Board of Trustees
Carolyn L. Baker, MA (Chair)
Carolyn Baker joined the board January 2014. Carolyn recently retired from Federal Service and now works as a consultant. She has over 30 years of senior management experience at military installations, major commands, and Department of Defense levels of operation. She has worked in the Pentagon, Army major commands headquarters, and on military installations in the United States and overseas. Prior to retirement she was the Chief of Voluntary Education Programs for the Defense Department, with responsibilities including the management, planning, direction and policy implementation for adult, non-traditional, voluntary higher education programs, to include the military tuition assistance program for military members and their spouses. Additionally, she chaired and served on numerous government interagencies, (Veterans Affairs, Department of Education, Defense and Justice) professional steering committees, and task forces on military education programs and services. She has also worked with presidential and congressional staff on issues related to military voluntary education, distance learning, and transition assistance programs. She earned her undergraduate degree from the University of Hawaii, and her Master’s in Guidance and Counseling from Troy State University, Alabama.
Donald M. Bird, PhD
Dr. Don Bird was a member of the Colorado School of Professional Psychology's (CSOPP) Board of Directors from 2001 and has chaired the Board since December 2002. Bridgepoint Education, Inc. acquired CSOPP in September 2007 and renamed it University of the Rockies. Dr. Bird's PhD in Chemistry is from the University of Colorado, and for many years he has served as a chemistry professor at the US Air Force Academy. A retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel, Dr. Bird is also Chair of the Board of the Air Academy Federal Credit Union, and he is active in many civic and social organizations in the Pikes Peak Region. Among his notable accomplishments, Dr. Bird is a long time Consultant-Evaluator for The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association.
Deborah G. Blue, PhD
Dr. Deborah Blue joined the Board in January 2009. Dr. Blue's career in K-12 and higher education spans over 30 years. She has served in educational administrative roles in a number of community college districts in the Northern California region. In addition, Dr. Blue was the Vice President of Policy and Research for the Accrediting Commission for Junior Colleges, Western Association of Schools and Colleges. Currently, Dr. Blue serves as Chancellor Emeritus of the State Center Community College District (SCCCD). She has presented in the area of community college accreditation and is also a published author in higher education. Dr. Blue holds a Bachelor's degree in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Western Michigan University, and a Master's and PhD in Speech and Hearing Sciences from University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
James Dickey, MA
James Dickey joined the Board in February 2017. Mr. Dickey, a retired transportation professional, currently serves as a classroom university instructor, teaching both in classrooms and one-on-one settings. In this role, Mr. Dickey provides training for public transportation managers on a range of topics to include budget management, personnel relations, leadership, and compliance. In addition, Mr. Dickey’s experience in education includes nine years as an elected public school governing board member. In this role, he prioritized multi-million dollar budgets and resources for public schools according to state and local requirements and priorities. Prior to, Mr. Dickey served as a middle and high school instructor for 12 years. Mr. Dickey holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in education from University of Central Missouri.
Dawn Iwamoto, Ed.D.
President and Chief Executive Officer
Dr. Dawn Iwamoto joined University of the Rockies in September 2015. She brings more than 30 years of experience in a broad range of educational settings. Most recently, she served as Executive Vice President and Chief Academic Officer for Education Corporation of America. In this role, she was principal advisor to the Chief Executive Officer on all academic matters and strategic initiatives covering 81 programs, 34 campuses, and 15,000 students. Previously, Dr. Iwamoto was the Senior Vice President/Interim Provost at University of Phoenix, where she was responsible for the academic oversight of the University’s associate, bachelor, master, and doctoral programs. She also was a founding Dean of University of Phoenix’s School of Advanced Studies.
Currently, Dr. Iwamoto serves as a Peer Reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, as well as the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools. She is a Consulting Editor for the peer-reviewed International Journal of Special Education and has experience with programmatic accreditation in the areas of education, technology, business, nursing, and counseling. Dr. Iwamoto also has significant faculty experience teaching students online and in the classroom.
Dr. Iwamoto holds a bachelor’s degree in Elementary and Special Education from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Education from Northern Arizona University, and a doctorate in Education from Northern Arizona University.
Rita A. Jordan, PhD
Dr. Rita A. Jordan joined the board in January 2015. Dr. Jordan is currently an affiliate professor at Regis University and an adjunct faculty member of University of Colorado, Colorado Springs (UCCS). She has over 30 years of experience working both in and for the military. She has served in many educational administration roles at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, CO in addition to having taught at the Air Force Institute of Technology (AFIT) as well as UCCS. She has served on and chaired several boards and committees including the Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International, U.S. Coast Guard Academy Advisory Board, the Dept. of Leadership and Management, the Dean’s Faculty Finance and Budget Committee, and the AFIT Academic Review Board. She has presented in the area of organizational leadership and is a published author in the field. Dr. Jordan received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Case Western Reserve Arts (OH), her Master of Arts degree from Louisiana Tech University, and her Doctor of Philosophy in Business Administration from University of Colorado.
Eric Lee, PhD
Dr. Eric Lee joined the Board in March 2011. Dr. Lee currently serves as the Executive Director of the Colorado Community College Online. Prior to joining the Colorado Community College System, Dr. Lee served as the President and CEO of the Colorado Black Chamber of Commerce from 2009-2013. Dr. Lee’s higher education experience includes serving as Assistant to the President at Suffolk University, where he was a member of the President’s Executive Cabinet. Lee worked with the President and Provost on matters related to institutional research, information technology, strategic planning, and institutional diversity. He also taught in the Sawyer Business School and the College of Arts & Sciences. Dr. Lee earned his Bachelor of Science and Master’s degree from Wayne State College (NE), and his PhD from the University of Nebraska.
Tom McCarty, MBA
Tom McCarty has served on the Board since January 2016. He is currently Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing at Bridgepoint Education. As Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Mr. McCarty oversees all marketing efforts supporting Bridgepoint’s mission to provide innovative solutions that advance learning. Prior to joining Bridgepoint in 2017, Tom led his own marketing and management consulting firm, where he helped companies find opportunities for growth and focus their efforts to improve performance utilizing his deep experience in general management, sales, marketing, strategy and analytics. His clients ranged from institutions of higher education to medium-sized businesses and non-profits. Before becoming a marketing and management consultant, Tom was Senior Vice President of Strategy and Product Marketing for University of Phoenix, a subsidiary of Apollo Group. There he transformed education's largest internet advertising program, driving a 20% improvement in performance in a multi-hundred million dollar spend. He also did groundbreaking work in marketing analytics, predictive modeling, segmentation, program planning and development, and branding, pricing, and media research. Prior to Apollo, Tom led Aptimus as the general manager of the education business to become a top education lead platform and helped sell it to University of Phoenix, its largest client. Earlier in his career, he led successful Internet and direct marketing businesses and demonstrated a consistent track record as a top sales person. He has experience leading teams in entrepreneurial ventures and managing sales teams to profitable growth. Tom earned his MBA in marketing from San Francisco State University and a bachelor’s degree from University of California, Berkeley.
David Paris, PhD
Dr. David C. Paris joined the board in October 2013. He is Vice President for Integrative Liberal Learning and the Global Commons at the Association of American Colleges and Universities. Dr. Paris oversees programs on curricular development and global learning. From 2009-2013, he was the Executive Director of the New Leadership Alliance for Student Learning and Accountability, which sought to create shared norms for assessing student learning and to establish improved practices for assessment and accountability throughout American higher education. Prior to that, he was a Professor of Government and Dean of the Faculty at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York. His scholarly work includes articles and books on education policy, political thought, and democratic theory. Dr. Paris received his MA and PhD from Syracuse University.
Karen A. Smith, CPA, PhD
Dr. Karen Smith joined the Board in January 2016. Dr. Smith brings more than 20 years of financial and higher education leadership to the Board. As a finance executive in both publicly- and privately-held companies, Dr. Smith brings her experience in financial management, information technology, accounting, and operations. Her knowledge provides the Board with broad expertise in financial and operational best practices, particularly in economically complex and competitive environments. As a Board Director at Quadrem (a technology company now part of Ariba/SAP), she helped guide the company's strategic expansion into new industries. Dr. Smith’s professional experience in higher education began as a MBA and undergraduate accounting faculty member at the W.P. Carey School of Business at Arizona State University and has continued in both online and traditional instruction and curriculum development adjunct positions at several not-for-profit and for-profit institutions. Dr. Smith’s finance leadership at Apollo Education Group brought greater clarity to the expected and real academic and financial returns of strategic and operational initiatives. Dr. Smith holds a Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of Delaware and a PhD in Accounting and Quantitative Methods from the University of Texas at Austin. Dr. Smith is a Certified Public Accountant in the State of Arizona.