David Clinefelter

Vice Provost for Academic Operations, The University of the People

Headshot of David Clinefelter

Dr. David Clinefelter’s career spans all levels of education, from K-12 to higher education. Between 2011 and 2016, Dave served as the Chief Academic Officer at Learning House. Prior to joining Learning House, he began his career at the postsecondary level as a professor at the University of Nebraska Omaha and a lecturer at the Ohio State University. Then he became the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Graceland University, a liberal arts institution in Iowa. From 1996 to 1997, Dr. Clinefelter was an ACE Fellow, and his host institution was Northwest Missouri State University. At the conclusion of his fellowship year, he became President of Graceland and served in that capacity for six years. Graceland is an entrepreneurial institution, having developed the first accredited distance learning program in nursing. The university also owns a subsidiary named SkillPath Seminars, a training company that provides one-day seminars throughout the United States. Dave served as Chair of the Board of Directors for SkillPath.

He made the move to for-profit higher education in 2002 when he joined Kaplan University as Provost. Over the following eight years, the university grew from 1,500 to more than 68,000 students with approximately 4,000 faculty members. Degree programs grew from a handful of associate degrees and one bachelor’s degree to more than 80 associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees. While the majority of students were enrolled in online programs, the university also added nine campuses. Dave joined Walden University in 2010 as Chief Academic Officer. Walden was established in 1970 as an alternative institution for doctoral education and continues to be primarily a graduate institution with approximately 45,000 online students.