James Cowie joined Collegis Education as executive chairman in early 2015 and assumed the role of president and chief executive officer in January 2017. He was previously a partner and managing director at Frontenac Company, a Chicago-based private equity firm specializing in business services and technology-enabled solutions. Cowie is trustee emeritus of Colby College and a life trustee of the Illinois Institute of Technology, where he is a member of the executive committee. Cowie also serves on the board of the Academy for Urban School Leadership.
What are you most proud of over the course of your career?
I have had a wonderful career but my family is my greatest treasure. That said, family is what inspires me to pursue career goals. But, when you think of our company’s mission and values, we have a culture that builds on itself in collaborating with, motivating and creating solutions for our partners. That can’t be done without also having that sense of respect and values that many associate with families as well.
What have you learned about higher ed since joining Collegis?
I have a deeper appreciation and understanding of the velocity of change in the higher ed marketplace, and the challenges of meeting the demands of today’s students.
What type of higher ed technology has caught your attention lately?
The tools available to capture data and analytics are now so advanced. When colleges can capture insights into what’s impacting their enrollment-marketing campaigns, or better understand which students are in danger of dropping out, they are empowered to be responsive and take meaningful action.