College graduates, Domestic, Education Quality, Interview, Not-for-Profit, Required, Startups, University & College - Written by Wired Academic on Wednesday, January 4, 2012 8:00 - 0 Comments
2tor Inc. Moves Chip Paucek to CEO, John Katzman to Executive Chair Ahead of Expansion Plans
By Wired Academic Staff
Digital learning upstart 2tor Inc. switched up its executive suite today, moving co-founder Chip Paucek into the CEO role from president and chief operating officer and moving co-founder John Katzman to Executive Chair from his previous role as CEO.
“This is more representative of how we run the company,” said Paucek, during an interview with WiredAcademic. “It is about standing behind the team as we go into the next phase of growth.” Co-founder Katzman, who founded the Princeton Review, applauded the move as well.
Landover, Maryland,-based 2tor Inc. aims to partner with top-tier universities create selective, online graduate programs. So far, it has launched online graduate programs for Georgetown University in nursing, University of North Carolina’s online MBA program and University of Southern California’s schools of social work and education.
“We’ll be entering masters of public administration, masters of public health,” in coming months said Paucek, adding that they are looking for partners in engineering, law, public policy, computer science and other fields. He hopes that 2tor will have another 7 to 10 partners by the end of 2013.
As a partner with existing, credible universities, 2tor represents a competitive threat to less selective for-profit colleges, and with it’s 2U learning management system, it also poses a challenge to learning management systems from Blackboard, Pearson and others.
“Some like Blackboard partner with as many schools as possible. We don’t do that,” said Paucek. “As we come into a new vertical, 2tor basically partners with one great school per vertical. We find one partner, one brand that is world-class. We partner with that brand over a long time period to create the market leader in that space for that discipline.”
Since it launched in 2008, 2tor has raised $65 million in venture funding and employs 350 people in several offices, including one in Hong Kong and one at each campus where it operates an online graduate program.
Already, hundreds of students are alumni and thousands enrolled from the 2tor-supported programs. Paucek is quick to point out that these students are not enrolled at 2tor but are student ID-card carrying Trojans or Tar Heels, subject to those schools faculty, intellectual property, admission standards and alumni networks. 2tor may handle the marketing of the programs, admissions screening and other functions along with the learning management system.
“The notion of working with them to navigate the online waters. That’s why we exist,” Paucek said. “This is about accelerating the greatness of a top-tier school.”
The firm’s motto is: “Great universities unleashed.” “The reason great institutions stayed on the sidelines while the online post secondary space was dominated by for profit post secondary schools was largely a question of will,” Paucek said. “This all has to do with finding partners that are willing to take on that charge.”
2tor has focused at taking graduate programs online because graduate students tend to be more ripe for online learning more than undergraduate. But Paucek said 2tor expects to operate undergraduate programs in the future as well.
“The growth of online education will not slow even with regulatory and financial” concerns, said Paucek. “We think that within 20 years, half of graduate students will be doing their degrees online.” He said the notion of moving across country to attend graduate school will become increasingly passé.
At present only 2 of the four programs – the MBA program and the education program – extend outside of North America. “Over time, we think it is likely we will partners with international universities,” said Paucek. “We have not done so yet. We have had a couple conversations.”
Before 2tor, Paucek was CEO of Hooked on Phonics, ran U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski’s re-election campaign and co-founded a company behind the award-winning Standard Deviants PBS television series. He attended George Washington University, earning a bachelors degree in political communications.
Katzman was CEO of 2tor since 2008. Before that, he founded The Princeton Review, and served as its CEO until 2007. He is the co-author of five books on testing and admissions, and a frequent lecturer and panelist. He has helped launch several start-ups and serves on boards of several organizations including the Woodrow Wilson Foundation and the National Association of Independent Schools.
How soon is an IPO in the cards for 2tor?
“We haven’t ruled anything out,” Paucek said. But it’s “not something we are focused on today. It is too early to be talking on that.”
Programs 2tor runs:
- MAT@USC: Master of Arts in Teaching from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education
- MSW@USC: Master of Social Work from the University of Southern California School of Social Work
- Nursing@Georgetown: Master’s in Nursing from Georgetown University School of Nursing & Health Studies
- MBA@UNC: Master of Business Administration from the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School
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