Ashford University Leadership

Ashford University's outstanding leadership has a strong background in academic administration, with a focus on continuously improving student success and academic quality. Learn more about them below.

Craig Swenson | Ashford University

Dr. Craig Swenson
Ashford University President and Chief Executive Officer

Dr. Craig Swenson joined Ashford University in May 2016. As President and Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Swenson is responsible for the overall quality and operations of Ashford University.

With more than 30 years of experience in higher education, Dr. Swenson is a recognized national leader in higher education. In 2015, Dr. Swenson served as Interim President of University of the Rockies. Prior to that, he served as Chancellor Emeritus and was a Professor of Higher Education Administration at Argosy University. He also served as Chancellor of the Argosy System for seven years and held the position of Chief Academic Officer for Education Management Corporation for several years.

Before his tenure at Argosy University, Dr. Swenson was Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs at Western Governors University. Prior to that, he served as Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs over the University of Phoenix system. At University of Phoenix, he was a Senior Regional Vice President and a Vice President/Campus Director. Dr. Swenson pursued his academic profession following a successful career as a marketing and communications executive.

Dr. Swenson is on the Board of Directors of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) and he serves on the Advisory Board for the CHEA International Quality Initiative. He is active as a peer reviewer and accreditation team chair for the Commission on Senior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.

Dr. Swenson has been a member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI), advising the U.S. Secretary of Education on matters related to accreditation and the eligibility and certification process for institutions of higher education. In addition, he has served on the Jacob K. Javits Program Fellowship Board at the U.S. Department of Education. He was a non-federal negotiator for the U.S. Department of Education Negotiated Rulemaking process in 2007. Additionally, he was a member of the U.S. Army Educational Advisory Committee, advising the Secretary of the Army on education and training matters.

Dr. Swenson earned a PhD in Education with an emphasis in Adult and Organizational Learning at Walden University, a master’s degree in Organizational Communication from Brigham Young University, and a bachelor’s degree in Journalism and Mass Communications from the University of Utah.

Sheri Jones
Senior Vice President of University Services & Strategic Planning

Sheri Jones joined the Ashford University team in November 2005. As Senior Vice President of University Services & Strategic Planning, she oversees student-related functional areas, including policy and strategy management, institutional effectiveness, student affairs, and registrar functions. She also provides executive leadership to the Military and Veteran Student Services Task force and oversees military and veteran related operations and outreach. Ms. Jones is Secretary of the Ashford University Board of Trustees and the primary liaison to shared services provided to Ashford University by Bridgepoint Education.

Ms. Jones' career in higher education spans more than 25 years. Before her promotion to Senior Vice President of University Services and Strategic Planning, she served as Vice President of Administrative Services. In this role, Ms. Jones was responsible for the creation of three essential functional areas related to Ashford's online student modality: the Office of Institutional Research, the Office of Policy and Implementation, and a team specializing in Online Student and Alumni Affairs, including Disability Services and Career Services. She has participated in a number of additional projects which demonstrate her fluency in licensure, accreditation and legal compliance; information system planning and implementation; and the institutionalization of modern academic policies and procedures.

Ms. Jones' career in higher education has been dedicated to providing student services for non-traditional programs focused on meeting the unique needs of adult learners. Prior to joining the Ashford University team, Ms. Jones served in various leadership positions in higher education, including Director of Student Services and Administration for Argosy University in Sarasota, Florida; and Director of Student Services for the Georgia School of Professional Psychology in Atlanta, Georgia.

Ms. Jones is a member of the Society for College and University Planners (SCUP), American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO), Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA), the National Association of Student Financial Aid Administrators (NASFAA), the Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), the Association for Institutional Research (AIR), the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), and the National Career Development Association (NCDA).

She also serves on the Board of Directors for the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce: Defense Veterans and Military Affairs Committee and the Economic Development Center Foundation.

Ms. Jones holds an M.S. in Education with a Specialization in Leadership for Higher Education from Capella University in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and a B.S. in Psychology from Averett University in Danville, Virginia.


Dr. Laura Palmer Noone
Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer

Dr. Laura Palmer Noone joined Ashford University as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer in September 2016. She is responsible for all aspects of Ashford’s academics and the academic mission.

Prior to serving as Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Palmer Noone served as Executive Dean and then Provost of University of the Rockies. In 2015, she served as the Interim Executive Dean of the Forbes School of Business ®. She has also served as a university provost and university president. She brings a national reputation as a higher education thought leader and speaker, and has served higher education associations as a board member, including her current role as a Board of Directors of the Lumina Foundation.

Dr. Palmer Noone received her Doctor of Philosophy from The Union Institute, her Juris Doctor and MBA from University of Iowa, and bachelor’s degree from University of Dubuque.

Jim Smith
Vice President of Finance

Jim Smith joined Ashford University as Vice President of Finance in February 2014. In this role, Mr. Smith is responsible for managing the annual budget process, overseeing the quarterly forecasting process, and performing monthly and quarterly variance analyses and reports in support of Ashford’s objectives.

Mr. Smith brings to Ashford more than 18 years of experience in finance. Most recently, he served as the Vice President of Finance for Bridgepoint Education. Previously, he held several financial roles at Dresser Wayne and Wayne, GE Energy, both in the United States and in England. He also worked in the finance departments at Dell and Qualcomm.

Mr. Smith earned his BS in Business Administration with an emphasis in Finance from San Diego State University. He currently serves on the Board of Directors for Chelsea’s Light Foundation.

Senior Management


Kirk Morrison
Vice President, University Registrar

Kirk Morrison has been with Ashford University since 2008. As the University Registrar, Mr. Morrison organizes and administers the admission, articulation, transfer, matriculation, records, registration, and graduation functions. He also oversees the development, implementation, and monitoring of academic policies to ensure compliance with regulations applicable to the higher education environment.

Mr. Morrison brings more than 14 years of experience in private sector education to Ashford University. Prior to joining Ashford, he served as the Director of Academic Operations and Compliance/University Registrar at Career Education Corporation. He was also the Director of Academic Records at the Sanford Brown Institute and the Director of Student Management at American InterContinental University.

Mr. Morrison holds an MBA in Management and a BA in Information Technology from American InterContinental University.


Bridget McGuire
Senior Vice President, Financial Aid & Services

Bridget McGuire joined Ashford University in May 2014 as Senior Vice President, Financial Aid & Services. In this role, she is responsible for proper development, administration, compliance, and oversight of all financial services programs, including third-party vendor relationships with federal, state, and local agencies. Ms. McGuire also ensures compliance with regulatory and institutional policies and procedures to maintain Ashford’s continuous eligibility for financial assistance programs.

Ms. McGuire has more than 20 years of student finance experience in the proprietary higher education industry. In past roles, she has managed both the Student Finance Office and the Student Services Department. Throughout her career, Ms. McGuire has been responsible for many key regulatory departments at four different institutions, including financial aid, student accounts, registrar, student retention, high-risk students, laptop processing, and student support services.

Ms. McGuire holds an MS in Education – Enrollment Management from Capella University and a BA from Elon University.

Dr. Adam L. Selhorst
Executive Dean - College of Liberal Arts

Dr. Adam Selhorst joined Ashford University in May 2012. As Executive Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Dr. Selhorst provides leadership in all aspects of the college's operations. He is responsible for developing degree programs, overseeing personnel, supervising curriculum, managing the college's budget, and collaborating with other University leaders to ensure a positive experience for all students.

Before taking on the role of Executive Dean, Dr. Selhorst served Ashford University as Associate Dean in the College of Liberal Arts, Academic Department Chair, and Program Chair of Environmental Studies. His previous academic experience includes positions as a Fellow at the National Science Foundation, Lecturer at the Ohio State University, Lecturer at Leeward Community College, Researcher at the University of Hawaii, and Student Research Scientist at Kenyon College. Dr. Selhorst is also a published author, a journal reviewer, and a prolific presenter at conferences and workshops.

Dr. Selhorst holds a PhD and MS in Environmental Science from the Ohio State University, an MA in Public Policy and Management from the Ohio State University, an MBA in Entrepreneurship from Ashford University, and a BA in Biology from Kenyon College.



Bob Daugherty
Executive Dean - Forbes School of Business

Bob Daugherty joined Ashford University in September 2015. As Executive Dean of the Forbes School of Business, Mr. Daugherty oversees all academic, curricular, and co-curricular policies and programs for the school. His duties include coordinating faculty in various academic environments, as well as serving as a liaison with accrediting agencies.

Prior to joining Ashford University, Mr. Daugherty served as the CEO of the Jack Welch Management Institute, where he successfully grew the school and oversaw its merger with Strayer Education. He also served as Chairman of Eduventures and as CEO of Cognitive Arts, a leading provider of instructional design technology for colleges and universities.

Mr. Daugherty also possesses extensive experience teaching and leading university students and corporate clients. He has served on various panels at conferences and symposiums, speaking on topics ranging from international higher education to venture capital investing. Most recently, Mr. Daugherty served as a Fulbright Specialist, participating in a program funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs where he worked with college and university presidents and boards in Africa and the Middle East.

Mr. Daugherty holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from Harvard University, a master’s degree in American Studies from Columbia University, and a master’s degree in Management from the University of Cambridge.


Dr. Laura Sliwinski
Acting Dean – College of Health, Human Services, and Science

Dr. Laura Sliwinski joined Ashford University in 2011. As Dean of the College of Health, Human Services, and Sciences, she manages the academic programs of the college and leads the college’s online faculty, staff, and curriculum. Dr. Sliwinski reports to the Chief Academic Officer and the Accreditation Liaison Officer.

Prior to her role as Dean of the College of Health, Human Services, and Sciences, Dr. Sliwinski has served in many roles for college and University initiatives with a focus on program quality and accreditation, new program development, and faculty development and support.

Dr. Sliwinski has extensive experience in healthcare management and organization development, and has served as a consultant, presenter, and keynote speaker in the healthcare industry for over 15 years.

She received her master’s in Health Administration from Tulane University and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from Alliant International University.

Dr. Tony Farrell
Executive Dean - College of Education

Dr. Tony Farrell has been with Ashford University since 2011. As Executive Dean of the College of Education, Dr. Farrell oversees the daily management of the college. He is responsible for all full-time and adjunct faculty within the college and he leads operations for the College of Education’s offices in San Diego, Denver, and Iowa.

Before he was promoted to the position of Executive Dean, Dr. Farrell served Ashford as Associate Dean of the College of Education, Assistant Professor, and Adjunct Faculty. His previous administrative experience includes positions as Assistant Principal at Cimarron Middle School, Assistant Principal at Soaring Hawk Elementary, and Dean of Students/Athletic Director at Mountain Ridge Middle School. Dr. Farrell also possesses extensive experience as a teacher, having served as a Lecturer at the University of Phoenix and as a Special Education and Physical Education Teacher at multiple K-12 schools. He is a published author and has been invited to present at numerous conferences.

Dr. Farrell holds a PhD in Special Education from the University of Hawaii, an MEd in School Administration from the University of Oklahoma, an MS in Special Education from National University, and a BA in Interdisciplinary Studies from National University.


Justin Harrison | Ashford University

Dr. Justin Harrison
Dean - Division of General Education

Dr. Justin Harrison has been with Ashford University since January 2012. As the Dean of the Division of General Education, Dr. Harrison provides management and leadership in all areas of general education, including the development of course curriculum. He also oversees the faculty for Ashford’s general education disciplines.

Before he took on the role of Dean, Dr. Harrison held several key positions with Ashford. He was Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, Chair of General Education, Academic Department Chair, and an Assistant Professor/Chair of Philosophy. Dr. Harrison has significant experience as a college-level professor, having taught courses at Ashford University, Loyola University Chicago, Harper College, Harold Washington College, the University of Toledo, Columbia Southern University, and Argosy University Online. He is a published author and has presented at numerous conferences.

Dr. Harrison holds a PhD from Loyola University Chicago, an MA in Philosophy from the University of Toledo, and a BA in Biology/Pre-Med from Taylor University.