Jennifer Diallo Appointed as Director of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization

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December 21, 2011

Eugene, OR – The Oregon Student Access Commission Board of Directors has appointed Jennifer Diallo as Director of the Oregon Office of Degree Authorization, the unit of state government that administers laws, standards, and services that protects Oregon citizens and their postsecondary schools by ensuring the quality of higher education and enforcing the law against the use of diploma mill degrees.

Diallo has served as the Interim Administrator since the departure of Alan Contreras, who retired in late March 2011 after 12 years as the state’s chief college evaluator. Diallo has served as the ODA's chief program evaluator since coming to the agency in July 2010 and for several years prior, she provided program evaluation services on a contract basis to ODA and similar agencies in other states.

As Director, Diallo's responsibilities include maintaining Oregon's traditionally high standards for private postsecondary higher education, and to provide guidance and technical assistance to private colleges and universities in Oregon to ensure the quality and variety of educational opportunities available within the state. All degree-granting private postsecondary institutions offering academic programs in Oregon, and all public and private programs offering college credit for courses, placements, and degree programs to Oregon students from outside the state, must be approved by the Office of Degree Authorization before enrolling Oregon students.

Recent changes in federal rules regarding online higher education present another opportunity and challenge, but Diallo is committed to the task, stating, "ODA has long been recognized as a leader in postsecondary oversight. Now we are extending that reputation for best practices into the area of online education, to ensure that rural Oregonians will have access to high quality college degree programs wherever they live. Future plans for the program include public access to information and evaluation data for online and campus-based degree programs available and approved for offer in Oregon under ODA oversight, as well as working with schools and licensing boards to improve program support and reduce redundant review and oversight processes."

Diallo is originally from the Virginia suburban area of Washington DC. and moved to Oregon with her family at the end of high school. She is a graduate of University of Oregon with a dual major in Economics and International Studies. After college, Diallo was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Africa from 1986-89, and worked in Africa as a Project Manager and Technical Advisor for development and relief agencies for 8 years. After returning to Oregon, she earned a Master's in Education at Portland State University in 2004 and taught in a French Immersion International Baccalaureate high school for seven years prior to moving into higher education. Her prior work experience includes monitoring and evaluation of government and grant-funded projects as well as instruction at the college level.

The Office of Degree Authorization is supervised by the Oregon Student Access Commission. As of July 1, 2012, the Office of Degree Authorization will move to the Oregon Higher Education Coordinating Commission, established by Senate Bill 242.