Emerging Leaders in Higher Education

Both new and established leaders are emerging as innovators who are adding value to their institutions during this time of opportunity and change. Here, we profile three notable individuals gaining national prominence.

Dr. Mark Lombardi, President Maryville University

As President of Maryville University, Dr. Mark Lombardi has been instrumental in growing the school’s enrollment to 6,500. Double what the student population was just eight years ago.

First, Lombardi led a massive recruiting effort at a time when other universities were contracting due to economic pressures. Maryville’s enrollment is now more diverse than ever before, with students from across the globe. Next, he innovated ways to make learning more affordable and more accessible, with an emphasis on the needs of adult learners.

Lombardi’s leadership strategy starts with listening to what people want, not telling them how things should be done. It’s a philosophy that he’s held on to for the 25 years of his higher education career, which took him around the globe during his time at the University of Tampa, the College of Santa Fe, and Maryville University.

Lombardi has a PhD and MS degree in Political Science and International Relations from Ohio State University, along with a BS in Political Science from Purdue.

Elizabeth Ciabocchi, Vice Provost for Digital Learning – St. John’s University

Elizabeth Ciabocchi, EdD, Vice Provost for Digital Learning at St. John’s University, is prominent in higher education circles for several reasons. She stands out as one of the leading women in the field of digital learning, appointed to the board of directors of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) in January 2016.

Ciabocchi’s work in the development of digital learning programs at St. John’s has prepared her to provide expert guidance to the OLC’s constituency in areas of online and blended formats. Her visionary thinking about digital learning in general will also help her shape the future of the OLC as a whole.

She earned her EdD in Higher & Postsecondary Education from Teachers College at Columbia University. In addition, Ciabocchi holds a DC from New York Chiropractic College and a BS in Biology from the University of Scranton.

Dr. Lance C. Kennedy-Phillips, Vice Provost for Planning and Assessment – Pennsylvania State University

Appointed as Vice Provost for Planning and Assessment at Pennsylvania State University in October 2015, Dr. Lance C. Kennedy-Phillips represents a new level of 21st century thinking. His understanding of data-driven outcomes and decision making is a highly valued skill set in today’s higher education sector.

In his new role, Kennedy-Phillips has the opportunity to develop and lead an integrated, analytics-based planning and assessment process that builds on Penn State’s existing strong foundation. His areas of accountability transcend institutional administration to include the overarching needs and goals of all staff, faculty, and students.

Prior to Penn State, Kennedy-Phillips had been Associate Vice Provost for Institutional Research at the University of Illinois at Chicago. He has a BS in Sociology from Eastern Illinois University, along with an MS and doctorate in Higher Education Administration from the University of Nebraska.

At least in some part, the success of these figures can be attributed to their advanced degrees. To learn more about advanced degrees in education, visit Maryville University online.


St. Louis Public Radio – President Lombardi: Maryville University is ready for the future

Maryville University

St. John’s University

JBHE – New Administrative Jobs in Higher Education for Three African Americans

Penn State – Kennedy-Phillips named vice provost for planning and assessment

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