Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc is President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Under Paul’s direction since 2003, SNHU has grown from 2,800 students to nearly 135,000 learners; it is the largest non-profit provider of online higher education in the country and the first to have a full competency-based degree program untethered to the credit hour or classes approved by a regional accreditor and the U.S. Department of Education.
In 2012, the University was #12 on Fast Company magazine’s “World’s Fifty Most Innovative Companies” list and was the only university included. Paul won a New England Higher Education Excellence Award in 2012, the 2015 NH Entrepreneur of the Year Award, and has repeatedly been named one of “New Hampshire’s Most Influential People” by New Hampshire Business Review. Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education” for 2016. He was featured on Bloomberg TV’s Innovators series, Fast Company included him in its “1000 Most Creative People” List, and Washington Monthly named him one of America’s ten most innovative university presidents. The innovations created with Paul’s leadership include:
- The first degree program in e-commerce (1998)
- The SNHU Advantage Program, which cuts the cost of a degree by 40% (2006)
- College for America, the first direct assessment competency-based degree program approved by an accreditor and the U.S. Department of Education (2013) • Expansion of SNHU’s Degree-in-Three undergraduate program (2014)
- Successful roll out of online CBE for refugees in the Kiziba Refugee Camp in Rwanda (2015)
- Approval for Title IV dual enrollment and participation in RISE High, the XQ Super School Prize winner, focusing on the education of homeless youth and those who have timed out of foster care in LA County (2016)
Current projects include rethinking engineering education, social finance bonds, and expansion of the refugee camp work.
He served as Senior Policy Advisor to Under Secretary Ted Mitchell at the U.S. Department of Education, working on competency-based education, new accreditation pathways, and innovation. He also serves on the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI) and on the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine’s Board on Higher Education and Workforce (and served on its Committee on Quality in Undergraduate Education). He also serves on the ACE Board and chairs the AGB Council of Presidents.
Paul immigrated to the United States as a child, was the first person in his extended family to attend college, and is a graduate of Framingham State University (BA), Boston College (MA), and the University of Massachusetts (Ph.D.). From 1993 to 1996, he directed a technology start up for Houghton Mifflin Publishing Company, was President of Marlboro College (VT) from 1996 to 2003, and became President of SNHU in 2003. His wife Patricia is an attorney, and their daughters Emma and Hannah are doctoral students. Annie, their black Labrador Retriever, studies sleeping on the couch and ways to steal food from the counter tops.