Having worked at a diverse range of institutions during her career, Paula Harbecke has acquired an extensive background in higher education: University of Maryland University College (UMUC), an institution known for offering innovative educational programs worldwide including a variety of distance education options for adult students (1980-2000); World Learning’s School for International Training (SIT) (2001-2005), an institution that specializes in professional graduate and international exchange programs; and Regis College (2005-2010), a small liberal arts access college with a mission to provide educational opportunities for underserved student populations. She joined the staff of the New England Commission of Higher Education as Vice President in June 2010.
Her work in higher education has spanned both academic and administrative roles. Most notably, she served as vice president and director of UMUC’s programs, first in Asia and then in Europe, overseeing the largest academic institution providing postsecondary programs to U.S. service members and their families overseas. During the early days of online learning in the 1990’s, she helped to pioneer UMUC’s distance education program to provide educational opportunities for students at remote sites and was instrumental in the development of administrative support systems to serve students studying at a distance. Subsequently, while serving as provost and chief operating officer at SIT, she positioned the SIT to attain a leadership role in study abroad and international exchange programs in developing countries worldwide. At Regis College, she led the academic restructuring during the institution’s transition from a women’s college to a co-educational institution.
Dr. Harbecke holds a bachelor’s, master’s and Ph.D. in accounting and an M.Ed. in educational psychology all from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In her current position, she has responsibility for managing the Commission’s site evaluation process and oversees its financial monitoring of colleges and universities in the region