Meet Russ Mills, LERN Consultant

Fri, Jan 30,2015 @ 08:30 AM
by Dr. Layne J. Harpine |

millsRuss Mills is one of North America’s leading experts in successfully running continuing education programs. While the Dean of Continuing Education at Harper College in Illinois, Mills turned a significant deficit into a $500,000 surplus using LERN course programming, marketing, contract sales, and operations best practices.

Besides being an expert in managing entrepreneurial, revenue generating, self-supporting community outreach, and continuing education programs, Mills is experienced in program design, development, implementation, and program analysis. His other areas of expertise include staffing and organizational management, increased productivity through reengineering, strategic planning, program accountability, and program visibility.

As a member of the LERN Consulting Team, Mills has served as an interim leader for continuing education programs in leadership transition, committed to improving their efficiency, productivity, and bottom-line. Mills’ last five interim assignments include:

  • Pratt Institute, Brooklyn, NY;   Acting Dean for Continuing and Professional Studies
  • University of Central Oklahoma, Edmond, OK;   Educational Consultant for Continuing Education
  • Hawkeye Community College, Waterloo, IA;   Interim Director of Business and Community Education
  • Tulsa Community College, Tulsa, OK;   Interim Dean for Continuing Education
  • City Colleges of Chicago, Chicago, IL;   District Director for Continuing Education

For five months, Mills served as the interim Dean of Continuing Education at Tulsa Community College. He worked with the continuing education program to reorganize and implement various LERN models and best practices, including the pursuit of becoming self-supportive. Mills also assisted with community outreach to increase contract training contracts and awareness for businesses. Finally, he assisted with the recruitment of his replacement, including writing the job description and sitting in on the search committee. When the new Dean was hired, Mills went back to Tulsa Community College to help with transition and training.

“He provided steady leadership and direction to the staff and enhanced the CE programs’ credibility and visibility throughout the institution,” said Donna Wood, Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Tulsa Community College. “He provided invaluable insight during the search process to ensure that we would select the best permanent Dean. Finally, Russ spent several days introducing the new Dean to the institution and training her regarding industry standards at Tulsa Community College. Outstanding job!”

At a meeting of LERN’s Consulting Team, Russ Mills discussed the reasons why having a LERN consultant as an interim staff leader benefits the continuing education program. “The second decade has been a challenging time for continuing education programs, especially with significant change going on within higher education. An interim staff leader provides an outsiders point of view and with connections to the institutions’ leadership, garners support and resources for the continuing education program,” reported Mills.

For more information on the benefits of a LERN interim leader, read Mills’ update.

Interim leadership is a service available through LERN. As the largest association of continuing education providers in the world, LERN provides practical, how-to “Information That Works!” Founded in 1974, LERN is a nonprofit association whose mission is to help continuing education increase lifelong learning opportunities and participation.

For more information about LERN interim services, contact Layne Harpine at


Free report: Why Continuing Education  Units Need Business Intelligence



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