In the short time since the Kirwan Center was established, all of the USM campuses and its 2 regional centers have hired and/or identified academic transformation leaders to coordinate their institutional efforts. Most of these individuals report directly to the Provost and hold titles such as Assistant Provost Office of Academic Innovation, Vice Provost for Innovation in Learning and Student Success, and Associate Provost for Learning Initiatives.
To support the efforts of these institutional leaders, the Kirwan Center convened the Academic Transformation Advisory Council (ATAC) in December 2013. Council members bring a vast knowledge and understanding of the challenges facing their campuses and of the innovative work within their institutions that will address those issues. ATAC members serve a critical role as liaisons and advocates for their institutions and the Center. The Council meets 3-4 times per semester to generate ideas, find ways to collaborate, help shape the Center’s agenda, advance innovative programs and projects, and disseminate information back to the institutions.
Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives and Executive Director of the Teaching & Learning Transformation Center
Professor Benjamin B. Bederson is Associate Provost of Learning Initiatives and Executive Director of the Teaching and Learning Transformation Center (TLTC). As a professor of Computer Science and prior director of the Human-Computer Interaction Lab at the Institute for Advanced Computer Studies and iSchool at the University of Maryland, he has a lifetime of experience designing, building and studying interactive and educational systems. An ACM Distinguished Scientist, his research is on digital education, crowdsourcing, and interaction strategies.
As director of the TLTC, he is responsible for improving student learning experience and outcomes. The TLTC brings together professional development, incentives, support and infrastructure around pedagogy and educational technologies.
Mary Jo Bondy serves on the ATAC team as a representative from the University of Maryland Baltimore Graduate School. Dr. Bondy joined UMB in April of 2014 as the Director of Graduate Studies. Previously she served as the Physician Assistant Program Director and Department Chair for the Anne Arundel Community College PA Program from 2007-2014. Dr. Bondy received her Physician Assistant training at Duke University, and more recently completed her Doctoral degree in health education from A.T. Still University in 2011. Dr. Bondy is passionate about education and using technology to enhance learning and engagement. She has been recognized as a leader in education having received the NISOD award for teaching excellence.
Senior Director, Instructional Technology
: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Dr. Braxton currently serves as the Senior Director of Instructional Technology at UMBC, where she is responsible for leading the Division of Information Technology’s (DoIT) strategy for end-user support of instructional technologies including online, hybrid, and traditional “face-to-face” technologies. With over 20 years of experience in traditional classroom instruction and adult education strategies grounded in instructional design models, she also possesses over 18 years of experience using learning technologies in higher education settings, including the design and facilitation of online and hybrid courses. As a result, she has extensive working knowledge of numerous learning management systems including Blackboard, Sakai, and Desire2Learn (D2L).
As the Quality Matters (QM) Coordinator, Dr. Braxton oversees efforts on campus to ensure both the hybrid and online courses offered at UMBC are compliant with the nationally recognized standards identified in the QM Rubric. She brings prior experience managing this process from Johns Hopkins University, where she served as the Director of Distance Education for their Engineering for Professionals program, leading the faculty there through their first Quality Matters course reviews and certifications.
Dr. Braxton earned a Doctor of Science in Computer Science with Minors in Educational Leadership and Management Science from the George Washington University. She also holds a Master of Science in Computer Science with a Math Minor from North Carolina State University and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Wake Forest University.
In addition to her responsibilities as Assistant Vice President for Institutional Effectiveness, Gayle Fink serves as the University's ATAC coordinator and MSCHE accreditation liaison. In addition, Ms. Fink coordinates institutional level assessments and prepares key planning reports and analyses. She has over 20 years of institutional research and planning experience at the state, community college, governing board and public four-year institution levels. Professional accomplishments include: current President, Association for Institutional Research, past president of three local/regional/national professional organizations, MSCHE evaluator, chapter author in The Handbook of Institutional Research (2012) and workshop and concurrent session presenter at regional and national conferences.
Associate Provost for the Center for Innovation in Learning & Student Success
: University of Maryland University College
Cristi Ford, PhD brings more than 15 years of cumulative experience in higher education, project management, program evaluation, training, instructional design, and student services to her new role. Before joining UMUC, Ford served as director of the Research Academy for Integrated Learning for the University of the District of Columbia and as an assistant professor for UDC's Center for Academic Technology. Prior to UDC, Ford was the founding director of distance education at Hampton University, creating Hampton U Online with 22 online programs. She also teaches courses online for Prince George's Community College's department of psychological and sociological sciences.
In addition to her experience building new online learning programs and research related to teaching and learning in the online environment, Ford possesses significant experience in the design and delivery of integrated educational support, training, and transition services for young adults and children with neurodevelopment disabilities. She has served as associate director of training, Marshall University, Autism Training Center; coordinator, Integrated Services for Young Adults, Thompson Center for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Disorders; consultant, Trellis Services; ACT specialist, Kennedy Krieger High School; and transition specialist, Kennedy Krieger Institute.
Ford was selected by the Online Learning Consortium, as a 2012 participant in the Institute of Emerging Leaders in Online Learning and in 2013, received a Best-In-Track award from the Online Learning Consortium for a paper entitled, "Three Institutions, Three Missions, One Goal: Addressing Quality Assurance in Online Education." In 2014, she served as the summit chair for the Online Learning Consortium's HBCU Summit on Online Education. As a volunteer member of the Middle States Commission in Higher Education, Ford reviews distance education programs as a part of the accreditation team. She also serves as a national Quality Matters trainer at campuses across the country. Her research interests include online education and new strategies in the teaching and learning environment.
Ford holds a PhD in educational leadership from the University of Missouri-Columbia, and undergraduate and graduate degrees in the field of psychology from Hampton University and University of Baltimore, respectively.
A first-generation college student and immigrant to the US, Professor Glade earned her A.A. in English from Antelope Valley Community College; her B.A. in English from the University of California at Santa Barbara; and her M. A. and her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Washington State University. From 2004 to 2009 she was an (Assistant then) Associate Professor and Coordinator of the Graduation Writing Assessment Requirement at Sacramento State University; there, she taught undergraduate composition and writing-in-the-disciplines courses as well as graduate courses in the theory and practice of composition, rhetoric, second language reading and writing, and pedagogy. She also served as Vice Chair of the Department of English for four years.
Since coming to UB in Fall 2013, Professor Glade has served in three different capacities. As Director of the University Writing Program from 2013 to 2014, she worked collaboratively with the entire UB community to develop a sequenced writing program across the disciplines extending from an undergraduate student’s first semester through graduation. Following that, as interim Assistant Dean of the Yale Gordon College of Arts and Sciences from January 2015 to July 2016, Professor Glade ensured coordination and direction across and through UB’s solid infrastructure to support first-year and sophomore students through a state-of-the-art vertical general education program that ties foundational course work with upper-level course work shared by all UB undergraduates.
Since July 2016, Professor Glade has served as Assistant Provost for Undergraduate Studies, providing leadership for meeting the goals and objectives of the university’s Strategic Plan in regard to undergraduate education. Overseeing processes for curriculum development and assessment, she supports student access and completion. In this role, she oversees First-Year Experience, including First-Year Seminar, academic advising, First-Year Learning Communities, and Foundational Studies in math and writing. She also oversees placement; the Helen P. Denit Honors Program; and implementation and assessment of the General Education and Graduation Requirements curriculum.
Mark Halsey was named the Executive Director of the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown (USMH) in May of 2012. He is responsible for insuring that USMH, one of two regional higher education centers of the University System of Maryland, provides undergraduate and graduate academic programs which satisfy the interests of traditional and working adult students, and that advance the region's economic development.
Mark has served in higher education administration and teaching for twenty-seven years, including as Associate Director of Virginia Tech's online Distance Learning initiative, as Regional Director of Distance Learning for Old Dominion University, and as a full-time faculty member for seventeen years at Eastern University, where he also served as a Department Chair and as the Director of three graduate programs.
Mark began his career as a full-time management consultant, rising to Director with two different firms before entering academia. He continues to consult in the areas of nonprofit strategic planning and organizational development. He serves, or has served, on a number of nonprofit and corporate boards of directors, and has been an invited speaker, visiting professor or team leader of a higher education initiative in Bolivia, China, Guatemala, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, South Africa, and Vietnam.
Associate Vice Provost for Faculty Affairs & Director of Faculty Development Center
: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Linda C. Hodges, Director of the Faculty Development Center, was Director of the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Center for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University from 2003-2009 before retiring to Maryland. She holds a doctorate in biochemistry from the University of Kentucky and was a faculty member for over 20 years before transitioning into faculty development. Prior to coming to the McGraw Center in 2001 she was the William Rand Kenan, Jr. Professor of Chemistry at Agnes Scott College near Atlanta, Georgia. During her faculty tenure at two different institutions she taught a wide range of courses, participated in faculty governance, and served as department chair. In 1999 she was one of 28 faculty chosen nationally to study and assess new pedagogical approaches as a Carnegie Scholar of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. She has published widely on her work in faculty development, engaged student learning, and effective teaching practices. Her special interests are in pedagogies of engagement and the scholarship of teaching and learning.
Rose Jackson-Speiser is the Research and Data Coordinator for the Universities at Shady Grove. Rose acts as project lead for the USG Digital Badging effort. Additionally, she coordinates and analyzes USG wide assessments and many executive office programs including Student Research Day and a Policy Repository. Rose is also engaged in leadership programming across USG. Rose received her M.A. in higher education administration from the University of Maryland, College Park.
Kerrie L. Kephart,
Associate Director for Pedagogical Innovation, Research, and Assessment
: University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Kerrie Kephart is Associate Director for Pedagogical Innovation, Research, and Assessment in the Faculty Development Center, supporting faculty to innovate in their teaching and investigate issues of teaching and learning in their classrooms and disciplines. Her interests in faculty development include the scholarship of teaching and learning, pedagogies of reflection such as journaling and portfolio development, active learning and inquiry-based pedagogies, writing across the curriculum/in the disciplines, and discourses of teaching and learning. She holds a doctorate in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with a specialization in advanced academic literacy development. Prior to joining the FDC staff, she was Director of the Engineering Communication Program at the University of Washington, Seattle, and prior to that, she was Assistant Professor of ESL/Bilingual Education at the University of Texas at El Paso. In her previous positions, she conducted research studies in innovative teaching methods in the STEM fields and presented a workshop series in writing across the curriculum for faculty across all disciplines. She has also taught a variety of courses in language and literacy development, including academic writing for educators, writing the scientific article, technical communication, English as a second language pedagogy, principles of bilingual education, and discourse analysis.
Mary Lang is the Chief Strategy Officer and Chief of Staff at the Universities at Shady Grove (USG). USG is a University System of Maryland (USM) regional higher education center; a partnership of nine, public degree-granting institutions that gathers more than 80 undergraduate and graduate programs from across the state to one campus in Montgomery County. From the time she joined USG in 2005, as the Director of Planning/Chief of Staff, she has been responsible for creating and implementing strategic plans for current operations and growth plans for USG that incorporate developing and nurturing critical relationships with academic partners, community organizations and the USG Board of Advisors and the businesses and organizations they represent. USG has become nationally recognized for its innovation academic/instructional model, one that is predicated on effective partnering among USM institutions, area community colleges and K-12, and regional employers. In her role, Mary’s focus has been to support and expand pathways to affordable, innovative, high-quality public higher education that meet the distinctive needs of the region and are designed to support workforce and economic development in the state. Mary chairs USG’s Committee for Interprofessional and Interdisciplinary Education Strategies and is the primary professional support for the USG Board of Advisors, USG’s Academic and Programs Advisory Committee, and the Shady Grove Governing Council. Mary is a member of the Workforce Investment Board for Montgomery County. She holds a MBA, George Mason University, and a BA in Economics, College of William and Mary.
Interim Director of Instructional Technology & Online Learning and Lecturer, English and Modern Languages
: University of Maryland Eastern Shore
Bonni Miller joined University of Maryland Eastern Shore as a faculty member in the English Department in 1999. As a faculty member, Bonni has been a campus leader in technology and innovation. She created UMES’ first online course and continually strives to make online learning as engaging and effective as traditional learning. Bonni recently moved into instructional technology serving as the Interim Director of the Center for Instructional Technology and Online Learning. As an alumna of the University of Maryland schools, Bonni is particularly invested in the system’s innovative aims and is delighted to represent UMES at the Kirwan Center.
Director, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, and Professor of Fisheries Science
: University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science
Tom Miller is a professor of fisheries science and director of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science’s founding campus, the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory in Solomons, Maryland. Born in the England and educated in the UK, US and Canada, Tom was initially appointed to the CBL faculty in 1994, and became director in 2011. During his career, he has been a leader in the development of approaches to manage several Chesapeake Bay species, including crabs and striped bass, combining laboratory, field and modeling approaches to address questions of interest to society. Most recently, his research has focused on both the effects of ocean acidification on blue crab, recruitment issues in menhaden and striped bass and stakeholder involvement in recreational fisheries. His work has been funded by a diverse array of agencies including NSF, NOAA, EPA, Maryland Sea Grant and the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation.
Dr. Miller serves on the Scientific and Management Committees for the Mid-Atlantic Fishery Management Council, the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, and Potomac River Fisheries Commission. He has served on several National Academy Panels. He is a Governor’s Appointee to the Patuxent River Commission, and the Board of the Chesapeake Bay Trust. Dr. Miller previously served on the Maryland Task Force on Ocean Acidification. He has been the recipient of the President’s Award for the Application of Science at UMCES and received the 2015 USM Regents’ Faculty Award for Public Service, the highest honor that the Board bestows to recognize exemplary faculty achievement. Dr. Miller is a two-time recipient of the Graduate Education Award for excellence in teaching from the Marine Estuarine Environmental Sciences program at the University of Maryland.
Assistant Vice President for Academic Operations, Office of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, College of Behavioral and Social Sciences; Associate Professor, Applied Psychology and Rehabilitation Counseling
: Coppin State University
Dr. Rolande Murray has been in higher education since 1996 after completing her doctoral training in personality/developmental psychology at Northeastern University in Boston. After receiving her degree, she accepted a three-year postdoctoral position at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health in the area of Prevention Science. Dr. Murray joined Coppin State University in 1999, where she has served as faculty, department chair, and in other administrative roles. In addition to enjoying her faculty role, where she interacts with students on a daily basis, Dr. Murray has also found great satisfaction in working with colleagues on the Faculty Information Technology Committee (FITC). As a member of this committee, Dr. Murray has been able to introduce new cutting edge technology that has transformed teaching and learning at Coppin.
Jane Neapolitan is Assistant Provost for Academic Innovation and Professor of Instructional Leadership and Professional Development at Towson University. She holds an Ed.D. from Teachers College, Columbia University and has worked as a faculty member and administrator in teacher education programs for 25 years. Her scholarly focus has been research on professional development schools (PDS), a school-university-community partnership model for teacher education and school reform. As head of the Office of Academic Innovation, she is part of a national trend toward innovation in higher education that will improve outcomes for students and faculty by using an intentional approach to curriculum and teaching. She leads several academic transformation efforts on her campus, including Course Redesign-Towson Style and the Universal Design for Learning Professional Development Network.
Activities and Societies: American Educational Research Association (AERA): Co-Program Chair, Division K, Section 8, Professional Development; Past SIG Chair, Professional Development School Research. Teachers College Record: Editorial Board. Maryland Association of Teacher Educators (MATE): Executive Board, Member-at-large. Phi Delta Kappa International (PDK): Past President, Towson University Chapter.
Doris Santamaria-Makang has been at Frostburg State University for 10 years. As Interim Associate Provost, Santamaria-Makang oversees program review and development, academic affairs initiatives related to curriculum revision, outcomes assessment, and student learning. She also serves as the main FSU liaison to USM and the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC). As part of this liaison work, she coordinates FSU’s involvement in system-wide initiatives, such as digital badging, course redesign, and graduate outcomes assessment.
Prior to her role in the Provost’s office, she was a faculty member in the College of Education. While there, she focused on curriculum development for graduate programs, including the master’s degree in curriculum and instruction and the doctoral program in education and leadership. She was also the NCATE coordinator for the professional education unit and was responsible for the successful NCATE accreditation review in 2007. Dr. Santamaria-Makang earned an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in science education from Boston University. Her areas of interest/research include outcomes assessment, curriculum development, and educational leadership.
Jack Suess is the Vice President of Information Technology at UMBC. The Vice President of Information Technology is the university's Chief Information Officer (CIO). As Vice President, he provides university leadership for information technology at UMBC and serves on the executive leadership team of the university. He is responsible for providing information technology services in support of teaching and scholarship, research computing, and administrative support. Reporting directly to the President, he is responsible for strategic planning and implementation, coordination, budget, personnel, and policy related to information technology at UMBC.
Mr. Suess is an alum of UMBC and has worked at UMBC since 1981. He holds a B.A. Mathematics and M.S. Operations Analysis. Throughout the years, he has taught a number of courses at UMBC, including Computer Organization and Assembly Programming, Unix System Administration, and Computers and Society. He has led UMBC information technology since 1997 and was appointed UMBC CIO in 2000. During his tenure, UMBC has been recognized as a leader in the use of information technology.
Since February 2012, Dr. Becky Verzinski has served as the Assistant Vice President for Assessment at Bowie State University (BSU) where she is responsible for the assessment of academic programs, program reviews, and the assessment of the General Education Program (GEP). She is BSU's principal investigator for the Maryland Higher Education Commission’s (MHEC) One Step Away Grant (OSA) Initiative that helps near-completer students to graduate. Since 2013, she has graduated 19 students under the OSA initiative. Previously, she was responsible for the assessment of the GEP at Morgan State University from 2008-2012. From 1998-2008, Dr. Verzinski served as an assistant director in the student affairs division at Towson University. She has 20 years of experience in higher education and also teaches graduate courses in organizational communications at Bowie State.
While in Maryland, she has been active in many professional organizations. From 2009-2011, she served as the treasurer for the Women in Maryland Higher Education Executive (WIMHE) Board. As part of the Mid-Atlantic College and University Housing Officers (MACUHO) executive board, she served as treasurer (2007-2008) and also as the 2003 co-chair for the annual professional conference held in Baltimore.
Dr. Verzinski was awarded the University System of Maryland Women’s Forum Professional Development Grant (2008) and also the Distinguished Alumni Award (2008) from the Department of Student Affairs in Higher Education at IUP. Additionally, she was given the 2007 Outstanding Research Award by the College Student Educators International (ACPA) for her dissertation research on Impacting College Students’ Attitudes toward Mental Illness.
She earned her doctorate degree in Urban Educational Leadership from Morgan State University, her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP), and her bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Public Relations also from IUP. She lives in Baltimore with her husband and daughter.
Since June 2016, Richard Wilkens has served as Associate Provost at Salisbury University. At Salisbury, Dr. Wilkens successfully led the effort to obtain University System of Maryland approval for a new College of Health and Human Services. Dr. Wilkens has also worked to strengthen external collaborations with partner institutions in Maryland, including community colleges and satellite centers.
Prior to his current position, he was Provost and Chief Academic Officer at Dowling College, a small private institution in New York. As Provost, Dr. Wilkens’s primary focus was curricular enhancement and improved efficiency in all areas of operation. Dr. Wilkens successfully steered Dowling College off warning for two MSCHE standards in Spring 2015 and succeeded in obtaining MSCHE approval for three Substantive Change Requests (July 2015) to allow curricular offerings at partner sites in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Nassau County. At Dowling, he was one of the major architects of a new initiative aimed at making experiential learning a required part of the college experience.
Dr. Wilkens earned his PhD in Biology at Binghamton University in 1994. He went on to a Post-Doctoral position at Dartmouth College followed by a second at the University of Connecticut. His research area is ecology with a focus on plant-insect herbivore interactions. Dr. Wilkens has also published work on the teaching of biological concepts. Currently, Dr. Wilkens holds a tenured full Professor line in the Biology Department of Salisbury University, and at Dowling College he was a biology professor for 16 years. Dr. Wilkens served as Chair of Biology at Dowling College for seven years.