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Dr. Andrea Backman Named President of Strayer University

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Aug 03, 2021
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Following a national search, the Strayer University Board of Trustees has appointed Dr. Andrea Backman president of Strayer University. As president, Andrea will develop and oversee programs and innovations to help students succeed and receive a return on their educational investment.

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Dr. Andrea Backman, president of Strayer University (Photo: Business Wire)

Founded in 1892, Strayer has a long history of providing innovative, relevant programs for working adults seeking to advance in their jobs and careers, regardless of their life circumstances.

Dr. Backman has served as the university’s acting president since November 2020. Additionally, Andrea previously served as the chief employability officer for Strayer’s parent company, Strategic Education, Inc. In that role she worked to ensure a return on educational investment for students at both Strayer and Capella Universities. Andrea has also served in senior leadership positions at Jack Welch Management Institute, University of Virginia and DePaul University.

“We are pleased to welcome Dr. Andrea Backman as the president of Strayer University. Through her leadership in higher education, as well as her own background as a single mother and one of the first in her family to attend college, she has a deep understanding of the barriers students can face when seeking higher education,” said Dr. Charlotte Beason, chair of the Strayer University Board of Trustees.

Strayer is dedicated to supporting busy, working adult students. The average age of a Strayer student is 34 and most are female (72%). Many are juggling work, child care and other responsibilities.

“I’m thrilled that Dr. Backman has been named president of Strayer University by the board of trustees. Andrea has a legacy of understanding the unique needs of Strayer students to upskill or reskill quickly to get a return on their educational investment,” said Strategic Education, Inc. CEO Karl McDonnell. “In her new role she will continue her work to make education more accessible to all and support the economic mobility of Strayer students.”

“I am proud to serve as the president of a university that is accessible to anyone who wants to advance their education and their career, and I will continue to find innovative ways to support our students in their pursuit of economic mobility,” said Dr. Backman. “I also recognize the importance of this role in a post-pandemic world in which many working adults who left the workforce are pursuing education to change or advance their careers. It is imperative that Strayer support their educational and career success.”

In her previous role as chief employability officer, Andrea established protocols and programs to help Strayer and Capella students receive a return on their educational investment. These included: career readiness initiatives; opportunities for reduced cost and time to complete a degree; a new general education curriculum that teaches essential employability skills, such as communication, self and social awareness, initiative and problem solving; and an advisory council made up of thought leaders focused on the future of work and learning.

In addition to her role as president, Andrea will chair the employability and student return on investment work at Strategic Education, Inc.

About Strayer University: Founded in 1892, Strayer University is an institution of higher learning for working adult students. It offers undergraduate and graduate degree programs in business administration, accounting, information technology, education, health services administration, public administration, and criminal justice. Strayer University is an accredited institution and a member of the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), Strayer University’s accreditation status is Accreditation Reaffirmed. MSCHE most recently reaffirmed Strayer University’s accreditation status in June 2017, with the next self-study evaluation scheduled for the 2025–2026 academic year. MSCHE is an institutional accrediting agency recognized by the U.S. Secretary of Education and the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA). For more information, visit


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