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About

Welcome to a New World of Learning

Our mission is to help students achieve college success with Sophia PathwaysTM, our affordable, flexible, competency-based online courses. These self-paced courses cost a fraction of traditional college courses, and are accessible anytime, from any device.

As part of our ongoing commitment to learning, we also provide free college readiness resources for students, including test prep and refresher courses, as well as professional development resources for teachers.

Providing an Affordable College Degree

Not only do our online college level courses cost much less than traditional courses, there are also no textbooks to buy and you never have to miss work to take a test or attend class.

Designed to be affordable and accessible to students at every stage of their educational career, our courses make it easy to streamline work, life and education, so you can earn a college degree in a way that works best for you.

Helping Teachers

We know teachers are the heart of a great educational experience. That's why we offer the tools, technology and inspiration you need to keep both your classes and your career vibrant and exciting.

From creative ways to enhance your online courses and flipped classroom/tablet certification programs to Common Core-aligned content and supportive peer forums, Sophia offers a wealth of free resources to help you stay on top of, and get the most out of, online teaching.

Empowering Students

Whether you're preparing for college, looking for refresher courses, or ready to enroll in self-paced college level courses, we have everything you need to take the next step on your educational path.

With amazing teachers, supportive coaches and thousands of free tutorials designed to appeal to all kinds of learning styles, we've created a vibrant online learning environment that listens to individual needs and values every student's success.

Leadership Team


Grant Schmalzer

Executive Director

A creative thinker, outstanding motivator and focused innovator, Grant brings energy and imagination to his role as Executive Director. As the former Vice President of Capella's Core Products and Markets division, Grant developed a new product pipeline to support portfolio priorities and growth, representing 15%+ of new enrollments and revenue. Previously, he served at Capella in various leadership positions, including Director of Marketing, Director of Planning and Analysis, and Director of Finance, Corporate Functions. More recently, he worked in the U.K , tasked with integrating Capella's new international acquisition, RDI. There he helped drive revenue growth of +20% each of the last three years as well as restored student conversion rates to historical averages. He earned his B.S. in Accounting from the Carlson School of Management as well as an M.B.A from the University of St. Thomas.

Kashif Asdi, PhD

Chief Academic Officer

Kashif Asdi has more than 20 years of experience in academic innovation, training and development, and performance-improvement. Previously, Kashif led teams of curriculum specialists and instructional designers to create competency-based, learning-centered curricula for fully online and hybrid programs at Capella University and University of Minnesota. Kashif has also designed and taught undergraduate and graduate courses at the University of Minnesota and worked to improve adult literacy and health education among the rural population in Pakistan. Kashif holds a Master's of Science degree in design communication from the University of Minnesota, a B.A. in Journalism from the Punjab University in Lahore, Pakistan and a B.F.A. in painting from the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan.

Don Smithmier

Founder

Don is the founder of Sophia, which was created on the premise that there are millions of great ideas, methods, lessons and people who can contribute to society's goal of spreading knowledge and making education better and more effective. Previously, Don was an early‐stage employee and ultimately Vice President at Capella University. Don is a winner of the Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal's "40 Under 40" and founder of Matter Worldwide, the parent company of multiple successful start‐up companies. Don earned his MBA with honors from the University of Minnesota and his BA from the University of Wisconsin.