Chief Learning Officer

Start your journey as a Chief Learning Officer. 

Develop the insights needed to identify the strategies organizations need to attract, develop, retain, and advance human capital as a chief learning officer who can anticipate and act on global, economic, and technological disruptions. 

Mason's Chief Learning Officer program, presented in partnership with industry and educational leaders, offers hands-on opportunities to design an integrated talent strategy to attract, develop, retain, and advance the talent needed to meet the business objectives; sustain a productive workforce; and add significant value to your organization.

Who Should Attend?

The ideal candidate has:

  • A minimum of six or more years of experience in the learning space. Instructional systems design expertise.
  • Experience managing and facilitating learning programs.
  • Solid communications skills.
  • An undergraduate degree or equivalent experience.

Sample Schedule

  • In-Person Opening Oct. 23 - 25, 2024
  • Online Sessions Oct. 30 - Dec. 19, 2024
  • Mid-Program In-Person Session Jan. 14 - 15, 2025
  • Online Sessions Jan. 20 - Feb. 25, 2025
  • In-Person Closing March 4 -5, 2025

Program Topics

  • Mission-Focused Impact 20%
  • Strategic Planning 20%
  • Financial and Regulatory Aspects of Learning and Development 20%
  • Leadership and Culture Building 20%
  • Learning Processes, Technologies, and Analytics 20%

Learning Outcomes

Graduates of this program will be able to:

  • Implement strategic initiatives with increased confidence in personal leadership abilities and organizational knowledge.
  • Demonstrate a capacity to think strategically, establishing a learning and talent development plan that supports the delivery of an organization’s objectives and strategic plan.
  • Develop leadership practices that are grounded in solid organizational acumen. Communicate clearly and effectively with professionals at all levels to articulate the role of learning and talent function as an agent of organizational change. Manage processes for assessing talent development opportunities.
  • Engage the talent management team and drive performance outcomes through coaching, mentoring, and sharing ideas.

Badge of Certification

This program is delivered as a non-degree, executive certificate. Attendees have the opportunity to add a badge credential from Credly for successful completion of the program to their resume for organizational recognition (internal and external) and to indicate the accomplishment of obtaining a George Mason University credential.

Program Information

Next Cohort: October 23, 2024 – March 7, 2025
Delivery: Hybrid; online sessions and in-person sessions at Mason Square (formerly the Arlington Campus)
Cost: $8,500

Personal Consultation

Contact us to schedule an advising session:
Email ❭
(703) 993-6725 ❭


The curriculum is composed of the three core competencies areas that were identified by talent management leaders and academics as necessary for the Chief Learning Officers of the Future:

Transformational Organization Leadership (Fulfills ECQ 1 & ECQ 2)

Leading Change 

People often dislike uncertainty at work and often fear or avoid change altogether. One of the most important roles of leadership then is to manage change and cope with uncertainty in your teams and organizations. This session explores the challenges and opportunities involved in change management, especially the areas of employee resistance, how to overcome it, and how to champion results. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Tori Grady, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Being a Leader in the C-Suite 

This session builds your capacity to engage in the successful practices of leadership as a member of the C-Suite. The emphasis is on your way of being as a leader (the observer you are) and enhancing your capacity to declare commitments to future possibilities and engage others in sharing and fulfilling those commitments. The Session discusses the importance of context in confronting managerial challenges and creating opportunities. Explores the role of leadership in shaping conversations that create empowering contexts for organizational actions. 


  • Dr. Greg Unruh, Arison Chair in Values Leadership, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Science, George Mason University. 

Relational-Based Leadership 

It is up to leaders to create an environment in which individuals find meaning and motivation, perform, thrive, and are resilient. This comes not just from money or prestige, but because of the positive relationships they hold at work. This session allows individuals to appreciate how leaders can improve by taking a relational view towards others in the organization. To lead is to speak directly to the workforce, to understand their concerns, pinch points, frustrations, and pain. Taking a relational view goes beyond your individual relationship with each employee; it encompasses understanding the network of employee relationships. 


  • Dr. Kevin Rockmann, Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Creating a Positive Corporate Culture 

Introduces the construct of emotional culture and demonstrates the importance of cultivating a positive emotional culture for employees, teams, divisions, and organizations. Distinguishing among the key emotions impacting culture and describing how individuals and organizations can achieve enhanced employee health and wellbeing. Provide evidence-based techniques that managers can integrate into their daily work practices to increase personal and professional success. 


  • Mandy O’Neill, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Innovative Business and Operational Acumen (Fulfills ECQ 3 & ECQ 4)

Building Business Acumen for the C-Suite 

Provides an overview to the principles and practices of business acumen; what separates C-Suite Executives who excel from those who do not; and how to successfully engage with other members of the C-Suite by applying the principles to everyday conversations and interactions. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Tom Davies, Executive-in-Residence, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Value Creation and Customer/Stakeholder Equity 

In this session, participants will learn how executives make decision to create, communicate, capture, and deliver value to their customers or stakeholders. Successfully developing and deploying a critical value-based strategy that focuses on maximizing customer/stakeholder value and need satisfaction is essential for organizational performance and mission successful. 


  • Dr. Brett W. Josephson, Associate Professor of Marketing, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Business & Sustainability 

Historically, social expectations of businesses have been limited to the creation of wealth for shareholders and the simultaneous creation of jobs and economic development in their communities. Now, however, the last two decades has seen societal expectations shift toward creation social and environmental value in addition to economic returns. This course provides participants with frameworks and strategies they can use to align their business value creation with emerging social and environmental expectations.  


  • Dr. Greg Unruh, Arison Chair in Values Leadership, Associate Professor, College of Humanities and Social Sciences. 


This session strengthens the participant’s innovation acumen by acquainting them with the latest thinking on innovation and exposing them to proven strategies and best practices to transforming promising ideas into actionable innovations that move their organizations forward. 


  • Dr. Tom Davies, Executive-in-Residence, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Strategic Thinking, Value Proposition Models and Mission Fulfillment 

This session provides analytical tools to focus on value creation in an organization through the concept of business model innovation and its links to strategic management and strategic thinking. This session is a joint session with other C-Suite participants. 


  • Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University 

Developing and Executing a Strategic Plan 

In this session, participants will gain an understanding of what is strategy. Identify links between organizations and types of strategy as well as how resources and assets link to different business models and mission objectives. 


  • Dr. Mahesh Joshi, Associate Professor of Management, Costello College of Business, George Mason University. 

Talent Management Ecosystem (Fulfills ECQ 5)

Value Propositions of Learning and Talent Management

The purpose of this topic is to explore what are the value propositions for learning and talent management (TM), and how to assess related investments in a quantitative and qualitative aspect. The focus of this topic will be to discover techniques that discern learning’s and, more broadly, TM’s value. 


  • Dr. Dave Rude, CPTD, CALC, Director for Talent Management and Chief Learning Officer, Parallax Advanced Research

The Business of Talent

The focus of this topic is to better prepare participants to manage talent initiatives through the application of standard management practices as well as best practices designed just for the talent field.


  • Dave Vance Executive Director, Center for Talent Reporting

Developing a Human Capital Strategic Plan

The purpose of this session is to introduce participants to the concepts of developing a learning and talent strategy that creates value for the organization.


  • Kimo Kippen, Former Executive, Hilton and Marriot

Talent Measurement and Analytics

This topic provides an explanation of the what, why and how behind talent analytics; alignment with HR analytics; the development of measures/metrics for measuring the business impact of your talent and learning management practices; technologies for data collection, analysis and reporting, and communicating the contribution of talent and learning measurement and analytics to other C-suite executives using the language of business.


  • Dr. G.M. (Bud) Benscoter Owner, GMB Performance Group

Talent Development Policies

The focus of this session is to examine the framework of governance, policies, procedures, and guidelines that drive how Chief Learning Officers approach managing and developing its vast expanse of talent. 


  • Dr. Dave Rude, CPTD, CALC, Director for Talent Management and Chief Learning Officer, Parallax Advanced Research

Managing the Learning and Talent Development Operation

The session will focus on creating a well-managed, agile Learning and Talent Development (L&TD) operation that so that you, the CTO/CLO, can deliver the right people with the right skills at the right time, for the efficient and effective achievement of organization objectives and outcomes into the future.


  • Dr. Shahron Williams van Rooij, Associate Professor, Learning Design and Technology

“The curriculum, assignments, and virtual instructor-led sessions were engaging, thought-provoking, and ideal for this busy professional. The program expanded my knowledge in learning and development from an executive perspective and provided me with the tools to function and communicate on a C-Suite level. The knowledge I gained from the CLO program will benefit my agency and prepare me for my goal of becoming a chief learning officer."

Jeanette Staton, CLO '20 | Professional Development Training Specialist, U.S. Department of Transportation

“One of the exciting things about the CLO program is [that] participants are given the chance to identify a learning problem in their organization...with feedback from the program participants [to] create short-term and long-term goals. As a result, I put in place a strategic plan from inception, created the mission, vision, and values of the learning function that I led. To date, I still use the materials from this program and have developed great relationships with the participants.”

Maurine Kwende, CLO '18 | Senior ISD/Researcer at FXUA

Meet Your Instructors

  • G.M. Benscoter

    Owner, GMB Performance Group

    Bud has a Master’s and Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Design from Penn State, where he taught for 20 years in both the Instructional Systems and MBA. programs.
  • Nada Dabbagh

    Professor and Director of the Division of Learning Technologies, George Mason University College of Education and Human Development

    Nada Dabbagh is Professor and Director of the Division of Learning Technologies in the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University. She holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Systems Design from The Pennsylvania State University and a Masters of Science in Math Methodology and Operations Research from Columbia University.
  • Kimo Kippen

    Former Executive, Hilton and Marriot

    Kimo Kippen is a native of Hawaii as well as a speaker and advocate for learning. A former executive at Hilton and Marriott, he has also been recognized by CLO Magazine as CLO of the year 2015.
  • Dave Rude

    Director for Talent Management and Chief Learning Officer, Parallax Advanced Research

    Dr. Dave Rude is the Director for Talent Management and Chief Learning Officer for Parallax Advanced Research, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit dedicated to Advancing the Science of Intelligent Teaming.
  • Dave Vance

    Executive Director, Center for Talent Reporting

    Dr. David Vance is the Executive Director of the Center for Talent Reporting, a nonprofit organization dedicated to the creation and implementation of standards for human capital measurement, reporting, and management.
  • Shahron Williams van Rooij

    Associate Professor, Learning Design and Technology, George Mason University College of Education and Human Development

    Dr. Williams van Rooij is associate professor in the Learning Design and Technology program, Learning Technologies Division of the College of Education and Human Development at George Mason University.

Related Programs

Frequently Asked Questions

Are faculty from George Mason University?

A combination of Mason faculty, adjuncts, and subject matter experts teach in the program. 

How was the curriculum created and courses chosen?

Mason Business faculty with the support of an advisory council of c-suite professionals developed the program curricula. Topics and outcomes are reviewed and revised yearly based on feedback and emerging industry best practices.

Is this program eligible under the GI Bill?

Not at this time. 

Are there any discounts to attend the program?

Preferred pricing for government employees is $7,650. A promotional code will be provided to those accepted into the program. Please call (703) 993-8275 if you are a Mason employee or would like to discuss a group rate.   

What does the cost of the program include?

The $8,500 program cost includes all materials, activities, catering, receptions, and a certificate of completion. 

How do I register and pay for the program?

Follow this registration link to register for the program. You will receive an emailed response with directions on payment.

How much time will participants need to devote to the program?

Participants should expect to spend seven full days at the George Mason University Mason Square Campus as well as participating in 5-6 online topics delivered in two-week increments. For each two-week topic there will be approximately 8-10 hours of learning including readings, videos, presentations, live session, discuss boards, and deliverables.

How are the courses conducted?

Over the course of five months, there are seven in-person days and five two-week online topics.

In-person days include morning and afternoon learning sessions, catering, and a reception.

Online topics include a combination of asynchronous components such as discussion boards, presentations, videos, and assignments, as well as live synchronous sessions. Expect one to three scheduled live sessions for each online topic. These generally start between 7 and 8 p.m. eastern time. Live sessions are recorded and posted the next day. 

Zoom is used for live online sessions. A tutorial is provided to participants in .pdf format, and an optional live tutorial session is offered as well. All registered participants are given access to Blackboard approximately two weeks prior to the start of the program. 

Do I get university credit for this program? Will I be graded?

This is a non-credit executive education program so you will not earn university credit. However, CEUs (continuing education units) authorized by George Mason University are available upon request. At least two weeks prior to the start of the program, please send your request to You will be asked to provide additional personal information in order to have your CEUs properly recorded.   

Participants will not be graded, but In order to receive a certificate of completion, participants will need to complete a minimum of 80 percent of the work assigned (including assignments, deliverables, discussion boards, and live sessions). At the end of each topic, faculty are asked to provide a summary of participant’s engagement. 

How many participants are enrolled?

The maximum number of participants for a single cohort is 20. 

What are some common student personas/backgrounds/job titles?

Most participants have at least six years of management experience and are at the Director level or above. Approximately half of the participants have been from the public/non-profit sector and half from the private sector. The average age of participants is 45. 

Is there an application deadline?

No. Participants are admitted on a rolling basis up to the start of the program or until the cohort is full. 

Is the program eligible for 1098-T reporting?

No. This program is a non-credit course, therefore not eligible for 1098-T reporting.