Nancy Coleman will be the next dean of Harvard’s Division of Continuing Education (DCE), Claudine Gay, Edgerley Family Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), announced today. Coleman will succeed Huntington D. Lambert, who retired from DCE last December after six years as dean. Coleman, the first woman to lead DCE as dean, will start in her new role next month. Professor Henry Leitner has been serving as interim dean since January.
“Nancy is an accomplished and nationally recognized leader in professional, continuing, and online learning who leads with a passion for student success and a deep commitment to expanding access and opportunities for nontraditional learners from all backgrounds,” Gay said in her announcement. “Nancy will be an energetic builder and connecter, deepening ties between DCE and the rest of the FAS and committed to a transformative experience for all our students.”
Coleman comes to Harvard from Wellesley College, where she had been associate provost and founding director of strategic growth initiatives since 2016. During her time at Wellesley she created, developed, and increased the institution’s Wellesley, Extended program, which educates summer and nontraditional learners through a series of unique offerings. Coleman substantially increased revenue for summer programs and also created a professional education division that engaged faculty and alumnae and brought new audiences to the college.
“I am thrilled to be joining the Division of Continuing Education, especially at this time when professional, continuing, and online (PCO) education is so critically important for continuity and personal growth. DCE is uniquely positioned, under the Harvard brand and FAS umbrella, to continue its legacy of leadership in this space, and I believe opportunities for both PCO and DCE have never been brighter,” said Coleman.
Before joining Wellesley, Coleman was vice president at Keypath Education, leading its global academic services and overseeing all instructional design for students and faculty. She was also director of distance education for Boston University’s Metropolitan College.
Recently, Coleman became president-elect of the University Professional Continuing Education Association, one of the largest continuing-education organizations in the country.
Coleman holds an Ed.D. in human and organizational learning from George Washington University, where her dissertation explored leadership behaviors in online learning units. She also earned an M.B.A. from Boston University Questrom School of Management, and a B.S. in marketing from Stonehill College.
Coleman said she sees her role at Harvard as a moment when her experiences as a learner, educator, and entrepreneur can come together at a critical time in higher education.
“I have seen firsthand the transformative effects of education and want to continue to be a part of creating and enabling those opportunities for others. As a first-generation college student and part-time learner, I’m a passionate believer in the power of continuing education, and of serving diverse student populations throughout their lifetimes,” Coleman said.
“Intellectual curiosity and the desire to learn may show up at different phases in life, and the fact that a pre-eminent university such as Harvard is well-poised to meet the student wherever in their journey they may be is remarkable. I look forward to working with DCE students, staff, instructors, and alumni to continue this important work.”