Innovating Learning in Organizations

From single institutions to large systems, the challenge of innovating within higher education has never more been necessary. The process of innovation is not well understood throughout education, yet these leaders are succeeding. What are the keys to success? What are the challenges? How do they establish goals? What is the leadership style necessary? What does the future look like if we are to become innovation engines? Listen to leaders in the field answer these questions and debate the necessary changes for success.

The panel intends to initiate meaningful interdisciplinary dialogues among #OLCinnovate conference participants to understand the multifaceted nature of conceptualizing, planning, executing, evaluating, and most importantly, sustaining learning innovations across organizations and industry sectors. This panel will be focused on the systematic impact and issues dealt with at the management level; however it will impact all stakeholders involved in learning and development.


Panel of Experts


Gerry Hanley, MERLOT and California State University, Office of the Chancellor

Gerard L. Hanley Ph.D. is the Executive Director of MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching) and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Academic Technology Services for the California State University, Office of the Chancellor. At MERLOT, he directs the development, delivery, and sustainability of MERLOT’s organization and services to enhance teaching and learning with academic technologies. At the CSU, Gerry oversees the development and implementation of integrated digital library services and resources, academic technology services, and the accessible technology initiative supporting the CSU’s 23 campuses. Previously held positions in the CSU include Professor of Psychology, Director of Faculty Development and Director of Strategic Planning. He received his BA, MA, and PhD from SUNY at Stony Brook in Psychology.



Cathy Sandeen, University of Wisconsin Colleges

Cathy Sandeen, a leader in higher education and innovation, began her appointment as the third chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Colleges and the University of Wisconsin-Extension on December 15, 2014.

UW Colleges, which serves almost 14,000 traditional and nontraditional students, is comprised of 13 campuses around the state and UW Colleges Online. UW-Extension partners with 72 counties, three tribal nations, and statewide and local public and private organizations to deliver a range of educational programs and services throughout the state to serve Wisconsin’s 6 million residents.

Sandeen previously was vice president for education attainment and innovation at the American Council on Education (ACE), the nation’s largest and most visible association representing all sectors of higher education. She led ACE’s efforts to increase postsecondary educational attainment, and oversaw ACE’s Center for Education Attainment and Innovation, including major grant programs, the ACE credit recommendation service, and veterans’ programs.

Sandeen has more than 22 years of leadership experience at three University of California campuses. From 2006 to 2012, Sandeen served as dean of UCLA Extension at the University of California Los Angeles. Prior to joining UCLA, she served for six years as vice provost and dean of University Extension and the summer session at University of California Santa Cruz. She also held several positions at University of California San Francisco.

A prolific writer and speaker, Sandeen has published and presented widely on various aspects of educational innovation and nontraditional students and has received major grants.

Sandeen earned a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Utah and a Master of Business Administration degree from the UCLA Anderson School of Management.



Jeff Grabill, Michigan State University – The HUB for Innovation in Learning and Technology

Jeff Grabill a Professor of Rhetoric and Professional Writing. His research focuses on how digital writing is associated with citizenship and learning, and that work has been located in community contexts, in museums, and in classrooms at both the K-12 and university levels. He is a Senior Fellow with University Outreach & Engagement. At Michigan State, he helped develop and led a new major in Professional Writing, was a founder of the Writing in Digital Environments (WIDE) Research Center (now Writing, Information, and Digital Experience), and serves as Chair of the Department of Writing, Rhetoric, and American Cultures. Dr. Grabill is also a co-founder of Drawbridge Incorporated, an educational technology company.

In his role as Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology, Dr. Grabill is responsible for guiding the development of technology-enhanced instruction on campus. He works collaboratively with the chief information officer on issues related to the teaching and learning experience and actively engages with the deans of the Graduate School and undergraduate education on new models related to curriculum development and delivery.



Panel Moderator


Karen Vignare, University of Maryland University College (UMUC)

Karen Vignare, Ph.D., currently serves as Vice Provost, the Center for Innovation in Learning and Student Success at University of Maryland University College (UMUC) leading the search and evaluation for next generation learning models. Karen is responsible for implementing collaborative innovations which may include prior learning, course design, analytics, adaptive learning, e-resources, open educational resources, instructional design changes and competency based models. She was previous a Director at MSUglobal at Michigan State University. MSUglobal is responsible for helping departments at MSU integrate emerging technologies. She publishes regularly on various topics in online learning. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University and a M.B.A from the University of Rochester’s William Simon School of Business.