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Valorie Coleman
Public Relations Director
College of the Ozarks
Point Lookout, MO 65726
Office: (417) 690-2212

August 15, 2017

Dr. Eric Bolger, College of the Ozarks vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, named to Executive Leadership Academy for Council of Independent Colleges

Dr. Eric Bolger

POINT LOOKOUT, MO—Dr. Eric Bolger, vice president for academic affairs and dean of College of the Ozarks, has been chosen for the 2017–2018 Executive Leadership Academy through the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC).

Bolger was one of 24 senior-level administrators in higher education nationwide selected by the CIC to participate in the Academy.

Individuals chosen for the yearlong program are vice presidents or cabinet officers in higher education who aspire to the presidency of an independent college or university. Bolger participated in the first of two seminars in Washington, D.C. on July 20–22, 2017, and the closing seminar will be held June 18–20, 2018. He also will engage in readings, webinars, and a mentoring program. In addition, he will develop and follow an experiential learning plan focused on specific areas of presidential responsibility.

The Academy is designed to prepare provosts and other vice presidents to serve as effective college presidents.

“Competition for the available places in the program was intense,” said CIC President Richard Ekman. “The review committee found the nomination materials to be most impressive. They (and I) believe that Dean Bolger has the potential for highly effective leadership as a college or university president.”

“Dr. Bolger is very important to the operation of College of the Ozarks. His focus and demeanor have been fundamental to the College’s success,” said President Jerry C. Davis. “He is dedicated to helping the College carry out its mission and all of its programs, especially academic. Dr. Bolger’s quiet leadership insures his influence is meaningful and long lasting.”

Bolger is vice president for academic affairs (June 2015 to present) and dean of the College (June 2011 to present) at College of the Ozarks. He serves as the chief academic officer for the College, including oversight of the Divisions of Business, Applied, and Technical Sciences; Education and Health; Human and Social Services; Humanities; Mathematics, Science, and Engineering; and Performing and Professional Arts. He is responsible for all accreditation and assessment activities at the College and has served as director of strategic planning since 2001. Bolger also provides administrative leadership for the registrar, the Athletic Program, the Child Development Center, the library, the Writing Center, and the radio station.

Bolger received his Master of Divinity (1989) and Doctor of Philosophy in Theological Studies: Old Testament (1993) from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, having earned a Bachelor of Arts in Chemistry from the University of California, San Diego, in 1982. He received a Doctor of Worship Studies degree in 2001 from the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies and did graduate work in pharmacology at the University of Iowa. In addition, he has participated in executive leadership development programs, including the Harvard Institute for Educational Management and the Executive Leadership Academy sponsored by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities and the Council of Independent Colleges.

Fifty-nine percent of participants in the first CIC Executive Leadership Academy cohort (2009–2010) have since advanced in the higher education ranks, and 24 percent of participants in a recent cohort (2015–2016) have already “moved up” in the ranks.

“These indicators suggest that CIC is helping to meet the leadership needs of higher education by offering highly effective leadership development programs for modest fees to member institutions,” Ekman said.

The Academy is co-sponsored by CIC, the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI), Academic Search, Inc., and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Linda M. Bleicken, president of AALI, will direct the program.

More about Dr. Eric Bolger

After joining the college’s faculty in 1992 as Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Religion, Dr. Bolger worked through the academic ranks to the levels of Associate and Full Professor. As a faculty member, he served as Division Chair of Humanities, Chair of the General Education Committee, Assistant Dean of the College, and Director of Academic Assessment. He regularly teaches courses in the Department of Biblical and Theological studies.

Bolger is actively involved in institutional accreditation activities. He has directed three institutional self-studies, two for the Higher Learning Commission (2001 and 2010) and one for the Transnational Association of Colleges and Schools (2017). He is a member of the Peer Corps for the Higher Learning Commission, having served on six accreditation evaluation teams, and is training to become a Team Chair for the Peer Corps. He is also a member of the Annual Conference Committee for the Higher Learning Commission.

Recognizing the value of community service, Dr. Bolger has been active in local church leadership, including serving as an elder, associate pastor of worship, and pastor over the past 22 years. Other local community activities include serving as a member of the Silver Dollar City Foundation board, coaching youth sports, and volunteering at the Boys and Girls Club. He taught master’s level classes at the Robert E. Webber Institute for Worship Studies for 12 years, where he also served as academic dean and currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors.

Bolger has been married for 36 years to his wife Janet. Together they have three sons, two daughters-in-law, and three grand-daughters.

CIC Executive Leadership Academy Participants, 2017-2018

Allen Bedord, Bryn Athyn College (PA)
Eric Bolger, College of the Ozarks (MO)
Bryan Coker, Goucher College (MD)
John Dolan, Simmons College (MA)
Julie Edstrom, University of Great Falls (MT)
Kerry Fulcher, Point Loma Nazarene University (CA)
Matthew Giordano, Villa Maria College (NY)
Carl Girelli, Randolph College (VA)
Anna Gonzalez, Lewis & Clark College (OR)
Larry Guerrero, University of the Southwest (NM)
Patricia Hammer, Hollins University (VA)
Calvin Hill, Springfield College (MA)
Wayne Knox, Huston-Tillotson University (TX)
Sarah Kottich, College of Saint Mary (NE)
Gerald Longjohn, Cornerstone University (MI)
Douglas Palmer, Walsh University (OH)
William Pieczynski, Nichols College (MA)
John Pyle, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota (MN)
Hannelore Rodriguez-Farrar, Dominican University of California (CA)
Thomas Sanders, East Texas Baptist University (TX)
William Sheehan, Culver-Stockton College (MO)
Scott Sheffield, Brevard College (NC)
Charles Smith, Wiley College (TX)
Tarek Sobh, University of Bridgeport (CT)

About The Council of Independent Colleges

The Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) is an association of 768 nonprofit independent colleges and universities and higher education affiliates and organizations that has worked since 1956 to support college and university leadership, advance institutional excellence, and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society. CIC is the major national organization that focuses on providing services to leaders of independent colleges and universities as well as conferences, seminars, and other programs that help institutions to improve educational quality, administrative and financial performance, and institutional visibility. CIC conducts the largest annual conferences of college and university presidents and of chief academic officers. CIC also provides support to state associations that organize programs and generate contributions for their member colleges and universities. The Council is headquartered at One Dupont Circle in Washington, D.C.

Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI) is committed to the broad development and support of leadership in higher education by creating and implementing programs and other forms of assistance that enable academic leaders in various administrative positions to be successful in their roles and to advance to higher positions of responsibility. AALI prepares leaders for private and public higher education through programs operated in partnership with CIC and AASCU. The Becoming a Provost Academy, with AASCU, and the Senior Leadership Academy, with CIC, prepare mid-level administrators for vice presidencies. The Executive Leadership Academy, conducted with both AASCU and CIC, prepares vice presidents for presidencies. AALI is supported by Academic Search, Inc.

Academic Search, Inc. is an executive search firm dedicated to serving higher education institutions and related organizations and is the only search firm in the nation with a formal relationship to a premier leadership development program. Based in Washington, D.C., it is the wholly owned subsidiary of the American Academic Leadership Institute (AALI). This relationship strengthens the ongoing commitment by Academic Search to leadership development as well as the identification of outstanding candidates for positions. Academic Search provides substantial financial support to CIC’s signature leadership programs, including the Executive Leadership Academy and Senior Leadership Academy, through grants by AALI.

For more information about the Executive Leadership Academy, visit

For additional information, contact Public Relations Director Valorie Coleman, at (417) 690-2212.

About College of the Ozarks

College of the Ozarks is a private, Christian, liberal arts college, located in Point Lookout, Missouri, on a 1,000-acre campus. Christian values, hard work, and financial responsibility comprise the fundamental building blocks of the “Hard Work U.” experience. The College earns numerous accolades yearly, including a No. Best Value Regional College in the Midwest ranking by U.S. News and World Report for 2017. To achieve its vision, the College pursues academic, vocational, Christian, patriotic, and cultural goals. These goals are mirrored in School of the Ozarks, a laboratory school that completes the K-college model.

The Keeter Center—the College’s award-winning lodge, restaurant, and conference facility—was ranked a Top Small Hotel in the U.S. by TripAdvisor for 2017. It features historic lodging, fine dining, and meeting rooms. With more than 350 student workers, it is the largest work station on campus. Follow College of the Ozarks at or on Twitter @CofOHardWorkU.




08.15.17 – Valorie Coleman


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