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Rio Salado College Selects Janelle Elias as Vice President of Strategy and Advancement

Rio Salado College Selects Janelle Elias as Vice President of Strategy and Advancement

Rio Salado College Selects Janelle Elias as Vice President of Strategy and Advancement

After a highly competitive national search, Rio Salado College announced that Janelle Elias has been selected as the vice president of strategy and advancement.

“I am honored to lead the strategy and advancement division and be part of Rio Salado's future,” Elias said. “Rio is widely recognized as a disruptive innovator in higher education, and the college is uniquely positioned to anticipate the needs of its students and workforce, locally and nationally."

In 2019, Elias was selected as the interim vice president of strategic initiatives and national division at Rio Salado.  

As vice president of strategy and advancement, Elias will serve as the chief strategy officer of the college. She will be responsible for developing, communicating, executing, and sustaining strategic initiatives and providing oversight for institutional effectiveness, national expansion, development, and marketing. 

“Janelle has done an outstanding job serving the college by supporting the division and providing inclusive leadership in shepherding us through the implementation of our new college mission, vision, values, and strategic plan,” said Rio Salado College President Kate Smith. “Under her leadership, the National Division has increased student enrollment, completion, and satisfaction, as well as transfer pathways and corporate partnerships.” 

Elias brings more than 22 years of experience in online program management, assessment, accreditation, and educational technology expertise to the role. 

Previously, Elias served as the director of enterprise performance at the Maricopa Community Colleges district office. She has held many higher education leadership positions including dean of institutional effectiveness and innovation, associate dean of institutional integrity, director of accreditation, and assistant dean of college of information systems and technology.

Elias actively publishes and presents on best practices in outcomes assessment, digital teaching and learning, leadership and innovation. She also teaches online courses in information technology, organizational management, and entrepreneurship.

A native of rural Wisconsin, Elias is a first-generation community college graduate from Chandler-Gilbert Community College, and credits her unique experiences navigating the educational system as the fuel to her passion for serving students. 

Elias holds a master’s degree in adult education and Distance Learning from University of Phoenix, and a bachelor’s degree in English literature from Georgia Southern University.

“I’ve experienced first-hand the transformative power that community colleges have on students' lives, the trajectory of their families, and their communities in Arizona and across the country,” Elias said. “My personal mission reflects Rio's commitment to empower humans through high quality, accessible education. I look forward to being able to continue that service.”

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