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Reflections on The Oxford Internet Institute: “Long Live Democracy?”

Reflections on The Oxford Internet Institute: “Long Live Democracy?”

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Matthew CrosstonGuest Post by Dr. Matthew Crosston
Faculty Member, School of Security and Global Studies

The Oxford Internet Institute (OII) held its biannual Internet, Policy, and Politics conference on September 20-21, 2018 at St. Anne’s College, Oxford University. The conference is one of academia’s leading venues for examining the interplay between technology, politics, and the development of innovative new policy. This year’s event, “Long Live Democracy?”, examined the challenges and opportunities for democratic processes in a digital world.

The conference was organized by OII and the journal Policy and Internet, in collaboration with the European Consortium of Political Research’s standing group on Internet and Politics, Policy Studies Organization (PSO), and American Public University System. Scholars attended from all over the world, including Bar Ilan University, Cornell University, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Istanbul Bilgi University, London School of Economics, McGill University, Northwestern University, St. Petersburg State University, University of Amsterdam, University of Helsinki, University of St. Andrews, University of Sydney, University of Texas at Austin, and World Bank Group, among others.

APUS Provost Dr. Vernon Smith moderated the “Unsocial Media II: Radicalization” panel, on which I presented a new article, “Virtual Democracy and Jihadi Johns: Cognitive Disconnects and CVE Propaganda,” pending publication by Cyber, Intelligence, and Security. Additionally, our colleague Dr. Erik Bean was part of the “Social Media Regulation I” panel, presenting his work on “Industrial Age Advertising Solutions for a 21st Century Social Network-Driven World.”

Our regular participation in the event positively impacts the university. From a thought leadership standpoint, it is excellent for APUS faculty to have exposure, and be recognized, for their contributions to their respective bodies of knowledge. Invitations are extremely difficult to garner, with an acceptance rate for faculty submissions much lower than that of many other academic conferences.

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Dr. Vernon Smith (at left) and Dr. Crosston at the conference. Image courtesy of John Cairns Photography.
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Dr. Crosston in Oxford University’s Museum of Natural History. Image courtesy of John Cairns Photography.

We are extremely honored to be associated with such distinguished institutions having a shared commitment to academic excellence, lifelong learning and student success. Speaking for my fellow APUS faculty, staff and our students, I’m proud to be part of such a vibrant, proactive and respected institution.

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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 July 2016, he retired as APUS president and continued as CEO of APEI. In September 2017, he was reappointed APUS president after the resignation of Dr. Karan Powell. In September 2019, Angela Selden was named CEO of APEI, succeeding Dr. Boston who will remain APUS president until his planned retirement in June 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. During his tenure, APUS grew to over 100,000 students, 200 degree and certificate programs, and approximately 90,000 alumni. In addition to his service as a board member of APUS and APEI, Dr. Boston is 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, a board member of the Presidents’ Forum, and a board member of Hondros College of Nursing and Fidelis, Inc. 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. Dr. Boston lives in Owings Mills, MD with his wife Sharon and their two daughters.

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