On December 15, 2017, Hodges University’s Board of Trustees appointed Dr. John Meyer as the university’s new president. The appointment was made in conjunction with the university’s ongoing strategic directives to ensure academic quality for a diverse student population and drive innovation to meet the needs of the larger Southwest Florida community.
“I am very optimistic about our focus on workforce oriented higher education,” says Meyer. “We have a real opportunity to expand what it is we are doing, how we do it, and the kinds of things we offer to greater impact Southwest Florida and beyond and make a measurable, positive difference.” Bringing more than 20 years of education experience to his new role as Hodges University president, Meyer’s progression from an alumnus to its president, he admits, “has been an incredible journey.”
Earning an MBA and Bachelor of Science in accounting from Hodges, he also graduated with his Doctor of Business
Administration in management from Argosy University Sarasota. His past engagements include program chair of management in the university’s Johnson School of Business and dean of the School of Business and Technology at Florida SouthWestern State College. He has practiced managerial consulting, owned and operated private automotive ventures and conducted corporate trainings. As an academician, his interests include “personorganization fit and the relationships that occupational cultures have on human behavior and, by extension, the success of organizations.”
In April 2017, he returned to Hodges to serve as the executive vice president of academic affairs, saying, “Hodges is nimble and entrepreneurial, and uniquely positioned to identify emerging higher educational needs in
Southwest Florida–and to create quality programs to address those needs.” As Hodges University continues to position its programs to align with workforce demands, Meyer explains that the Associate in Science level is the
highest level officially recognized as “workforce” education, but questions that definition when considering the education required of information systems managers, certified public accountants, clinical mental health counselors, and so on.
As a result, Meyer sees an opportunity for Hodges to “expand the definition where workforce training starts and stops, and what the continuum of workforce education ultimately looks likes,” in addition to establishing a structure that encourages individuals to “get on and off the educational ladder as it suits them,” he explains.
Settling into his new position, Meyer’s goals for the future of Hodges focus on the expansion of academic programming and how best to reach prospective students. By analyzing the scope of Hodges’ degree programs, he recognizes an opportunity to “expand the reach of the certification and degree programs we offer” to serve a degree-completion population more robustly. “These are the individuals who need to complete a degree or layer a technical skill onto their existing degree for career advancement,” he says.
In addition, Meyer plans to evaluate how Hodges can meet the growing demand for specific industries that require master’s degrees. Although the bachelor’s degree was once viewed as the “go-to” degree for anyone seeking
employment, Meyer is seeing a trend that Hodges must work to incorporate, as more fields require master-level skill sets. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Meyer also sees a huge need for programs such as the university’s Professional Effectiveness Certificate, which enhances foundational skills competencies in employees or job seekers.
With an extensive knowledge of higher education and a personal connection to Hodges that extends more than 21 years, it is the local, homegrown persona and student focus, he believes, that positions Hodges in Southwest Florida and nationwide as a valuable player in higher education. “People know us; they know the quality of student we graduate. We have an opportunity to shape the landscape of education as it relates to employment. If employment at the end of a program is a key educational success metric, we have the opportunity to really be the only institution doing it across all educational levels from certificates through graduate degrees.”
“We are pleased to have John assume this central leadership role,” says Hodges Board Chair John Agnelli. “We believe that as an alumnus of Hodges University, his deep understanding of the student body and the Hodges and
Southwest Florida culture is a winning formula to ensure quality education in alignment with our mission, values and goals into the future.”