Dr. Elke Leeds is Dean and Academic Vice President of the College of Information Technology at Western Governors University (WGU). As a leader of one of the largest providers of IT higher education across the United States, Leeds provides an educator’s perspective on how to advance IT education and certifications at scale, helping to deplete the growing discrepancy between open IT positions and workers with the credentials to fill them.
Having begun her career in finance and earning an MBA, Leeds saw the opportunity to make an impact in the future of work and shifted her focus to IT, going on to earn her Ph.D. in Information Systems. After a 20+ year career at Kennesaw State University where she led the development of more than 70 online programs, and leading a cybersecurity workforce development team, she now sets the strategic vision for undergraduate and graduate IT degree programs at WGU. She coordinates academic and industry partnerships, ensures program quality and relevancy, and expands students’ professional opportunities. She has led the growth of the College of IT from just under 15,000 enrolled students to more than 23,000 as of July 2020—a 46% growth rate—that includes a 27% year-over-year increase in female applicants. As a leader at the university and in her profession, Leeds has consistently demonstrated the importance of more technology leadership positions being filled by women.
Leeds is active in her community, nationally, and throughout the IT industry, promoting diversity in business and education, speaking at conferences across the country, and working to bridge the gap between growing IT job demands and qualified workers. She sits on the Policy Advisory Board of CompTIA, the edX Skills Advisory Board, the Corporate Board of Utah’s Women Tech Council and the Salt Lake City Chamber’s Cybersecurity Executive Committee. In her free time, you’ll find her on the golf course trying to lower her handicap or spending time with her growing family as more and more relocate to the SLC area.