November 2, 2023

Digital Teaching Symposium - Speakers

Discover new tips and tactics to excel and thrive in a shifting higher education landscape.

Opening Keynote

Van Davis

Chief Strategy Officer, WCET and Service Design and Strategy Officer, Every Learner Everywhere

Van Davis is currently the Chief Strategy Officer for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) and Service Design and Strategy Officer for Every Learner Everywhere. Van has spent over 20 years in higher education as a faculty member, academic administrator, policymaker, and consultant. Van’s current responsibilities with WCET include facilitating the organization’s generative AI research and policy development. As a result, Van has authored several blog posts, co-authored a report examining generative AI usage at US colleges and universities, and is currently working on both an AI campus implementation tool kit as well as a searchable database of AI policies and practices.

Closing Panel

Dr. Ashley Dockens

Associate Dean of Policy and Procedure, Graduate Studies & Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Enhancement, Lamar University

Dr. Ashley Dockens, a highly experienced academic, holds dual doctoral degrees in Audiology (Au.D.) and Communication Sciences and Disorders (Ph.D.). Dr. Dockens' extensive expertise spans administration, mentorship, recruitment, pedagogy, and research, making her a versatile contributor to the university's growth. This wealth of experience led to her current position as the Associate Dean of Policy and Procedure in the College of Graduate Studies. Additionally, as Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Enhancement, she has made significant advancements in supporting faculty development, particularly in areas such as best practices, online pedagogy, and artificial intelligence. Dr. Dockens is enthusiastic about collaborating with her colleagues to shape influential policies that enhance both faculty and student success.

Dr. Szymon Machajewski

Associate Director of Academic Technology & Learning Innovation, University of Illinois Chicago

Dr. Szymon Machajewski is a codewright and a gamification sherpa focused on student engagement through learning analytics. Authoring of open source projects such as BbStats and LoginAs was recognized in 2011 with an award in Innovative Code Development and a U.S. patent in e-learning. While teaching Computer Science since 2003, he is certified in Mental Health First Aid and most recently recognized with a national award for Optimizing Student Experience and an award for Leading Change in 2021. For his work at University of Illinois at Chicago he was invited to the Blackboard Community Leadership Circle, a governance board appointed to lead and influence initiatives for the global education community. He also serves on the EDUCAUSE Student Success Analytics CG Steering Committee and UIC Electronic Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy Committee.

Danna Teicheira

Adjunct Professor, University of Arkansas-Grantham

I have been teaching in-person and online since 2000. Besides teaching, I have been active in course design. Since I began teaching, the tools available to teachers and students have expanded. The challenge for higher education is to provide students with a relevant learning experience that broadens their perspectives and opportunities in the personal, academic, and professional environments. I view courses and teaching as dynamic activities; the approach and/or the content must be continually reviewed and updated.

Darcy Hardy

Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, Anthology

Darcy W. Hardy is serves as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Anthology Inc., and Director of the Anthology Education and Research Center. Dr. Hardy is an award-winning distance and online learning professional who has worked as a higher education administrator, as an IPA with the Obama Administration, a board member in state and national associations, and as a contributor in higher education ed tech. Within the field of online learning, she focuses on strategy & vision; organization & governance; policy, process & practice; and quality oversight. 


Tammy Barker

Professor of Practice, Indiana Tech

My name is Tammy Barker. I am a Professor of Practice at Indiana Tech. My job is two-fold. I teach courses online and I mentor online faculty in the Talwar College of Engineering and Computer Science. As a mentor, I am involved with the hiring of our online faculty, I conduct faculty observations, and serve as the point of contact for our online adjuncts. I began teaching fulltime in the Fall of 2000. I started teaching online about ten years later. I have taught fully remote since 2020 and love it.

Jennifer Browdy

Professor of Comparative Literature & Media Arts, Bard College at Simon's Rock

Jennifer Browdy, Ph.D. is a professor of literature, writing and media arts at Bard College at Simon’s Rock and the online global Bard Open Society University Network, with a special focus on purposeful memoir and media arts for social and environmental justice.

Lisa Brown

Assistant Director, Teaching and Learning Systems, University of Rochester

Lisa has been at the University of Rochester for over 25 years and has been supporting teaching and learning since 1999 and the Blackboard LMS since 2006. With a doctorate in education, she provides both technical and pedagogical support to faculty and their use of technology in teaching. She also teaches graduate students how to teach online as an adjunct at the Warner School of Education.

Colleen Butcher

Adjunct Faculty, School of Business Administration, Gonzaga University

Colleen has more than 25 years of experience in the not-for-profit and higher education realms, promoting philanthropy, organizational maturity, and effective leadership engagement. Over the past 8 years in higher ed technology, she has successfully delivered complex, enterprise-wide projects that position institutions for the future. With a doctorate in Leadership, a Master of Business Administration, and certifications in Scrum Product Ownership and Change Management, Colleen’s experience includes time as an interim CIO, Director of a PMO, and her current role as a senior leader in professional services project delivery. 

Whether in the classroom or the boardroom, Colleen’s engaging style encourages high-performance teams to align with organizational goals, strategy, and vision for the benefit of their organization and the community. She leverages communication, change leadership, project management, and training expertise to foster collaboration, innovation, and trust across diverse and distributed groups in order to enable a transformative experience that doesn’t leave anyone behind. 

Lauren Dougher

University of Connecticut

PhD student in Cognition, Instruction, and Learning Technology in UConn's Educational Psychology Dept. Upon graduation, Lauren hopes to work in industry as an Instructional Designer.

Manuel Fernandez

Instructional Designer, University of St. Thomas - Houston

Manuel Fernandez is a bilingual instructional designer at the University of St. Thomas - Houston.

Dr. Carmen I. Figueroa Medina

Administrative Officer, Dean of Academic Affairs, University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus

Fifteen years of academic experience teaching human resources management in higher education with years of student career development, leadership advising dedicated to SHRM Student Chapters (University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus & University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus). Fourteen years of SHRM Volunteer Leader and HRM Diversity and Inclusion Advocate. 2016 Best Paper Award ABWIC Conference. Research works on active learning, learning assessment, human resource management development on student competencies. SHRM Recognition with five Outstanding Student Chapter Merit Awards and five Superior Merit Award (2012-2022). Five years on Traumatic Brain Injury Advocate and Member of the Board of Directors of LSG Foundation. My educational background includes a doctorate in philosophy in human resources management, master in business administration in human resources and master in arts in rehabilitation counseling (expected graduation date on June 2024). Research interest in human resource management development, human resource management, and rehabilitation counseling.

Janine Fondon

Assistant Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Communication, Bay Path University

Janine Fondon, MFA, is an Assistant Professor and Chair of Undergraduate Communications at Bay Path University. A media ecologist, Fondon uses the art and science of public relations, communications, and DEI to elevate inclusive voices, engage audiences, and inspire creative thinking in a world of change. At Bay Path, she established the University's multimedia digital student newsroom. With its success and other efforts, Fondon received Bay Path's Richard J. Briotta Prize for outstanding faculty research, scholarly activity, and creative works. With experience at top corporations, Fondon continues to publish journalistic works on various topics, leads the On the Move Forum to engage diverse communities, and explores research for her inclusive museum exhibit on women -"Voices of Resilience." As a Pynchon Medalist with top creative awards from the Advertising Club of Western Massachusetts, she co-chairs the Community Advisory Board for New England Public Media.

Sandra Fonseca-Lind

Associate Adjunct Instructor, University of Maryland Global Campus

Sandra Fonseca is a cybersecurity, IT audit, project and operations management, statistics, and accounting professor, program director, and instructional content developer. Her specializations are in information technology, risk management, IT audit, cybersecurity, statistics and data modeling, operations, and project management. Dr. Fonseca has over 30 years of experience in the IT cybersecurity, data governance, and project management field, both in state and federal government, as well as over 26 years in academia, where she has served as instructor, curriculum and assessment lead, as well as program director for MSIT and Cybersecurity programs. Dr. Fonseca holds a doctoral degree in business with a specialization in Management Information Systems (DBA-MIS). She’s working on her dissertation toward a second doctoral degree in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design (EdD-ID-ABD). She’s an advocate for professionalization, so she has collaborated and served as a volunteer and board member on the board of directors for local chapters in Puerto Rico for ISACA, ISSA, and PMI. In Washington DC she’s a volunteer for the Washington DC chapter of ISACA, and PMI.

Charlene Gallery

Reader in Digital Fashion, University of Manchester

Charlene Gallery is a highly accomplished Reader in Fashion Business and Technology at the University of Manchester. Drawing upon a solid foundation in Fashion Product Development and Marketing, Charlene seamlessly combines her academic expertise with practical industry experience. Charlene's research centres around digital fashion innovation and social responsibility. As the Employability Lead within the School of Materials, Charlene is dedicated to fostering industry knowledge exchange partnerships that enable the transfer of expertise and insights between academia and the fashion industry. These partnerships serve as valuable conduits for collaboration, facilitating the sharing of best practices, cutting-edge technologies, and industry trends. Charlene's forward-thinking and interdisciplinary approach underscores her commitment to equipping students with the necessary tools to thrive in the ever-changing fashion industry, all while promoting sustainable practices. Charlene is a member of AdvanceHE, The Textile Institute, FACE, WHEN and the Academy of Marketing.

Beena George

Faculty for Business Department, University of St. Thomas - Houston

Beena George is a professor at the University of St. Thomas - Houston, where she teaches courses on business strategy and other management topics. Her research interests span outsourcing of business services, business model innovation, and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Dr. George has a passion for exploring new teaching methods and integrating technology in the classroom. She served as Chief Innovation Officer and Dean of the Cameron School of Business, where she pioneered innovative programs and strengthened engagement with the Houston business community.

Kat Good-Schiff

Instructional Services Librarian, Springfield Technical Community College

Kat Good-Schiff is the Instructional Services Librarian at Springfield Technical Community College (STCC) in Massachusetts, where she provides reference services to students, library support services to faculty, and content maintenance for the library’s instructional videos. She has been exploring generative AI’s potentials and pitfalls since March 2023 as a member of two statewide communities of practice, and she is the lead author of the STCC Library's guide on Artificial Intelligence in Teaching & Learning, which is available at: A graduate of Hampshire College, Goddard College, and Simmons University, she lives in western Massachusetts.

Dr. Natandra Gradney

Biology Professor, San Jacinto Community College

Dr. Natandra Gradney is a native of Texas; however, as an Army brat, she has lived in and traveled to several places throughout the world. This influenced her love for traveling, nature, and learning about different cultures (especially the food). 

Dr. Gradney graduated from Dillard University, with a Bachelor of Art in Secondary Biology Education. She holds a Master of Science in Curriculum and Instruction (C&I) and Doctorate in C&I with a STEM focus from the University of Houston-Clear Lake. Dr. Gradney was a high school science teacher for eight years prior to becoming a biology professor at San Jacinto College. Teaching at both the secondary and post-secondary education levels confirmed that her true desire is to have a positive impact on students and their overall success.

Andrea Guthridge

Instructional Designer, University of North Dakota

Andrea Guthridge is an Instructional Designer and Educator at University of North Dakota's School of Medicine and Health Sciences. She creates meaningful content and assists faculty in using the best pedagogical and andragogical practices to meet the needs of all learners. She is skilled in Blackboard, Storyline, E-learning, Instructional Design (ID), User Experience Design (UX), and Curriculum Development. Andrea has created content and classes for Undergraduate, Graduate, Professional, Non-credit, and Self-paced Courses for the School of Medicine & Health Sciences, Nursing, Engineering, Aerospace, and Education.

Meredith Hawcroft

Instructional Designer, USC Aiken

Meredith Grace Hawcroft is an instructional designer in the Office of Online Learning and Support at the University of South Carolina Aiken. She’s spent the last six years in higher education utilizing technology to improve the teaching experience for faculty as well as the learning experience for students. Meredith’s primary research interest is accessibility, which is closely tied to equity, inclusion, and retention of students. She specifically is interested in the accessibility of online course materials and the implementation of various technologies to improve the learning outcomes for all students.

Susmita Hazra

Assistant Professor, Cameron University

Susmita Hazra, PhD, is an assistant professor of physics at Cameron University. She received her PhD degree in space physics and remote sensing from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Dr. Hazra is very enthusiastic in teaching physics. She has developed online courses in astronomy and physical sciences at undergraduate level. She is a Quality Matter certified peer reviewer for online courses. She is interested in innovative classroom teaching technology to prepare students for professional success and develop a life-long learning mind set for science. Her research area includes space physics, observational astronomy, image processing, physics education, and digital learning in science education. She is very passionate about promoting physics and engineering as a career for young girls. She has been actively involved in various physics outreach activities from Chemistry, Physics, and Engineering department of Cameron University. She is also a board member of Oklahoma Women in Higher Education.

Mary-Colleen Jenkins

Instruction Accessibility Specialist, University of Washington

Mary-Colleen Jenkins is an Instruction Accessibility Specialist on IT-Accessible Technologies team at the University of Washington (UW). Mary-Colleen’s area of focus is outreach and faculty development, so her role is about supporting faculty in making their course materials, especially digital content, accessible to students with disabilities. The philosophy she shares with faculty who are working to strengthen accessibility of their courses is “Progress over Perfection.” Each step forward is an important step forward. Prior to joining the Accessible Technologies team in 2022, Mary-Colleen enjoyed a 30-year teaching career in higher education. She has won awards for her work in two programs at the UW: the Engineering Communication Program in the College of Engineering and the Professional Certificate in Editing program in UW’s Continuum College

Janna Kellinger

Professor in Curriculum and Instruction, University of Massachusetts, Boston

Dr. Janna Kellinger is a Professor in Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Massachusetts Boston. She has published numerous articles and book chapters on game-based teaching, including ones specifically about using Learning Management Systems as game engines. Her latest book, A Guide to Designing Curricular Games, outlines a process educators can use to create their own curricular games.

Jamie Kleinman

Associate Professor in Residence, University of Connecticut

Jamie Kleinman, PhD, is an Associate Professor in Residence in the Department of Psychological Science at the UConn-Avery Point campus. She is a Faculty Affiliate with UConn's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning and has been a member of the Education Technology Steering Committee for almost ten years. Jamie has been using competency based grading systems in her undergraduate courses since 2017 and leads workshops and gives presentation on how instructors can incorporate this system into their courses. She is the recipient of numerous teaching and advising awards for engagement and innovation and is currently serving as the University's Assessment Fellow for the migration to a new general education system.

Aurelie Le Normand

Senior Lecturer in Fashion, University of Manchester

Aurelie Le Normand is a lecturer in Fashion and the Teaching Enhancement Lead for Fashion Business Technology (FBT) discipline in the Department of Materials, University of Manchester. She teaches on a variety of units across the BSc Fashion Business programs relating to buying & merchandising, fashion CAD, fashion communication and entrepreneurship. Aurelie has an industry background and worked as a fashion designer for well-known organizations in France and in the UK. Aurelie's design work is recognised for challenging the perception of fashion as a means of design innovation. Her forward thinking also highly influences her commitment to develop graduates who will drive innovation in fashion practices. Her teaching and scholarly activities are driven by her subject knowledge and expertise in digital literacy.

Marisha Marks

Instructional Designer, Springfield Technical Community College

Marisha Marks is an instructional designer at Springfield Technical and Community College. Marisha has been assisting faculty with online pedagogy and course design for over a decade, learning and teaching about promising practices with student success in mind. Marisha’s area of interest is in accessibility and Universal Design for Learning. Marisha looks for opportunities to remove student barriers to learning with AI, technology, and innovative teaching strategies.

Wayne Mier

Clinical Assistant Professor, Jacksonville University

Dr. Wayne Mier is a Clinical Assistant Professor; Master of Science in Medical Sciences, Program Coordinator; and Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences Program Coordinator at Jacksonville University (JU). Dr. Mier started his career in healthcare as a Registered Respiratory Therapist and Registered Pulmonary Function technologist. He received his BS degree in Healthcare Management from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale. He earned his Master of Arts in Education in Adult Education and Distance Learning from the University of Phoenix. He developed a passion for education and received his Education Specialist degree and PhD in Computing Technology in Education from Nova Southeastern University.

Ellis Reeves

Director of Online Learning and Support, USC Aiken

Ellis is the Director of Online Learning and Support at USC Aiken. He has an undergraduate degree in English and a graduate degree in Learning Designs and Technologies, both from USC Aiken. He is passionate about course development, artificial intelligence, and the student learning experience.

Jennifer Reichart, PhD

DEIB Leader, Faculty and Organizational Developer, Author, Speaker, Consultant, Emotional Intelligence Life Coach, Watercolor Consulting

Jennifer (Jenny) Reichart is a nationally recognized Holmes Scholar, published author, celebrated speaker, and DEIB (diversity, equity, and inclusion, belonging) leader. She has worked for over fifteen years in higher education. Her research examines complex equity problems affecting underserved students using design and systems thinking. She has served as an instructor, consultant, and executive administrator, creating open pathways to, from, and within higher education. She is an expert in trauma-informed/resilience-focused instruction, a trailblazer in faculty and student self-care practices, and a certified emotional intelligence life coach in the area of higher education executive leadership. She is the owner and founder of Watercolor Consulting, an innovative higher education consulting firm that utilizes design and systems thinking to work with executive leaders in higher education to create policies and practices that improve access, efficiency, equity, productivity, and belonging through a unique process improvement method.

Veronica Rodriguez

Instructional Designer, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley

My name is Veronica Rodriguez and I'm an Instructional Designer at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley at the Center of Online Learning and Teaching Technology. I've been an Instructional Designer for more than fourteen years and I really enjoy helping Faculty members and Students at the University. I earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in educational technology. Personally, I really enjoy reading good novels and some literature books.

Kathryn Taccone

Co-CEO, Open Pixel Studios

Kathryn Taccone is a co-founder and creative at Open Pixel Studios, a women-owned animation studio. She has been an executive for the last 6.5 years in her business, and has gained experience in multiple industries through her unique background and affiliation with animation, video games, film, and theater. Her passion for understanding how a production comes together has driven her to create her own curriculum in college and start her own studio in 2017.

Tori Wagner

University of Connecticut


Catie Weaver

Instructional Designer II, Western Kentucky University

Catie Weaver is an Instructional Designer II in the Center for Innovative Teaching & Learning at Western Kentucky University. As an instructional designer, Catie collaborates with university faculty and provides consultation in course design, sequencing of instruction, assessment, and the use of instructional technology to promote student engagement in the online and hybrid learning environments. Catie is also an adjunct instructor in The School of Leadership and Professional Studies at WKU and serves as the Vice-Chair of Awards and Recognition for UPCEA’s eDesign Collaborative Network.

Christopher Wydra

Associate Professor, Pennsylvania Western University

Associate Professor of Criminal Justice and Coordinator for the Doctorate in Criminal Justice program.

Michael Young

Professor Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut

Dr. Young is a professor in the Neag School of Education at UConn. His research involves a Situated Cognitive perspective on teaching and learning, and recently focuses on the wise integration of technology using a playful approach to learning.