Press Release

Rasmussen College Welcomes Andrea Backman, Ph.D. As New Chief Academic Officer

Backman brings extensive higher education experience to Rasmussen College and will oversee academic development and advancement

January 18, 2012

Erin Werthman
Media: (866) 257-8253
Mobile: 413-636-6758

MINNEAPOLIS, Minn. (January 18, 2012) – Rasmussen College today announced the appointment of Andrea Backman, Ph.D. as the new Chief Academic Officer of the College. Dr. Backman will oversee all educational affairs and activities at Rasmussen College, including new programmatic research and development, as well as faculty engagement.

“We are very excited and fortunate to have Andrea join the Rasmussen College team. She is a proven leader in the higher education industry and has always been on the forefront of taking academics to new levels through faculty development, technology and innovative teaching platforms,” said Rasmussen College President Kristi Waite. “Her focus on instruction methodologies and faculty engagement will positively impact the academic experience we provide our students, and help take our programmatic and degree offerings to the next level.”

Prior to joining Rasmussen College, Dr. Backman served as the Director of New Program Development and Academic Approvals at the University of Virginia's School of Continuing and Professional Studies.  In this role, she oversaw the approval of credit and non-credit courses and programs to ensure rigor and compliance with accreditation standards. She also worked closely with instructional design staff to build and strengthen online learning programs.

Dr. Backman also served as the Senior Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs at Strayer University. During her tenure at Strayer University, she established the University’s Virtual Center for Teaching and Learning, developed programs to enhance the quality of instruction, and established systems that supported faculty success.   

“Higher education is consistently changing and having a leader like Andrea – an individual who has helped institutions navigate and implement change – is a great benefit to Rasmussen College,” said Chairman of Rasmussen College Board of Directors Dr. Henry Bienen. “I am excited about the ideas and direction that she will bring to the College.”

Prior to her tenure at the University of Virginia, Dr. Backman served as the Associate Director of the Center for Distance Education at DePaul University in Chicago. In this role, she provided strategic leadership for the University’s first online degree program and helped to establish DePaul’s Center for Distance Education.

Dr. Backman holds a Ph.D. in Higher Education from the University of Virginia, a Master’s degree from DePaul University, and her undergraduate degree from the Pennsylvania State University.

For more information on Rasmussen College, visit

Rasmussen College is a regionally accredited private college and Public Benefit Corporation that is dedicated to changing lives through high-demand educational programs and public service. Rasmussen College offers Certificate and Diploma programs through Associate's and Bachelor's degrees online and across its 24 Midwest and Florida campuses in a supportive, student-centered and career-focused environment. Since 1900, Rasmussen College has been dedicated to being a primary contributor to the growth and development of the communities it serves. As a Benefit Corporation, Rasmussen College is committed to helping change lives through education and making a positive impact on society through public service and a variety of community-based initiatives. For more information about Rasmussen College, please visit

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