Capella University Names Dr. Michael Offerman President and Chief Executive Officer

May 4, 2001

Capella University named one of the nation’s top online learning and continuing education leaders as its new president and chief executive officer.

Dr. Michael Offerman, founder and executive director of the University of Wisconsin System’s Learning Innovations Center and dean of the system’s 160,000-student continuing education program, takes the helm of Capella University, the fastest-growing accredited, fully online university. He succeeds the current Capella University president, Stephen Shank. Shank will remain chief executive officer of Capella Education Company, the university’s for-profit parent company.

As university president, Dr. Offerman will be responsible for overseeing all elements of Capella University’s academic offerings, with a special focus on ensuring a high-level of academic quality across all degree programs and fostering continuous quality improvement.

Dr. Offerman comes to Capella after spending the past seven years directing continuing education and distance learning programs at the University of Wisconsin, one of the nation’s largest university systems. In this role, Dr. Offerman saw firsthand the challenges facing the hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents who desired continuing education, but did not have the means to attend a college campus. Because of his efforts, Wisconsin schools became one of the world leaders in online education. Today, more than 100,000 University of Wisconsin System students receive at least part of their education online.

“We’ve only begun to scratch the surface of online education,” Dr. Offerman said. “Using the Internet, we have the opportunity to make quality education accessible to people all over the world. Capella, more than any other institution, understands both the possibilities and the responsibilities associated with this challenge. While I’ll always be proud of the work we did at Wisconsin, joining Capella University gives me the opportunity to help shape the future of adult education.”

At Learning Innovations, Dr. Offerman led the creation of online degree and certificate programs for all Wisconsin System institutions. Under his watch, Wisconsin developed a variety of completely online programs, ranging from an MBA involving four University of Wisconsin institutions to an e-learning alliance with the University of California, the University of Washington and Penn State University. Learning Innovations has received national awards for excellence in online education.

“Dr. Offerman’s capabilities and expertise are a perfect fit for Capella University,” Shank said. “Mike brings us a combination of adult-focused education expertise and a creative ability to understand and anticipate the changing dynamics of technology and education. His addition provides strong leadership to our already impressive faculty.”

Founded in 1993, Capella University is an accredited, fully online university based in Minneapolis. Through its Web-based campus, Capella University offers the broadest array of online courses and degree programs of any university. Currently, Capella has more than 3,000 enrolled learners, coming from all 50 states and 40 countries.

Capella University

Capella University ( is an accredited university that offers courses, certificates and degree programs in business, human services, education, psychology and technology. Through its online campus, Capella University teaches more than 3,000 students throughout the U.S. and in 40 countries. Capella University is affiliated with the for-profit Capella Education Company headquartered in Minneapolis. For more information visit Capella University at or call 888.CAPELLA.