Outgoing CEO at SNHI Anticipates that AI Will Be Deeply Disruptive

IBL News | New York

Paul J. LeBlanc, President and CEO of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), who will step down on June 30, 2024, anticipates that the next disruptive wave will be AI. “AI means universities must change dramatically,” he said to The Boston Globe last week.

Paul J. LeBlanc plans to work with a team of six researchers to study emerging AI trends, impacts on education, and opportunities to innovate. He persuaded researcher George Siemens to leave his post and join the team as chief scientist, he revealed to EdSurge.

The group is working on a learning platform as well as setting up to build a massive data consortium in higher-ed, scheduled to be launched in April 2024 at the ASU-GSV conference. 

• “I think AI will do to knowledge work — or white-collar jobs if you prefer — what automation did to blue-collar jobs,” he says. “It’s going to be deeply disruptive and displace a lot of people, and we’re going to have to adapt around that.”

• “There are also bigger questions about what jobs will go away and what jobs will be created, which influences the fields of study schools will offer.”

• “In the not-so-distant future, professionals will be judged less by what they know and more by what they can do with what they know, LeBlanc said.”

Paul J. LeBlanc led SNHU through major growth in his two decades, transforming a school with 2,500 students in 2003 to more than 225,000 learners, the vast majority of them online, that it serves today.

The Board of Trustees unanimously voted to appoint Lisa Marsh Ryerson as President for a two-year term, effective July 1, 2024.