Dr. David Clinefelter

Dean of Student Affairs

Dave Clinefelter’s career spans all levels of education from K-12 to higher education. He earned his master’s and Ph.D. degrees at the Ohio State University in curriculum and instruction. The first part of his career was in K-12 public education where he was a high school teacher, principal, and school superintendent.


At the post secondary level, he was a professor at the University of Nebraska – Omaha and a lecturer at the Ohio State University prior to becoming the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Graceland University, a liberal arts institution in Iowa. In 1996-97, Dr. Clinefelter was an ACE Fellow and his host institution was Northwest Missouri State University. At the conclusion of his fellowship year, he became President of Graceland and served in that capacity for six years. Graceland was an entrepreneurial institution having developed the first accredited distance learning program in nursing. The University also owned a subsidiary named SkillPath Seminars, a training company that provided one day seminars throughout the US. Dr. Clinefelter served as chair of the Board of Directors for Skillpath.


He made the move to for profit higher education in 2002 when he joined Kaplan University as Provost. Over the following eight years, the University grew from 1,500 to over 68,000 students with approximately 4,000 faculty members. Degree programs grew from a handful of associate degrees and one bachelor’s degree to over eighty associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degrees. Dr. Clinefelter joined Walden University in 2010 as Chief Academic Officer. Walden was established in 1970 as an alternative institution for doctoral education and continues to be primarily a graduate institution with approximately 45,000 online students.


In 2011, he joined The Learninghouse, Inc. as Chief Academic Officer. The Learninghouse, based in Louisville, Kentucky, provides support services for online programs to colleges and universities. He retired from the Learning House in 2017.


Throughout his career, Dr. Clinefelter has used technology to improve teaching and learning. From putting telephones on teacher’s desks, to replacing typewriters with computers, to developing fully online college degrees, he has consistently applied new tools to help teachers and students.