Dr. Ellen Chaffee’s distinguished career spans institutional, system, policy, and national professional leadership in both public and private higher education, as well as extensive research and publication. Particular areas of interest include leadership and organizational effectiveness, strategic thinking, organizational change, and the role of information and technology.
Past president of two universities and two national professional associations, Chaffee has led executive, academic affairs, student affairs, research, and equal opportunity functions. Chaffee was president of Valley City State University for 15 years and served nine of those years simultaneously as president of Mayville State University. Her leadership created an award-winning culture of innovation, change, and accountability. She then spent a year as president in residence at Harvard University. Previous positions include academic vice-chancellor for the North Dakota University System and director of organizational studies at the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems.
Chaffee is a past member of Des Moines University's board of trustees and served as board member and chair of a major health care system. She was president of the Association for Institutional Research and the Association for the Study of Higher Education, as well as the public member of the American Council on Pharmaceutical Education, the accrediting board for pharmacy.
Throughout her career, she has published five books and dozens of articles in refereed journals, as well as 750 weekly columns in community newspapers.
Chaffee earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in higher education administration and policy analysis at Stanford University.