WCET Announces Higher Education Leaders Elected to Executive Council

side by side headshots of Vernon Smith and Michelle Weise

WCET is honored to announce two higher education leaders were elected by a vote of their peers to serve a three-year term on the WCET Executive Council.  The WCET Executive Council serves as the strategic advisory group to the Executive Director on matters related to membership, annual dues, strategic priorities, policies, and other issues brought forth by the Steering Committee, the Executive Director and/or the WICHE President. The Executive Council also reviews the WCET budget in relation to strategic priorities. The Executive Council is informed of WCET’s financial status but does not hold actual fiduciary responsibility for WCET.

The newly elected members will begin their terms during the 2016 WCET Annual Meeting October 12-14 in Minneapolis, MN.  Congratulations to:

Dr. Vernon Smith is Vice Provost for Distributed Learning and Associate Professor of Practice at the University of the Pacific where he leads academic technology and digital learning initiatives including the Center for Teaching and Learning, and online/hybrid learning programs. 

Vernon has an extensive background in distance learning issues and practices, including effective assessment and retention strategies, and the use of big data for predictive modeling and student success. He oversaw the successful launch of Portmont College at Mount St. Mary's (Los Angeles) through the MyCollege Foundation, a Bill and Melinda Gates funded initiative, where he served as the founding Chief Academic Officer and Provost. Prior to this, he served as Vice President of Academic Affairs at Rio Salado College, the largest public, online two-year community college in the nation. During his over two decades at Rio, he also served as Dean, Department Chair and Faculty Senate President. 

His research interests include high-quality, cost-effective production models for online courses, the unbundling and re-bundling of the faculty role, predictive modeling for student success, and academic integrity. He currently serves on the Advisory Board for EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative.

Vernon earned his undergraduate and masters degrees at Brigham Young University, and his doctoral degree in Organization and Administration of Higher Education at the University of Arizona.

Dr. Michelle R. Weise is the Executive Director of Sandbox Collaborative, the research and development lab of strategy and innovation at Southern New Hampshire University. Michelle also serves on the Commission on the Future of Higher Education for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Her work in fostering innovation is an extension of her prior work as the Senior Research Fellow in higher education at the Clayton Christensen Institute for Disruptive Innovation.

In 2014, she co-authored Hire Education: Mastery, Modularization, and the Workforce Revolution with Clayton Christensen, a book that describes the disruptive potential of online competency-based education aligned to workforce needs. Michelle’s commentaries and research have been featured in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, The Boston Globe, Inside HigherEd, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and PBS Newshour. She has also served as the Vice President of Academic Affairs for Fidelis Education and taught at Skidmore College and Stanford University. Michelle is a former Fulbright Scholar and graduate of Harvard and Stanford.

See the continuing Executive Council Members.  Be sure to join us all at the WCET Annual Meeting October 12-14, 2016 in Minneapolis, MN.

About WCET
The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced higher education.  More information about WCET’s institutional membership resources and services can be found on WCET’s website, http://wcet.wiche.edu

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Photo Credit (Michelle Weise): Darcy Padilla