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Questions for Kaplan’s Dientje Francis-Lawrence


Some of the most amazing people in higher ed don’t work for colleges or universities. They work for companies that work with colleges and universities. Dr. Dientje Francis-Lawrence is an example of one of those amazing people. She has been working for the last 15 years to help universities grow their online programs. As the Global Head of Partnership Growth & Transformation at Kaplan, Dientje is deeply involved in the emerging story of nonprofit (university) and for-profit (company) collaborations. Dientje graciously agreed to answer my questions about her career path, the role of companies in academia, and where she sees higher education heading.

Q1: One of the most common conversations I find myself in nowadays is with traditionally trained academics who are wondering about career options outside of a traditional tenure track faculty job. You have a doctorate in education from Johns Hopkins University and, before that, some years as an educator. You have primarily worked in edtech, most recently at Kaplan. Can you share with us your education and career journey and why you decided to build your career in an edtech company and not a university?

Growing up, my biggest dream was to get a university education. […]

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