFO, COO, or CEO of Meridian Healthcare, Manor Healthcare, Neighborcare Pharmacies, and Sun Healthcare Group. Dr. Boston is a Certified Public Accountant, Certified Management Accountant, and Chartered Global Management Accountant. He earned an A.B. degree in History from Duke University, an MBA in Marketing and Accounting from Tulane University’s Freeman School of Business Administration, and a Doctorate in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education. In 2008, the Board of Trustees of APUS awarded him a Doctorate in Business Administration, honoris causa, and, in April 2017, also bestowed him with the title President Emeritus. In August 2020, the Board of Trustees of APUS appointed him Trustee Emeritus. In November 2020, the Board of Trustees announced that the APUS School of Business would be renamed the Dr. Wallace E Boston School of Business in recognition of Dr. Boston's service to the university. Dr. Boston lives with his family in Austin, Texas.


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