Online Learning Consortium Announces Induction of Dr. Cristi Ford to the 2021 Class of OLC Fellows

Dr. Ford joins nearly 60 OLC Fellows recognized for exceptional contributions to online education since 2010

BOSTON October 5, 2021 — The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) today announced its induction of Cristi Ford, Ph.D., Senior Vice President of Training at NeighborWorks America, to the 2021 Class of OLC Fellows.

Dr. Ford was nominated by OLC Fellow Thomas Cavanagh, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Digital Learning at University of Central Florida, for her exceptional contributions to the field of online, blended and digital learning. Starting with work to help young adults with autism succeed in college, Dr. Ford continued to build on that foundation in order to meet every learners' needs in new and innovative ways.

“As a distinguished member and leader of our community, we are proud to recognize Dr. Ford for her tireless advocacy for quality online education, leveraging her passion and expertise to benefit the entire higher education community,” said Tanya Joosten, Chair of the OLC Fellows recognition committee and Director of National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA). “Her leadership is extraordinary as she has worked to help institutions build capacity to launch and expand quality online programming through effective faculty development, instructional design, and pedagogical practices.”

For over a decade, the OLC Board of Directors has recognized extraordinary members as Fellows. The recognition as an OLC Fellow is one of unusual professional distinctions. Conferred upon individuals by the OLC Board of Directors, OLC Fellows are recognized for their:

  • Outstanding qualifications in the field of online learning.
  • Significant experience in online learning or an allied field.
  • Extraordinary contributions and leadership in the field of online learning.
  • Distinguished service to OLC or the field.

“The Online Learning Consortium has been such an integral part of my professional growth for more than a decade and I am truly honored to become a part of the OLC Fellow community,” said Dr. Ford. “The colleagues and friends I have made in this community have been priceless, so to receive this honor for my work is just amazing.”

As a member of OLC since 2009, Dr. Ford has a breadth of experience in participating in and leading programs such as the OLC Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Summit, the OLC Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL), OLC Innovate, and more.

Over the past 13 years, Dr. Ford has spent much of her career working to build capacity and sharing best practices with faculty at HBCUs across the United States and at other institutions both domestically and internationally. In her most recent academic position, she served as the Chief Academic Officer for a women's college in Rwanda, where she created the first set of blended Associate’s programs in the country.

Dr. Ford was recognized during the virtual OLC Accelerate conference, which took place Sept. 20-24, 2021, and she will also participate in several sessions at OLC Accelerate in Washington, D.C., taking place October 5-8, 2021.

As a 2021 OLC Fellow, Dr. Ford joins a prestigious group of 58 individuals who have been recognized since 2010. 

About Online Learning Consortium
The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including, best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research, and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. Visit for more information.

Media Contact:
Sharla Lane