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Press Release



July 1, 2015


Dr. Rittle begins presidency at Cowley College



Dr. RittleDr. Dennis C. Rittle officially became the fifth president in the history of Cowley College on Wednesday, July 1, 2015.


Dr. Rittle’s service in education began at the age of 17 when he volunteered to help students pass their high school equivalency exams. He understood education as the most effective means to improve lives and to build a community’s workforce. His belief in education as a means to a better life helped him overcome the natural barriers present in first-generation college students as he was the first in his family to attend college and to earn a two-year technical degree.


He continued his pursuit of higher education, culminating in a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership at the esteemed Regent University. His passion for both academic and applied learning is evidenced by his dozen publications, his service on peer-review journal boards, and his numerous professional and community presentations, to include being a guest lecturer in Oxford, UK. Dr. Rittle’s common topics for research and discussion are education, leadership, team building, workforce development, and business.


In 1995, Dr. Rittle began serving in post-secondary education and has provided leadership in governmental, for-profit, and public educational sectors at colleges with enrollment ranging in excess of 12,000 students. His roles have included faculty member, grant manager, technical program director, higher education consultant, chief academic officer, and provost. In addition, Dr. Rittle has six years of outstanding service as a CEO in the non-profit sector, managing more than 13 million dollars in fiscal resources to better communities through community partnerships, public services, innovative fundraising initiatives, and building campaigns.


Student success has served as the centerpiece throughout Dr. Rittle’s career. As a military veteran at the Community College of the Air Force, he consistently posted a student success rate of 98% or higher when teaching state-of-the-art technical coursework such as Doppler Radar Operations and Management. While serving as a director at the Kansas Board of Regents, he assisted in the development and implementation of the state funding model for two-year colleges to ease student access to otherwise unaffordable cutting-edge technical coursework. Collaborating with leaders of industry, higher education, and state legislation, Dr. Rittle championed the alignment of curriculum and industry credentials for more than 15 technical programs to reduce student cost and time to completion, thus, benefiting more than 50,000 learners across the state annually. He designed and initiated innovative student success and enrollment management strategies to raise student retention and graduation rates to record highs while serving as the chief academic officer at Brown Mackie College and Ozarka College.


Dr. Rittle’s drive to promote student success is further evidenced by his determination to develop programs of study in the fields of information systems, allied health, business, aviation, and industrial technologies; his leadership to transform a regionally accredited two-year college to a four-year college; his leadership in establishing new campuses to increase student access; and his advocacy in addressing barriers to learning at the state and national levels.


As a high-achieving servant leader, Dr. Rittle has been the recipient of numerous local, state, and national awards in education, business, and leadership. However, he considers his greatest accomplishment to be his family. He and his wife, Christy, have been married for 23 years and have two beautiful children, Daniel and Childress.