About: Advisory Board

The Kirwan Center relies on its Advisory Board of esteemed thought leaders in the fields of education, research, and policy from both within and outside of the University System of Maryland. The Advisory Board plays an important role in shaping the agenda and developing the long-range plan to sustain the mission and initiatives of the Center. Advisory Board members provide expertise and perspective to help develop and inform the projects and priorities for the Center.

William E. Kirwan


Chancellor Emeritus, University System of Maryland

William E. "Brit" Kirwan is chancellor emeritus of the University System of Maryland (USM). As chancellor from 2002 to 2015, he led the state's public higher education system, which comprises 12 institutions, two regional higher education centers, and a system office.

A respected academic leader, Dr. Kirwan is a nationally recognized authority on critical issues shaping the higher education landscape. He is a sought-after speaker and consultant on a wide range of topics, including access and affordability, academic transformation and excellence, cost containment, and higher education's role in economic and workforce development. Under Kirwan's leadership, USM became well known for its success in each of these areas.

On the national level, Kirwan chairs the National Research Council Board of Higher Education and Workforce, co-chairs the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, and co-chairs the Task Force on Government Regulation of Higher Education, appointed by the U.S. Senate Education Committee. He also serves on the Business-Higher Education Forum and several statewide and regional boards.

Among his many honors are the TIAA-CREF Theodore M. Hesburgh Award for Leadership (2010) and the Carnegie Corporation Leadership Award (2009). In 2002, he was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Dr. Kirwan has served as president of The Ohio State University and the University of Maryland, College Park. He received his doctoral and master's degrees from Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, and his bachelor's degree from the University of Kentucky, all in mathematics.

Alison Wrynn


Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, University System of Maryland

Since January 2023, Alison Wrynn has served as the USM Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs. From 2016-2022 she served in a variety of administrative roles for the California State University (CSU) Office of the Chancellor including Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Programs, Innovations and Faculty Development, interim Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Programs and Faculty Development and interim State University Dean, Academic Programs and State University Associate Dean for Academic Programs. From 2014-2016 she served as the Director of Undergraduate Studies & General Education at CSU, Fullerton and, for 14 years she was a faculty member in the Department of Kinesiology at CSU, Long Beach, earning tenure and serving as a full Professor.

Dr. Wrynn’s academic career began with a B.S. in Physical Education from Springfield (Mass.) College, an M.A. in Physical Education from California State University, Long Beach, and a Ph.D. in Human Biodynamics from the University of California, Berkeley. Her area of scholarly research is in the history of sports medicine and exercise science, including a particular emphasis on gender issues. She served as the editor of the Journal of Sport History for the North American Society for Sport History and is a fellow of the National Academy of Kinesiology, the National Association for Kinesiology in Higher Education, and the Research Consortium of the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance.

B. Gary Dando,

University System of Maryland Foundation Board

Gary Dando has served on Micro Systems, Inc. Board of Directors since November 2003 and is Chairman of the Audit Committee. Mr. Dando professional career was with Ernst & Young LLP for 37 years, the last 25 of which as a Partner, until his retirement in June 2001. From 1983 until 1990, Mr. Dando was the Partner In Charge of development, distribution and delivery for worldwide education and training for Ernst & Young partners and employee professional staff. Additionally, Mr. Dando is currently a member of the Board of Trustees, University System of Maryland Foundation, Inc., where he serves as Treasurer, and from July 2001 to June 2007 was a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of Maryland College Park Foundation, where he was a member of the Budget and Audit Committee. Mr. Dando has been the President of the Robert H. Smith School of Business Foundation Board of Directors since 1997. Mr. Dando is a graduate of the University of Maryland, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting.

Michael Feldstein,

Chief Accountability Officer, e-Literate

Michael Feldstein is Chief Accountability Officer at e-Literate, a mission-driven organization dedicated to helping higher education and the education companies that serve them continuously improve in their efforts to enable more students to succeed in a 21st-Century world. Previously, he was a Partner at MindWires Consulting, Senior Program Manager of MindTap at Cengage Learning and Principal Product Strategy Manager for Academic Enterprise Solutions (formerly Academic Enterprise Initiative, or AEI) at Oracle Corporation. Prior to that, Feldstein was an Assistant Director at the SUNY Learning Network, where he oversaw blended learning faculty development and was part of the leadership team for the LMS platform migration efforts of this 40-campus program. Before SUNY, he was co-founder and CEO of a company that provided e-learning and knowledge management products and services to Fortune 500 corporations, with a special emphasis on software simulations. He has also been the interim CLO at The Otter Group, a Senior Partner at Christensen/Roberts Solutions, and a Senior Instructional Designer at Raymond Karsan Associates. In previous lives, Feldstein has been a freelance writer, an English Ph.D. student, a middle school and high school teacher, a tire wrangler at a Yokohama Tire warehouse, and a professional loafer at Schooley’s Mountain County Park. Feldstein has been a member of the Sakai Foundation Board of Directors, a participant in the IMS, and a member of eLearn Magazine's Editorial Advisory Board. He is a frequent invited speaker on a range of e-learning-related topics having been invited to speak on topics including e-learning usability, the future of the LMS, ePortfolios, and edupatents for organizations ranging from the eLearning Guild to the Postsecondary Electronic Standards Council, and has been interviewed as an e-learning expert by a variety of media outlets, including The Chronicle of Higher Education, the Associated Press, and U.S. News and World Report.

Anne Keehn,

Founder, CEO, Quantum Thinking

Anne Keehn is the Founder and CEO or Quantum Thinking. As a leader and visionary in education innovation, digital transformation, enterprise education solutions design, she has worked in higher education and for top named companies such as InStride, Blackboard, Pearson, Kaplan, Datatel & SCT (now Ellucian), PeopleSoft (now Oracle) and was a Postsecondary Senior Fellow for Innovation & Technology, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founded the global consulting practice, Quantum Thinking. She also served as Director of Development for Prescott College. She is published and speaks globally about education technology, design, innovation and the future of higher education.

Phillip Long,

Special Advisor, Arizona State University and Senior Scholar, Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship, Georgetown University

Phillip Long’s broad interests focus on leveraging technology to augment learning and benefit society. Long’s time is dedicated primarily to ‘passion projects’ through his appointment as a Senior Scholar at the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship at Georgetown University, and separately through RHz Consulting, his LLC. In June 2018, Long retired from his position as Associate Vice Provost and Chief Innovation Officer at the University of Texas, Austin, where he worked on Project 2021. While there, he provided leadership during the wind down of the Institute for Transformational Learning within the UT System and offered guidance to the university’s strategy for technology-enhanced learning, online learning including edX MOOCs, learning analytics, application of blockchains to education, and the design of learning environments. Long’s current research interests focus on active and blended learning pedagogies, credentialing linked to evidence of learning, open ledger (blockchain) applications, remote laboratories, emerging technologies and the analytics that can be captured by instrumenting interactions in both virtual and physical environments with the goal of informing learner decision-making. Long’s professional collaborations are eclectic and international, including leadership roles in the acronym soup of SoLAR, edX, the NMC, IMSGLOBAL and AAEEBL. He is a member of the Board of Directors for Nexford University, a competency-based educational program for English speakers primarily targeting learners developing countries. A lapsed biologist turned learning scientist, Long earned a Ph.D. in biology from Penn State University.

Amelia Parnell,

Vice President for Research and Policy, NASPA

Amelia Parnell is vice president for research and policy at NASPA – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education, where she leads many of the Association’s scholarly and advocacy-focused activities. Amelia’s policy and practitioner experiences include prior roles in association management, legislative policy analysis, internal audit, and TRIO programs.

Amelia writes and speaks frequently about topics related to student affairs, college affordability, student learning outcomes, leadership in higher education, and institutions’ use of data and analytics. She is the author of the new book, You Are a Data Person: Strategies for Using Analytics on Campus and host of the new podcast, Speaking of College.

Amelia currently serves on the board of directors for EDUCAUSE and is an advisor to several other higher education organizations. She holds a Ph.D. in higher education from Florida State University and masters and bachelor’s degrees in business administration from Florida A & M University.

Ellen Wagner,

Research Faculty, Institute for Training and Simulation, University of Central Florida; Affiliate Faculty, College of Education and the College of Performing and Visual Arts, George Mason University

Ellen Wagner is the general manager of North Coast EduVisory Services, LLC, a consulting organization that works with higher education and corporate clients to make better strategic use of emerging technologies.  She currently supports the IEEE IC Industry Consortium on Learning Engineering. From 2016-2018, Wagner was Vice President, Research for Hobsons, an educational software company. She co-founded the Predictive Analytics Reporting (PAR) Framework and served as chief strategy officer from its inception in 2010 until its acquisition by Hobsons in 2016. Prior to PAR Framework, she was Vice-President for Technology at the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education, which included serving as Executive Director of WICHE’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies from 2009 to 2013. Wagner is the former senior director of worldwide eLearning, Adobe Systems, Inc. and was senior director of worldwide education for Macromedia, Inc. at the time of its acquisition by Adobe. As Chief Learning Officer at both Informania, Inc. and Viviance new education, AG, she supervised the developments of corporate education, learning content and courses, featuring programs including Novell, Inc. certifications and 12 of the original CBE programs offered by Western Governors University. Wagner’s prior career as a tenured university professor and administrator featured positions as Chair of the Educational Technology Program at the University of Northern Colorado, Academic Affairs Coordinator of Instructional and Research Technologies and Director of the Western Institute for Distance Education. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Sam Zappas,

Business Consultant

Sam Zappas heads a consulting practice focused on formulating and executing revenue strategy.  Over the years he has been a member of several boards of non-profits and private companies. He was a senior executive at ARTISTdirect, Inc.; a co-founder of CityInteractive, the Internet division of media conglomerate CHUM Limited, and a founder of Acmepet, which was acquired by PetSmart. He was also a founder of The Johns Hopkins University Media Center. Zappas has served as a Director on the University System of Maryland Foundation Board since 2001. He also advises several agricultural technology and early stage companies.