As director of digital innovations for the University Design Institute at Arizona State University, Dale Johnson works with university leaders to develop and implement digital solutions to enable student success. Those efforts have earned him the 2016 Sally M. Johnstone Award from WCET recognizing his thought leadership, excellence in practice, and demonstrated leadership capabilities. In 2018, Dale was honored by the IMS Global Learning Consortium with an outstanding service award for his leadership of the adaptive courseware community of practice. He has spoken on the topic of digital innovation in higher education at more than 20 conferences in the USA, Rwanda, Brazil, South Korea, Germany, Mexico, Russia, and Vietnam, and has led workshops on the subject at numerous universities.
One of the youngest presidents in the country at 37 years old, Dr. Mordecai Ian Brownlee became the sixth president of the Community College of Aurora (Colorado) on August 2, 2021. With campuses in Aurora and Denver, CCA is a Minority Serving Institution (MSI) and Hispanic-Serving institution (HSI) providing instruction to over 10,600 students throughout its service area. Prior to his presidential appointment, Mordecai served as the vice president for student success at St. Philip’s College, where he led the college to record enrollment of over 13,500 students and its four largest degree and certificate awarding classes in its 124-year history.
Loraine Pai Schmitt is the executive dean of Academic & Student Affairs Innovation & Technology at Portland Community College with over 25 years of experience in online learning in higher education. In her role, Loraine oversees online learning and is providing strategic leadership to move the college toward more robust support for digital learning. She is also building a new division with an evolving vision to integrate academic and student affairs technology systems and practices to better support equitable student success. She serves on the WCET Executive Council, is on the board of directors for the Instructional Technology Council (ITC), and is also faculty for the ITC Leadership Academy. Loraine has a passion for pursuing meaningful organizational change and engaging in mentoring emerging leaders in higher education.
Tina Parscal is the associate vice chancellor for CCCOnline and Academic Affairs for the Colorado Community College System (CCCS), a position in which she provides executive leadership for Colorado Community Colleges Online (CCCOnline), system-wide academic technologies, learning design, professional development, and open educational resources. She also coordinates collaboration and communication among the colleges, CCCS, and CCCOnline, and the emerging Colorado Online@ consortium. Tina has extensive experience in higher education and has held a variety of instrumental roles including provost/chief academic officer, executive director, college dean, and professor. She remains a champion for access and equity in higher education and was named a “Woman Worth Watching” by the Profiles in Diversity Journal in 2014.
Shannon Riggs serves as executive director of academic programs and learning innovation for Oregon State University Ecampus. In this role, she supports Oregon State’s land grant mission by providing leadership and direction for academic programs and learning innovation throughout the division. Active nationally in the field of online education, Shannon regularly presents at conferences and has written for publication about online course development, faculty development, leadership, and innovation. She is currently serving a three-year elected position for the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council and is the chair of the WCET Steering Committee.
Russ Poulin is the executive director for WCET. He directs the team’s work in supporting the efforts of postsecondary institutions from all 50 states with a focus on the policy and practice of digital learning. He is a highly sought-after expert and leader regarding policy issues for distance education and on-campus uses of educational technologies. As WICHE vice president for technology-enhanced education, he advises on policy and projects for the regional higher education compact. Russ’s commitment to the field is continually noted, and he was honored to have represented the distance education community on federal negotiated rulemaking committees and subcommittees. Russ has received recognition from the Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, and the National University Technology Network (NUTN) for his contributions to postsecondary digital education and educational policy.
Russ received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado Denver and holds a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado. For no discernible reason, Russ also writes movie reviews for WCET members. As a movie enthusiast, Russ is most fascinated with characters and plots that surprise him. In addition, Russ is a recovering trivia guy who is also partial to cats and to his wife, Laurie.