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Yale business school dean picked to run Apple University

The dean of Yale University's School of Management has announced that he will be leaving to join Apple as a new Vice President, serving of the dean of a new "Apple University."

Sources at Yale said Joel Podolny's departure as dean was unexpected, and that neither Podolny nor Apple would comment on what "Apple University" would be. The new program is scheduled to get started early in 2009.

Apple has run the iTunes U program since the middle of last year, which helps schools publish audio and video podcasts of lectures along with coursework documents to their student population, and the company encourages schools to share their educational content with the general public as well.

Another program Apple set up earlier this year is iPhone University, which was designed to help schools learn how to develop custom mobile applications and deploy the WiFi infrastructure needed to support wirelessly connected mobile computing on campuses.

The company also manages a series of training and certification programs that range from desktop support, computer repair, and network administration to training programs that cover Final Cut Studio, Logic Pro, and the company's other software titles.

Apple also runs free classes, workshops, and presentations in its retail stores covering Mac basics and the use of software such as iLife, and sells an annual subscription pass for 'One to One' personal training related to computing. The company has also started a summer Apple Camp and fall field trip programs for students within its retail stores.

Five years ago, a journalism student at UC Berkeley profiled a professional-development program at Steve Jobs' other company, called Pixar University, intended to "build morale, spirit and communication among employees."

The purpose of Apple University is yet unknown, but a letter from Yale president Richard Levin discussing Podolny's departure said the dean was leaving to "lead educational initiatives at Apple." Levin also praised the dean's "boundless energy and dogged persistence," and noted that Podolny "took a personal hand in creating new courses and programs."