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Dr. John
O'Brien

Director

Since 2015, Dr. John O’Brien has served as president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit organization seeking to inspire the transformation of higher education in service to a greater good. Throughout his career in higher education, Dr. O’Brien has played key leadership roles as faculty, as a technology leader, community college provost and president, and system provost for the fifth largest system in the U.S.  

At EDUCAUSE, Dr. O’Brien oversees a dynamic membership comprising over 2,000 colleges, universities, and organizations across 41 countries that, in turn, collectively serve over 14 million students. His passion for technology innovation in higher education is deeply rooted in a diverse career that includes roles as a faculty leader in instructional technology, deputy chief information officer, and senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. In 2009, Dr. O’Brien implemented strategic changes to enhance student success through the state-wide Students First initiative, to redesign online systems to the benefit of students.  

Dr. O’Brien has dedicated much of his leadership career to two-year institutions, both community colleges and comprehensive colleges. Beginning his career teaching English at Normandale Community College, he eventually became a provost and acting president at Century College and president at North Hennepin Community College, a Minority-Serving Institution near Minneapolis. 

Dr. O’Brien’s understanding of the unique challenges and opportunities within community, technical, and comprehensive colleges has significantly shaped his leadership philosophy and his belief in the promise of higher education. 

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