Duke hires vice provost for learning innovation, digital ed

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Duke University this week named Georgia Tech’s Yakut Gazi as its first vice provost to oversee learning innovation.

Gazi, as “vice provost for learning innovation and digital education,” will oversee Duke’s Learning Innovation and Continuing Education offices. She is tasked with working across the university to implement new technologies and develop new online strategies. The job posting for the position described this a “critically important appointment” for the Durham, North Carolina, university.

Gazi starts July 29. As well as leading learning innovation and digital education at the college and continuing education levels, Gazi is also tasked to oversee youth programming, according to the Duke announcement Tuesday.

The scope of Gazi’s role hits every stage in a learner’s life. Digital learning and continuing education historically overlap at universities and were commonly set aside in their own divisions. But many higher education institutions are now looking to integrate hybrid approaches and continuing education offerings across all their offerings.

“[Gazi] understands the complexity of bringing together two previously separate functions at Duke, and her communication style – a nuanced combination of candor and empathy – seems uniquely well suited for successful execution of this process,” Emma Rasiel, chair of the Duke search committee and an economics professor, said in the announcement. “We also believe that her personal warmth and consensus-building approach to management will resonate across constituents and fit well within Duke’s culture.”

Gazi is currently associate dean for learning systems at Georgia Tech’s School of Professional Education, where she oversees all digital learning infrastructure and development for Georgia Tech’s online courses, according to the school’s website. She holds a doctorate in educational psychology and wrote an open access book on online courses.

“I feel privileged to have been a part of this unbelievably amazing organization and am proud of the work we have done together,” she wrote on a LinkedIn post announcing her move. “We have witnessed the growth of our enrollments, programs, services, and alliances within and outside of Georgia Tech. We have endured a global pandemic and came out of it cementing our status as a powerhouse.”

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