Home Accountability Graduation Rates Aren’t the Strongest Indicator of Institutional Success
Graduation Rates Aren’t the Strongest Indicator of Institutional Success

Graduation Rates Aren’t the Strongest Indicator of Institutional Success

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Podcast by Dr. Bjorn Mercer, Program Director, Communication, Philosophy, Religion, and World Languages and Dr. Wally BostonPresident Emeritus, American Public University System

Note: This podcast was originally published on APU Edge.

Institutions of higher education are often compared and judged based on their graduation rates, but it often provides an incomplete picture of institutional success. In this podcast, Dr. Bjorn Mercer and I discuss various metrics used to compare institutions and the many variables that affect those metrics.

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Read the Transcript:

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Hello, my name is Dr. Bjorn Mercer and today we’re talking to Dr. Wally Boston, President Emeritus at American Public University System. And our conversation today is about graduation rates. Welcome, Wally.

Dr. Wallace Boston: Thank you, Bjorn, it’s good to be here.

Dr. Bjorn Mercer: Excellent, and I’m excited about this conversation. Graduation rates in higher education are kind of a metric that is used to compare. So in a recent article that you penned, “When Graduation Rates are All About the Numbers, Are They Really?” you discuss graduation rates in higher education. And so my first question is, how and why are graduation rates just one metric of many of a college’s success?

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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 and Chief Financial Officer 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 continues to serve as a member of the Board of Advisors of the National Institute for Learning Outcomes Assessment (NILOA), a member of the Board of Overseers of the University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education, and as a member 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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