College Unbound Board Unanimously Votes to Elect Co-Founder and Provost Adam Bush as New CU President

College Unbound’s Board of Trustees is excited to announce three concurrent changes for the 2022-2023 academic year.  First, to support the College’s national growth, its founding President, Dennis Littky, will step into a role of overseeing expansion initiatives.  Second, to complement that transition, CU’s founding Provost, Adam Bush will assume the role of President-elect for the 2022-2023 Academic Year and will move into the role of President effective July 1, 2023.  Bush was elected to this position by a unanimous vote of the College Unbound Board of Trustees. Wendell Pritchett, founding faculty member of College Unbound and current Interim President of the University of Pennsylvania will step into the role of Chair of the Board of Directors, effective July 1, 2022.  The Board is confident that these new appointments will support the College in the years ahead.

Incubated in 2009 by Big Picture Learning, recognized in 2015 by the State of Rhode Island as an independent college, and accredited by the New England Council on Higher Education, College Unbound has successfully supported hundreds of students in their educational journeys, contributing greatly to the Rhode Island Community.  The organization has been widely cited for educational innovation over recent years.  CU inaugurated its first cohorts in Philadelphia in early 2022, which kicked off the institution’s national growth strategy. 

Dennis LittkyDennis Littky is the co-founder and president of College Unbound, co-founder of Big Picture Learning and co-founder and co-director of The Met School. He is nationally known for his extensive work in secondary education in urban, suburban, and rural settings, spanning over 50 years. As an educator, Dennis has a reputation for working up against the edge of convention and out of the box, turning tradition on its head and delivering concrete results. Littky holds a double Ph.D. in psychology and education from the University of Michigan. His work as a principal at Thayer Junior/Senior High School in Winchester, N.H. is featured in an NBC movie, A Town Torn Apart, based on the book Doc: The Story of Dennis Littky and his Fight for a Better School

Adam Bush is the cofounder and Provost of College Unbound.  A PhD in American Studies and Ethnicity, Adam BushAdam is a jazz oral historian by training who thinks about improvisation and engaged listening as institution-building principles.   Over the years Adam has also worked closely with a variety of organizations at the intersections of higher education and social justice, including Imagining America; Artists and Scholars in Public Life, the American Association of Colleges and Universities, and the American Library Association.

“It’s been an honor to serve as board chair from inception of this great institution through NECHE accreditation, witnessing the profound impact on students’ lives, their families, and the whole community,” said outgoing Chair Pat Kidder.  “After a thorough review over the past year, the board is thrilled that though in different roles, the co-founders will continue to work together and continue to expand College Unbound’s influence.  This leadership team ensures that CU is well positioned to carry the mission forward under the experience and able guidance of the new board chair, Wendell Pritchett.”  

Wendell Pritchett“I am excited to continue working with President Elect Adam Bush and new Chair of the Board, Wendell Pritchett, as I spend the next years as Director of Growth, expanding College Unbound around the country under S.A.R.A. authority,” said President Dennis Littky.  “The work with students in Providence has been so exciting and I am excited to have students around the country share in this amazing CU experience.”  Littky and Bush were co-founders of College Unbound and have collaborated seamlessly to get the organization to this new phase.  “Since College Unbound started 13 years ago, students, faculty, and staff have come together to call for a new higher education and this year, CU unveiled its new strategic plan to guide its next five years and support its 100th adult learner to a Bachelor's degree” said Bush.  “I’m so excited to be a part of continuing to guide CU with an amazing group of colleagues as CU works towards its 1000th graduate in the years ahead.”

This announcement concludes more than a year of transition planning by the board of directors.  “I am very proud of the inclusive and extensive process conducted by the board to lead to this outcome,” said Nominating Committee Chair Louis Soares.  Over the past year, the committee, under the guidance of the full board of directors, met many times to discuss the organization’s leadership transition, to draft job descriptions, and to gather input from all the members of the College Unbound community---students, staff, faculty, alumni, the president and the leadership team.   Continuing College Unbound’s mission and values has been central to all the work by the committee and board.  Last Fall and Winter, the nominating committee held meetings with all stakeholder groups. A standard set of questions was developed and shared with each group for input. The sessions were summarized and shared with the board, and they were critical to the committee’s discussions.  This effort has produced a terrific outcome, and I am confident that the next phase of College Unbound’s journey will be even better than the last.” 

College Unbound has from inception been a fully student-centered organization, and College Unbound students and alumni play a crucial role in the institution’s strategic planning.   “I have had the privilege of experiencing the growth of College Unbound both as a student and now as an active board member,” said Samantha Cullen-Fry.  “I am excited for this college that fosters inclusion and a sense of community to have the opportunity to grow even more as we transition leadership from President Littky to President Bush.  Having these two thoughtful and inspiring leaders work together to foster a strong transition is exciting and I am honored to have been a part of this journey.  I think as we look back years from now this will be the defining moment that will allow College Unbound to become even stronger and more vibrant as a place that leads in change making, community building and inclusion through the lens of education in communities around the country.”

“In this leadership transition we have a new President, Dr. Adam Bush, who has shared Dr. Dennis Littky’s vision for College Unbound from the beginning, including that it be an integral part of a broad community with particular emphasis on the underserved,” said the Honorable Rogeriee S. Thompson.  “As CU continues to carry out its student centered, educational mission, we welcome Adam’s dynamic thinking and feel lucky to have Dennis continuing as CU’s Director of Growth and Innovation.  As a founding Board member, I am excited to work with them both as they assume new roles in CU’s mission to transform lives!”

College Unbound has a dual mission to help adult learners earn a meaningful BA degree and, by doing so, work to transform higher education towards a more equitable future.  This leadership transition draws on CU’s long history of that work and looks ahead to an institution working to increase its reach through both scale and spread.   As Dennis and Adam continue to work closely together through this transition during 2022-23, CU is well positioned to continue its work for the foreseeable future and Wendell Pritchett’s step into Board leadership supports the school’s growing national impact.   “I couldn’t be more pleased to be working with Dennis and Adam and the board in this next phase of College Unbound, and I’m grateful to Pat Kidder for her transformative leadership as board chair,” said Pritchett. “Over the past decade, at varying times, I have been a College Unbound faculty member, advisor, and board member. We have a wonderful institution, one that supports our talented students through purpose-driven learning. I’m also thrilled that we’ve expanded into my hometown of Philadelphia and are working to bring high quality education to other places where it is needed.”