National University, California’s second-largest private, nonprofit university, announced today the appointment of Dr. Allyson Handley as Executive Director of the Sanford Education Center, which is scheduled to formally launch Sept. 18. Handley who is currently President of the University of Maine at Augusta has an extensive background in higher education public policy and leadership, and holds a Doctor of Education degree from Johns Hopkins University. In her new role at the Sanford Education Center she will oversee the development and national implementation of three programs that address critical needs in the nonprofit and education sectors. She will join National University and the Center in mid-September.
As Executive Director of the Sanford Education Center at National University, Dr. Handley will provide key leadership in carrying out the mission of the Center, which was established in January 2014 with a $1 million inaugural gift from philanthropist and businessman Thomas Denny Sanford. The Center, based in La Jolla, Calif., also recently received an additional anonymous gift of $9.22 million dollars.
“We are extremely pleased to announce that Allyson Handley, a proven leader in higher education policy and institutional development, is joining us as Executive Director of the Sanford Education Center to lead the national implementation of programs that are dedicated to A Better Tomorrow,” said National University President Michael R. Cunningham. “Her expertise and demonstrated results in strategic initiatives will ensure the success of the Sanford Education Center’s mission, which is aligned with National University’s commitment to serve the public good.”
The Center offers three programs that Handley will oversee. The Sanford Inspire Program, designed for integration into teacher education programs, provides teachers with proven pedagogical tools and strategies to create an interactive, inspiring environment that encourages student learning at all grade levels through 12th grade. The Sanford Harmony Program empowers teachers to foster healthier relationships between girls and boys at the Pre-K through 6th grade level and into adulthood, resulting in an improved learning experience, stronger academic performance, an improved attitude toward school, and reduced classroom aggression. The Sanford Institute of Philanthropy will train existing and future nonprofit leaders in state-of-the-art relationship building and fundraising techniques through stackable workshops, certificates and master’s programs in nonprofit leadership.
Dr. Handley’s appointment marks a return to National University for Handley who during the ‘90s served as Dean of the School of Education and Human Services, Vice President of University Advancement, and Vice President for Development and Alumni Relations. Prior to her current post at the University of Maine at Augusta, Dr. Handley was President of Midway College in Midway, Kentucky and President of Cogswell College in Sunnyvale, Calif. She also has served as the Kentucky Governor’s Executive Cabinet Secretary, providing public policy oversight for nine Cabinets, and as Senior Policy Advisor for Postsecondary Economic Development Initiatives, also in Kentucky.
Dr. Handley has extensive professional and community affiliations. She has served as Chair of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance Board of Directors, Chair of the Maine Higher Education Council and Chair of the International Women’s Forum, to name a few. She has taught at the University of San Diego, Johns Hopkins University, and McGill University in Canada, and she has been an invited speaker on a range of education topics at national and international conferences.
About National University
Founded in 1971, National University is the second-largest private, nonprofit institution of higher education in California. With 30,000 students and more than 140,000 alumni, National University is the flagship institution of the National University System. National University is dedicated to making lifelong learning opportunities accessible, challenging, and relevant to a diverse population of students. Five schools and one college – the College of Letters and Sciences; the School of Business and Management; the School of Education; the School of Engineering and Computing; the School of Health and Human Services; and the School of Professional Studies – offer 133 graduate and undergraduate degrees and 23 teacher credentials. Programs are offered at more than 45 locations throughout California and across the nation, and are also available online. National University is headquartered in La Jolla, California.