One of the most profound honors of my career has been the opportunity to serve as Elon’s ninth president, returning to the very institution where my teaching career began in 1999. Before coming to Elon as a faculty member, I already knew of the university’s outstanding reputation for engaged learning from meeting and speaking with faculty at academic conferences. So when I saw a job posting for an assistant professor in communications, I quickly applied and crossed my fingers.

During my interview for the position, I was immediately impressed with how Elon faculty talked about students and about the dynamic classes they were teaching. The excitement and enthusiasm they clearly felt for both was palpable. I still recall walking with Professor Ray Johnson on the day of my interview as he described his class on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and how over the years, each time he offered it, he made small changes based on student feedback. The joy in his voice, the commitment to teaching excellence he described and his clear love of learning were infectious.

That dynamic was repeated throughout the day as I met faculty, my future colleagues, who wanted to talk about teaching. I was captivated by Elon and remain grateful to all the masterful teachers and students who have inspired me over my professional life to stay focused on the absolute real value of a college education — learning.

What sealed my decision to accept Elon’s offer to become an assistant professor was not only the exceptional faculty that had been hired, but the decisions the university leadership had made to intentionally create an infrastructure to support the advancement of teaching as the critical element in student success. Decisions like adopting a four-credit-hour schedule versus the traditional three credit hours for coursework to allow for more time in class with students. Decisions like redesigning the academic calendar to create the opportunity for students to take an intensive three-week course on campus or abroad without an additional tuition charge. Elon was achieving excellent student outcomes because of innovations like these, and I could clearly see the university’s commitment to continued investment and improvement.

These early experiences as a faculty member at Elon inform my leadership today as president. I have a deep understanding and appreciation for how overarching decisions about strategy, budgeting, curricular design and enrollment ultimately impact the classroom and student learning opportunities.

On the pages of this report, you will read about a 135-year quest to create a leading campus environment for learning. Building a community fueled by teaching excellence and in deep partnership with student life has resulted in the exceptional achievement of Elon University students, alumni, faculty and staff. Their growth, success and accomplishments are at the core of our purpose and mission.

Connie Ledoux Book
Elon University President