Mordecai Brownlee

Dr. Mordecai I. Brownlee is an inclusive educator who proudly serves as the sixth president of the Community College of Aurora. Within the first two years of his presidency, President Brownlee has already brought about significant change and improved the student success agenda at the Community College of Aurora. These successes include CCA embarking upon its first capital project in 24 years, record-breaking capital and scholarship fundraising, hiring CCA’s largest and most diverse faculty ranks in the college’s history, and improved student completions by more than 20%. 

Dr. Mordecai publishes frequently, including serving as a columnist for EdSurge. He also teaches at Lamar University and the University of Charleston. In 2023, Dr. Mordecai was named 40 Under 40 by the prestigious Denver Business Journal and Community Leader of the Year by the Aurora Chamber of Commerce recipient. Recently, Dr. Mordecai was featured as a “champion” of the U.S. Department of Education Unlocking Career Success Initiative. 

Jennryn Wetzler

As assistant director of open education at Creative Commons, Jennryn Wetzler focuses on projects to increase collaboration and support for open education, globally. She runs the Creative Commons Certificate program, a training in open licensing, copyright, and the ethos of our global, shared commons. Prior to CC, Wetzler worked on open policy and open educational resources (OER) at the U.S. Department of State. She has also enjoyed gaining a different perspective on education through international development work in Thailand and as a Peace Corps volunteer in Niger.

Photo credit: Priscilla C. Scott, CC BY

Elaine Thornton

At the University of Arkansas, Elaine Thornton coordinates campus open education initiatives and serves as the Libraries’ liaison to the Global Campus, the university’s online and distance learning division. Elaine is a former SPARC Open Education Leadership Fellow and the past co-chair of the ACRL-Distance Learning Standards Committee. She currently serves as an Open Education Network (OEN) Certificate in OER Librarianship instructor. A doctoral candidate in the Adult and Lifelong Learning program in the College of Education and Health Professions at the University of Arkansas, Elaine’s research focuses on academic librarian professional development.

William Cross

Will Cross is the director of the Copyright & Digital Scholarship Center in the NC State University Libraries, an instructor in the UNC SILS, and an OER Research Fellow. Trained as a lawyer and librarian, he guides policy, speaks, and writes on open culture and navigating legal uncertainty. As a course designer and presenter, Will has developed training materials and workshops for US and international audiences. His current research focuses on the relationship between copyright and open education. He serves as PI on two IMLS-funded projects and is part of a team developing best practices for fair use in OER.

Fred Lokken

Fred is currently chair of the Business, History and Political Science Department, past dean of TMCC WebCollege, and in his 32nd year as a professor of Political Science at Truckee Meadows Community College. Fred also is a member of the Board of Directors (since 2003) for the Instructional Technology Council (ITC), an Affiliated Council of the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). He has served as chair (twice) and is a founding faculty member of the ITC Annual Leadership Academy – now in its 15th year. He also conducts the annual ITC National Distance Learning Survey of Community Colleges, chair the advocacy committee, and authors the weekly ITC eNews Digest/column. He also served as the chair of the Council of Affiliated Councils (COAC) for seven years.

Tanya Joosten

Tanya Joosten is a senior scientist, the director of digital learning research and development, and advisor to the provost for innovation initiatives at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM). She is the principal investigator and director of the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancements (DETA) and has been recognized for her work as she guides strategic digital learning efforts across the globe. 
Currently, Tanya leads DETA working to support students’ success, access, and equity through identifying key practices through research that can be implemented and scaled across institutions. Previously, she led faculty development and engagement initiatives and pedagogical and technological innovation projects. 

Cherise McBride

Cherise McBride is a researcher of digital literacies and teacher learning at the University of California, Berkeley. Her Ph.D. study developed the construct of humanizing critical digital pedagogies (HCDP) – a frame for honoring the lived realities of nondominant communities through socioculturally situated understandings of technology. Cherise’s research agenda includes humanizing digital learning, centering teachers as designers (both in learning and UX expertise), and applying critical approaches to digital education and learning with emerging technologies. A teacher educator and educational leader, Cherise is a former high school English teacher and has coached teachers and higher education faculty across a range of content and educational settings.

Blaine Smith

Blaine Smith’s teaching and research focuses on the digital literacies of culturally and linguistically diverse youth across contexts. A main goal of her work is to understand the ways in which technology can foster literacy and content learning as well as an empowering means of expression for students. Her work also focuses on developing scaffolded instructional strategies for supporting teachers’ integration of technology in the classroom.

Jenny Parks

Jenny Parks is vice president of policy and research at the Midwestern Higher Education Compact (MHEC). She leads the exploration, development, and implementation of projects that help Midwestern postsecondary institutions improve the way they serve students. Jenny has worked at all levels and in multiple sectors of education, including state and federal compliance, institutional research, and policy advocacy. She earned her master’s degree in educational policy and research from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Currently she is writing her dissertation for the doctoral program in higher education from Northeastern University in Boston.

Tiffany Harrison

Tiffany Harrison works with SREB’s Educational Technology Cooperative on research and policy efforts regarding the 10 Issues in Educational Technology. She joined the SREB benchmarking college- and career-readiness standards team in April 2017, bringing more than 10 years of experience in education research and program evaluation. Prior to joining SREB, she was a program evaluation and data specialist with the North Carolina Partnership for Children. She was a research associate for the SERVE Center at UNC-Greensboro. Tiffany holds a bachelor’s of arts in English from North Carolina Central University and a master’s in education research from The Ohio State University.