Current Faculty

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Luke Dowden - Profile

Luke Dowden (IELOL Graduate 2010, IELOL Faculty 2019 – 2020)

Dr. Luke Dowden recently joined the Alamo Colleges District as its Chief Online Learning Officer and Associate Vice Chancellor of Academic Affairs. Through Alamo Colleges Online, he will lead and support capacity building initiatives at all five colleges so each may gain a greater market share of online learners in their respective service areas.

Prior to joining Alamo Colleges Online, Dr. Dowden founded the Office of Distance Learning at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2010 and served as its Director for 8 years. Under Dowden’s leadership, the Office of Distance Learning earned the 2013 Online Learning Consortium’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching. Dowden was honored in 2014 as the inaugural recipient of the Online Learning Consortium Bruce N. Chaloux Award for Early Career Excellence in Online Education. Dowden’s other significant leadership achievements include the creation of an electronic course design and certification process, facilitating the development and delivery of 13 new online degree programs, and the creation of a suite of instructional technology tools for online course delivery.

Prior to joining UL Lafayette, Dowden founded the Division of Accelerated Learning at Bossier Parish Community College. He led the efforts to create 6 online, accelerated degree programs with wrap-around student support services. During this time, the Louisiana Board of Regents tabbed him to found the Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana. As Executive Director of CALL from 2008-2013, he worked primarily with 6 community colleges and regional universities to create and launch over 18 accelerated online degree programs, introduce prior learning assessment policies and strategies, and coordinate marketing the programs statewide to the over 500,000 adults with some college and no degree. He is a past Steering Committee and Executive Council Chair for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET).

Dowden earned a bachelor’s in History and a master’s degree in Adult Education from Northwestern State University before earning his Doctorate of Education in higher education administration in 2009 (Nova Southeastern University).  He is a 2010 Graduate of the Penn State and Online Learning Consortium Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL).

Angela Gunder (IELOL Faculty 2020)

Angela Gunder is OLC’s Vice President of Learning. Angela is responsible for gathering, curating, and leveraging the intellectual capital created by and disseminated through OLC. Her over fifteen-year career as a designer for higher education informs her leadership and design practices, where she leverages her expertise in instructional design, andragogy, web design, usability, visual communication, programming, and standards-based online learning.

Prior to her position at the OLC, Angela served as the Director of Instructional Design & Curriculum Development for the Office of Digital Learning, managing and mentoring the team that builds the fully-online programs for The University of Arizona. She holds a B.S. in Computer Science and Fine Art from Fordham University, an M.Ed. in Education Technology from Arizona State University, and is completing her Ph.D. in Teaching, Learning and Sociocultural Studies at The University of Arizona.

Amanda Major (IELOL Graduate 2015, IELOL Faculty 2019 – 2020)

Amanda Major, EdD, CPLP, PMP is an organizational development and project management specialist in the field of online learning in higher education. Currently, she currently contributes to projects at the University of Central Florida. Actively involved in the field, she has presented at national and international conferences and has peer-reviewed publications about e-learning organizational development, operations, and projects.

She holds a Project Management Professional certification from the Project Management Institution (PMI) and a Certified Professional in Learning and Performance certification from the Association for Talent Development (ATD). Additionally, she has earned administration certifications from the Online Learning Consortium and Quality Matters. Her academic credentials include an EdD in educational leadership, policy and law; an MA in industrial-organizational psychology; and a BA in interdisciplinary studies with a concentration in social psychological issues.

Amanda has experience delivering results in a variety of learner-focused and client-oriented environments. Prior to arriving at UCF Amanda taught online courses, partnered with online program management providers, participated in strategic planning efforts, developed policies, and improved business processes to contribute to quality online programs at a large, public, research-intensive University. She enjoys partnering with faculty and leading projects to enhance digital learning.

Dr. Carl Moore

Carl Moore (IELOL Graduate 2015, IELOL Faculty 2020)

Dr. Moore is currently the Assistant Chief Academic Officer at the University of the District of Columbia (UDC). He also serves as Certificate faculty in Temple University’s Teaching in Higher Education Certificate program, teaching faculty for USC’s Equity, and a workshop facilitator for the Online Learning Consortium. He is also frequently an invited speaker and consultant on inclusion, leadership, and faculty development and teaching and learning related topics. He has a Doctorate in Urban Education from Temple University and a Masters of Arts from The Ohio State University in Higher Education Administration. His dissertation investigated how exemplary college faculty employ Universal Design for Learning principles in their teaching practices.

Carl has been teaching for over 14 years. Along his path, he has served as maintained appointments across the faculty classification gamete serving in Instructional, Adjunct, and Tenure-Track faculty roles. He has also created and instructed a variety of courses in education at The Ohio State University, Temple University, Cabrini College, and Arcadia University in both face-to-face and online formats. For the past several years Carl has dedicated his career to advancing the field of faculty development. He has done so by serving as a Department Chair at UDC, Assistant Director of the Teaching and Learning Center at Temple University, and Co-Chair of the POD Network Conference. Alongside his career in academic affairs, Carl has also served in a number of student services leadership roles charged with enhancing student success. These roles entailed work in advising, retention, multicultural affairs, and TRIO programs. As a self-described “techie” and advocate for mission alignment the sum of Carl’s passions lie leveraging technology to enhance student outcomes at the course and institutional levels.

Dr. Karen Pedersen image

Karen Pedersen (IELOL Faculty 2015 – 2020)

Karen L. Pedersen, Ph.D., is currently the Dean for Global Campus at Kansas State University. She has a long history of serving in various digital learning leadership positions at both public and private higher education institutions. Prior to joining KSU, Karen worked as the Chief Knowledge Officer for the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) where she served as a thought leader and fostered initiatives related to learning innovation, quality enhancement, leadership development, and institutional transformation. She has expertise leading award-winning online and off-campus units, expanding partnerships, engaging cross-institutional academic operations, and pursuing integrated marketing solutions to realize significant enrollment growth and retention outcomes. Other experiences include serving on the launch team for a competency-based education initiative, leading a system-wide enrollment management transformation, and building academic collaborations in Singapore, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brazil.

Prior to starting her administrative career, Pedersen served as a faculty member at the University of Nebraska at Kearney. She holds Bachelor of Science and Master of Science degrees from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from Oklahoma State University.

Russ Poulin (IELOL Faculty 2019 – 2020)

Russ Poulin is Vice President of Technology-enhanced Education for WICHE and Executive Director of WCET for WCET. The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies is a national organization focused on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. Russ directs WCET’s state and national policy efforts, research activities, and supports efforts to improve the practices of multi-institution consortia. Russ represented the distance education community on national committees, comments on policy issues, and edits the WCET Frontiers blog. Russ received a bachelor’s from the University of Colorado Denver and a master’s from the University of Northern Colorado. He is also partial to movies, cats, and his wife, Laurie.

Garvey Pyke

J. Garvey Pyke, Ed.D. (IELOL Graduate 2010, IELOL Co‑Director 2018, Faculty 2019 – 2020)

Garvey Pyke is the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning at UNC Charlotte. He leads the Center in providing and supporting the enterprise-level academic technologies and faculty professional development programs regarding high-quality instruction, scholarly teaching, and online and distance learning. He has served as the Chair of the University of North Carolina Faculty Developers Consortium, a statewide group for all seventeen member campuses of the UNC system, to build strategic partnerships among multiple campuses. In addition, he has served on the steering committee for OLC Innovate and as track chair for OLC Accelerate and has presented multiple times at these and other conferences.

As an educator for more than 20 years, Dr. Pyke enjoys collaborating with faculty members and staff to design and develop programs that impact faculty satisfaction and lead to student success. His work involves the practical application of research methods and instructional systems design methods to various instructional projects at the UNC Charlotte, and he is an affiliate member of the Graduate School and has taught at the university and K12 levels. He holds a doctorate in education in Instructional Systems Technology from Indiana University, a master’s degree in Educational Leadership from Pepperdine University, and a bachelor’s degree in English from Tulane University. He also completed the OLC Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) in 2010 and the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership Institute in 2013.

Jason Rhode

Jason Rhode (IELOL Graduate 2012, IELOL Faculty 2019 – 2020)

Jason Rhode, Ph.D. is Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Teaching and Learning at Northern Illinois University. In his role at NIU, Dr. Rhode serves as chief online learning officer and provides direction for the CITL and oversees all of its operations. In addition, he defines and implements processes to expand, market, and support online academic programs. He also holds a joint faculty appointment in the Department of Educational Technology, Research and Assessment at NIU where he develops and teaches courses and conducts research in instructional design and educational technology administration.

With two decades of experience in online education and faculty development, Dr. Rhode’s expertise focuses on the intersection of faculty development, institutional instructional technology integration and support, distance learning administration, and online teaching best practices.

Dr. Rhode is an award-winning online instructor who has served in varied operational roles prior to his current administrative appointment, including instructional designer, course developer, faculty trainer, and program director. He has published and presented widely nationally and internationally and has received numerous accolades for his contributions to the field.

Dr. Rhode holds a Ph.D. in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University, M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Seattle Pacific University, and a B.A. in Children’s Ministries from North Central University.

Shubha G. Kashyap (IELOL Graduate 2012, IELOL Faculty 2020)

Dr. Shubha G. Kashyap is a higher education and organization development professional with extensive experience in strategic planning, program development and delivery, online and professional education, and serving students from under-represented backgrounds. Currently, she is the Director of Online Learning Design & Innovation for the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Previously, Dr. Kashyap has served at Penn State University as the Director of Academic Affairs for Graduate Business and Education programs for Penn State World Campus, and as an academic counselor for the Office of the Vice Provost for Educational Equity.

Prior to that, she worked in academic affairs units for student-athletes at Michigan State University and Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Kashyap’s drive for increasing access to education is eminent throughout her career. She has successfully launched several online degree programs designed for adult learners, specializes in program development for diverse learners, manages small and large-scale strategic education initiatives, and is an advocate for first-generation college students and inclusive education practices.

Support Staff


Anita Gabbard (Logistics)

Anita Gabbard, Manager of Operations in the Division of Digital Learning at the University of Central Florida (UCF) is responsible for the effective and efficient oversite of operations for both the Center for Distributed Learning and the Office of Institutional Resources. She holds a BA from Indiana State University in Human Resources Development, an MA from St-Mary-of-the-Wood College in Leadership Development, and an Event Management Graduate Certificate from the University of Central Florida.

Jennifer Rafferty (IELOL Graduate 2014, IELOL Co-Chair 2020)

Jennifer Rafferty provides leadership in researching, scoping, managing, and evaluating a full range of professional development solutions for multiple audiences within the OLC Institute. She has worked for over 15 years supporting online learning initiatives in higher education and in the adult basic education system. Jennifer assumed this role at OLC after working for over seven years as an instructional designer at Quinnipiac University Online in Hamden, Connecticut. During her time at Quinnipiac University, Jennifer was also responsible for spearheading the development of the first online Spanish course at the University. She continues to teach this specialized curriculum for the School of Nursing and presents both nationally and internationally on the topic of online foreign language instruction. Prior to working in higher education, Jennifer was the project manager for the Massachusetts Adult Basic Education Distance Learning Project. In this role, she collaborated with the Massachusetts Department of Education and Project IDEAL to research and identify best practices for distance learning programs serving adult GED and ESL students. Jennifer holds a Masters of Education in Instructional Design from UMASS Boston, a Masters of Arts in Spanish from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and an undergraduate degree in Romance Languages from Mount Holyoke College.

Elisabeth Stucklen

Elisabeth Stucklen (Instructional Designer)

Elisabeth Stucklen has worked in online higher education and instructional design for over 15 years. Prior to joining OLC, she worked as the senior instructional designer at Mount Washington College in Manchester, NH, where she was responsible for creating new online courses, providing training and support for faculty, and assisting the director in monitoring the course development process. Before MWC, she worked at Lesley University providing professional development and course design assistance to faculty.

In addition to her role with the OLC, Elisabeth also teaches online for Brandeis University in their Masters in Learning Experience Design program and volunteers as a mentor in the Educause and Penn State ID2ID program for instructional designers.

Elisabeth holds a Master’s of Science in Instructional Design and Technology from Emporia State University, and a Bachelor of Science in Visual Communication Technology from Lesley University.

*While reasonable efforts will be made to adhere to the advertised package, OLC reserves the right to substitute speakers and/or seminar content.