Noodle Partners Adds Three Executives

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Melora Sundt, Dan Bursch and Julian Farmer join leadership team at Noodle Partners, which is disrupting the traditional online program manager model.

“We are excited by the level of talent we are attracting to the team, enhancing our ability to deliver quality and value to our partner institutions and their students,” said Greg O’Brien, Chief Operations Officer of Noodle Partners.

Noodle Partners, which works with universities to create world-class, agile online degree programs, continued its rapid growth by announcing three additions to its leadership team.

Joining Noodle Partners are:

  • Melora Sundt, who will serve as Chief Academic Officer
  • Dan Bursch, who will serve as Director of University Relations
  • Julian Farmer, who will serve as Director of University Partnerships

Together, Melora, Dan, and Julian bring decades of deep experience in education, program development, recruitment marketing, instructional design and online program management. Sundt, Burch, and Farmer have created, grown and directed online programs in higher education and all have left traditional online education management roles to help expand the revolutionary Noodle Partners program model.

Melora Sundt joins Noodle Partners from the University of Southern California Rossier School of Education where she was Professor of Clinical Education and designed, built and taught in several online and blended doctoral programs. At USC, she also served as Executive Vice Dean, overseeing degree programs, student services, faculty affairs, continuing education and research. Sundt also chaired the design teams to create the MAT@USC program, the Global Executive EdD, and the new online EdD in Organizational Change and Leadership.

From 2002-2012, Sundt was the principal investigator for an 11 campus, USDOJ-funded project on preventing sexual violence on college campuses. Her work has addressed sexual harassment in the academy, gender bias in the middle school classroom, sexual assault on campus, hate speech codes, and academic integrity.

Dan Bursch joins the Noodle Partners team with nearly fifteen years of experience in higher education, having worked with nationally ranked graduate programs at multiple institutions (The University of North Carolina @ Chapel Hill, University of Minnesota) where he has been influential in building admissions, recruiting and marketing strategies as well as being heavily involved in program development.

Most recently, Bursch served as Director of MBA@UNC, the online MBA program at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. While he was Director, the program saw unprecedented enrollment growth in both quality and quantity of incoming students, while also expanding the student engagement platform and academic portfolio.

Prior to joining UNC, Bursch served as the Director of Admissions and Recruiting as well as the Director of Student Affairs for the Full-Time and Part-Time MBA programs at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management where he led it to a top-25 national ranking.

Julian Farmer joins Noodle Partners having served five years as VP of Sales and Admissions for 2U, partnering with leading universities (Georgetown University, University of Southern California, Syracuse University and beyond) to deliver higher education degree programs online. His responsibilities there included the building and management of a 150+ person sales and admissions team located in several offices across the US, Asia, and Central and South America.

Farmer created and defined an industry within an industry with his unique approach and unprecedented successful growth of online programs at partner institutions, including: USC, Berkeley, Northwestern, NYU, Washington University in St. Louis, American and Simmons. Additionally, Farmer launched and scaled new partner programs that maintained brand integrity, built program reputation, delivered exceptionally qualified candidates and increased new student enrollment by an average of 35% year after year.

“We are excited by the level of talent we are attracting to the team, enhancing our ability to deliver quality and value to our partner institutions and their students,” said Greg O’Brien, Chief Operations Officer of Noodle Partners. “Melora, Dan, and Julian will be invaluable in growing and supporting the universities working with Noodle Partners to create world class online degree programs. Dan and Julian’s choice to leave the leading traditional OPM firm, and leading online MBA program, to join Noodle Partners, is a strong testament to the innovative and disruptive approach we are bringing to market. And Melora’s track-record driving academic excellence will help Noodle Partners continue to disrupt the traditional OPM model.”

At Noodle Partners, Farmer will grow Noodle’s university partnerships and provide management and operational leadership for Noodle Partners’s online program management solutions. Bursch will work with prospective university partners as well as current Noodle Partners programs in the creation of unmatched online degree programs. And Sundt will lead the instructional design vision at Noodle Partners.

Online program management companies assist universities and other education providers, design, market, direct and recruit for their online education programs. Under traditional OPM models, these companies received a share of tuition revenue each program generated – sometimes as high as 70% or more. While highly profitable to the OPMs, it can mean that students will pay $20,000 or more in loan repayments to cover just the OPM’s profit.

The Noodle Partners model rejects this tuition sharing model in favor of a flat fee for service approach which allows institutions to maximize their long-term returns and maintain higher degrees of program control. Noodle Partners is part of the Noodle Companies and was founded by education entrepreneur John Katzman, who previously founded the OPM 2U as well as The Princeton Review.

About Noodle Partners

Noodle Partners provides a completely new approach to online program management (OPM). We help you create online and hybrid programs while improving your traditional classroom models. We help universities with each aspect of building a great certificate or degree program—marketing, student recruitment, enrollment, curriculum design, social engagement, support services, graduate placement, and alumni engagement—with an exceptionally high level of fit and finish. Our effective cost structure, innovative approach and team of experts, enables us to deliver these services while leaving tuition revenue and control in your hands. For more information, please visit:

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Alyssa Miller

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Alyssa Miller