George Otte

An old dog learning new tricks.

Chief Academic Officer of the CUNY School of Professional Studies, home of (most of) CUNY’s online degrees

Academic Interests

In a previous life I was an [English] professor and a director of writing programs. In the late nineties, while still at [Baruch College], I served as Baruch College’s Executive Director of Enrichment Programs, which included presiding over high school outreach and communication-across-the-curriculum programs. Appointed a member of the doctoral faculty at the [CUNY Graduate Center] in the mid-nineties (originally in [English],later in  [Urban Education] and [Interactive Technology & Pedagogy]), I was co-editor of the [Journal of Basic Writing] from 1996-2002. In 2006, I became Academic Director of the [CUNY Online Baccalaureate], CUNY’s first fully online degree, and since have been kicked upstairs to become the chief academic officer of the CUNY [School of Professional Studies] (SPS), where that online degree is one of many — currently two dozen, split between Master’s and ten Bachelor’s. (Those undergrad degrees were in the top 2% nationally by US News & World Report in its most recent ranking of online Bachelor’s degrees.) During much of this time I also had another gig: in 2001, was named CUNY’s Director of Instructional Technology, I and in 2008 University Director of Academic Technology for CUNY. As my responsibilities at SPS (and SPS itself) grew, I realized I could not continue in both roles and stepped down from my central role at the end of the 2018-2019 academic year. I continue to pursue the interests that relinquished title reflects, including [academic technology], [online instruction] and [blended learning], [digital scholarship], and [computer-mediated communication].


Senior Associate Dean, Academic Affairs, CUNY School of Professional Studies
Faculty, Ph.D. Programs in English and Urban Education; MA Program in Digital Humanities; Certificate Program in Interactive Technology & Pedagogy, CUNY Graduate Center


Ph.D., Stanford University (Modern Thought and Literature, 1982)
M.A., Claremont Graduate University (History, 1977)
B.A., Claremont McKenna College (Literature, 1975)


(selected from the last 15 years)

Change We Must: Deciding the Future of Higher Education (co-edited with Matthew Goldstein). Rosetta Books, 2016.

 “The CUNY Academic Commons: Fostering Faculty Use of the Social Web” (with Matthew K. Gold). On the Horizon 19:1 (2011), 24-32. 

Basic Writing (with Rebecca Mlynarczyk). Parlor Press, 2010.

“An Administrator’s Guide to the Whys and Hows of Blended Learning (with Mary Niemiec). Journal of Asynchronous Learning 13:1 (Spring 2009): 19-30. 

“Sunrise, Sunset: Basic Writing at CUNY’s City College,” in Basic Writing in America, ed. Nicole Greene and Pat McAlexander (Hampton Press, 2007): 21-47. 

 “New Questions for Online Learning, and New Answers: The Case of the CUNY Online Baccalaureate,” On the Horizon 15:2 (Fall 2007), 169-176. 

“Online Learning: New Models for Leadership and Organization in Higher Education” (with Meg Benke), Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks 10:2 (Spring 2006): 23-31. 

“Using Blended Learning to Drive Faculty Development (And Vice Versa),” in Elements of Quality Online Education: Engaging Communities, ed. John Bourne and Janet Moore (Sloan-C, 2005): 71-84. 

“High Schools as Crucibles of College Prep: What More Do We Need to Know?” Journal of Basic Writing 21.2 (Fall 2002): 106-120. 

“The Improving Power of e-Conversation,” in Teaching/Writing in the Late Age of Print, ed. Paul Johnson, Jeff Galin, and Carol Haviland (Hampton Press, 2002): 85-97.