There are few hats that Andrea Butler hasn’t worn throughout her career.
CSU Global’s Associate Vice President of Digital Learning of Digital Learning’s journey to higher education included time as a military officer, a nurse, a leader of organizational development, and human resources management.
Butler, who resides in Nebraska, admits that her path has been “weird and fun.” She began her career as a nurse and military officer in the United States Air Force, but quickly discovered her penchant for continuing education.
“The military realized I had a talent for development and education,” shared Butler. She started focusing on organizational development and spearheaded the inception of primary care and pediatrics clinics on base. Butler separated from the military to raise her children but quickly found her way back to teaching after a friend asked her to join Nebraska Wesleyan University’s nursing faculty as an adjunct faculty. While her foray into higher education started as a favor to a friend, Butler hasn’t looked back.
A Passion for Supporting Non-Traditional Learners
Butler came to CSU Global from Doane University, where she was their VP of Innovation, Digital, and Global Strategy. There she created and led their online learning program while increasing the university’s global impact. It was there that she developed a passion for non-traditional education.
“What’s important to me is serving a diverse group of learners,” said Butler. “I've always believed in enlarging the pathway so that we can make learning available and more approachable to support people who want to learn.”
And while non-traditional learners are oftentimes adults, Butler recognizes that age isn’t always a factor. “The non-traditional learner could be the 18-year-old who doesn’t learn in a typical way, or they’re unable to attend a four-year, brick-and-mortar institution because they need to hold a job.”
She explained that leaving home to pursue higher education is not a value of every cultural group; that it’s important in some families for high school graduates to enter the workforce and help support their household. However, Butler views CSU Global as the solution – students can increase their knowledge and earn a college education while contributing to family responsibilities due to the university’s asynchronous schedule and affordable, fixed tuition.
Developing CSU Global’s Real-World Curriculum
In her role as Associate Vice President of Digital Learning, Butler oversees CSU Global’s curriculum development, as well as the university’s instructional design, digital innovation, and student accessibility teams. This spring, she was especially thrilled to work on the curriculum for CSU Global’s new Master’s of Business Administration (MBA) program, one of three new master’s degree programs that began classes in July. While creating the coursework, Butler kept the curriculum’s real-world application at the forefront of her efforts.
“This MBA program is not the old way of learning, where random parts of theories are just thrown at you,” said Butler. “Students are going to be working on a real project that they’ll have to apply their learning to the marketing strategy, to the business plan, the financial analysis, etc. They’ll be knee-deep in one project to learn principles and apply them.”
Earlier this year, Butler was also instrumental in the implementation and design of CSU Global Direct. Designed to provide prerequisite courses students need to attend professional school, begin a graduate program, or accelerate their undergraduate degree, these courses cater to aspiring healthcare professionals.
Throughout all of her work, Butler looks for opportunities to close the equity gap for students. “We have to think about the different priorities and standards that other groups of people live by. How do we approach that and how can we orient ourselves to embrace those needs? It’s important.”
To learn more about CSU Global’s academic programs, click here.
August 10, 2022