Dr. MJ Bishop is the inaugural director of the University System of Maryland's Center for Academic Innovation, which was established in 2013 to enhance and promote USM's position as a national leader in higher education academic innovations. The Center conducts research on best practices, disseminates findings, offers professional development opportunities for institutional faculty and administrators, and supports the 14 public institutions that are part of the system as they continue to expand innovative academic practices.
Prior to coming to USM, Dr. Bishop was Associate Professor and Director of the Lehigh University College of Education's Teaching, Learning, and Technology Program where, in addition to being responsible for the institution's graduate programs in instructional technology, she also played a leadership role in guiding the general and special education teacher preparation programs through a curricular overhaul to address the new Pennsylvania Department of Education (PDE) guidelines for teacher certification.
While at Lehigh, Dr. Bishop received several awards for her research and teaching including the 2013 Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching for leading students to "excellence in their chosen field" as well as "excellence as human beings and as leaders of society." In addition to her teaching, MJ was project director and a Co-PI of the Clipper Project, a 5-year Andrew Mellon funded research project aimed at evaluating the short- and long-term costs and benefits associated with offering Web-based courses to high-school seniors who had been "pre-admitted" to the university.
Prior to Lehigh, MJ was a software development project manager and Vice President for Operations on the Multimedia Thinking Skills (MMTS) project (funded by CAETI and National Science Foundation under subcontracts from George Mason University) where she was principally responsible for the daily management of the MMTS project, including formative and summative evaluation of the modules developed.
Author of numerous national and international articles, Dr. Bishop's research interests include exploring how various instructional media and delivery systems might be designed and used more effectively to improve learning and teaching. MJ holds a doctorate in instructional design and development from Lehigh, a master's in English from Millersville University and a bachelor's in political science and English from Lebanon Valley College.
Nancy O'Neill joined the Kirwan Center in February 2016 and has served as the Associate Director since April 2016. She currently leads a project on taking high-impact educational practices (HIPs) to scale that involves four USM institutions and helps to lead the Kirwan Center’s system-wide digital badging initiative, Badging Essential Skills for Transitions (B.E.S.T.). She also convenes the General Education directors from across the system to strategize and share best practices. Prior to being at USM, she served as the Director of the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Technology at the University of Baltimore from 2012 to 2016. While at UB, her work focused on supporting faculty innovation in teaching as well as curriculum development and alignment, student learning assessment, and institutional effectiveness. She ran a faculty learning communities program from 2013 to 2016, which engaged more than 60 faculty in semester- and year-long cohorts focused on pedagogical innovation and student success. She also developed community-building events, including an annual teaching and learning day that attracted 75+ faculty/year and drew participants from across the USM. In her last year at UB, she helped guide the University’s general education reform and institutional assessment efforts. This included leading large-scale rubrics assessment and engaging all student affairs and enrollment management functional areas in the development of learning outcomes for the student-facing programs and services.
Before moving to Baltimore in 2012, Nancy spent a decade at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), contributing to national projects related to high-impact practices, undergraduate curriculum and quality, assessment, institutional renewal, and diversity and equity initiatives. Highlights include managing the implementation and dissemination phases of a grant-funded project involving 23 colleges and universities focused on educating students for personal and social responsibility (PSR), and supporting campus change projects involving institutional leadership teams through consultations, institutes, and project meetings. She was involved in the piloting and launching of a campus climate survey within the consortium and ultimately shepherded three research reports, an administrator’s guide, and a user’s guide to publication. Also within that project, she organized a crosswalk of new national data provided by leading educational researchers, leading to another publication. Earlier in her tenure at AAC&U, she guided to publication a series of research reports focused on building campus capacity to evaluate diversity efforts, part of the dissemination phase of a grant-funded project involving a consortium of California colleges and universities.
Nancy earned a master's degree in American Studies and a master's degree in College Student Personnel from the University of Maryland, and a bachelor's in journalism and social criticism from the University of Buffalo. In fall of 2018, she will be starting a doctoral program in higher education management at the University of Pennsylvania.
Paul Walsh is the Program Director for USMx and works with the University System of Maryland's institutions to expand access to affordable, high-quality educational opportunities via the edX platform. Through USMx courses and programs, Paul collaborates with system institutions to conduct groundbreaking research, instill a culture of innovation, and promote workforce development.
Before taking on his current role, Paul was Assistant Vice President for Academic Innovation and Instructional Support at the University of Baltimore. In this role, Paul had oversight of the Office of Academic Innovation, which included UB's Honors program, Experiential Learning, Instructional Technologies, and the Center for Excellence in Learning, Teaching, and Technology (CELTT).
Paul has developed e-Learning courses of all types, as well as policy and strategic plans for online growth and course quality. He serves on several non-profit and local school boards and lives in Timonium with his wife and two daughters.