UPCEA Welcomes New Board and Committee Members

December 7, 2023

WASHINGTON, December  7, 2023 – UPCEA, the online and professional education association, is pleased to announce the election of new officers and new directors to serve on the UPCEA Board of Directors. Elected in November, these individuals will assume their roles at the conclusion of the 2024 UPCEA Annual Conference in Boston, Massachusetts on March 28, 2024.

“I’m pleased to welcome these exceptional individuals to their leadership roles on behalf of the Governance and Nominations Committee and the association,” said Kim Siegenthaler, Ph.D., Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Strategy and Operations at City University of New York (CUNY); 2023-2024 UPCEA Board President-Elect, and Chair, UPCEA Governance and Nominations Committee. “I know that these experienced leaders will make a significant positive impact on UPCEA and our field during their terms.” 

“These incoming officers and directors are joining UPCEA’s Board during a period of notable success for the association and significant change in our field,” said Bob Hansen, UPCEA CEO. “Their agility, strategic insight, and dedication to broadening access to higher education through innovative approaches position UPCEA strongly for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.”

UPCEA welcomes two officers, three committee chairs, one corporate partner representative, and six Directors At-Large to the 2024-2025 Board of Directors:

A person (Robert Bruce) smiling at the cameraRobert Bruce, Ph.D., Dean, Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies at Rice University, will serve as Board President-Elect for a one-year term (2024-2025) and then ascend to the role of Board President (2025-2026). Dr. Bruce joined Rice University on Nov. 1, 2017, as Dean of the Susanne M. Glasscock School of Continuing Studies and Adjunct Professor of Humanities. As Dean, he leads the school in offering graduate degrees and certificates, personal and professional development programs, online and hybrid courses, and innovative credential approaches. Dr. Bruce previously held leadership positions at UNC Chapel Hill and UT Austin. He earned a Bachelor’s in English from UT Austin, and a Master’s and a Doctorate in English from Texas A&M.


Photo of a person (Asim Ali) smiling at the cameraAsim Ali, Ph.D., Executive Director, Biggio Center for the Enhancement of Teaching & Learning at Auburn University, will serve as Secretary-Treasurer for a two-year term (2024-2026). As the Executive Director of the Biggio Center, Dr. Ali advances the center’s mission of providing professional development programs, services, and resources to enhance instructional innovation and support scholarly and creative activities. He oversees the center’s various units, which include Auburn Online, Biggio Teaching, Biggio Technology, Biggio Testing, and Engaged and Active Student Learning classrooms and classroom buildings. Dr. Ali co-leads Auburn’s augmented and virtual reality initiative, AUX, in collaboration with the Office of Information Technology. He also co-leads work on artificial intelligence for the Office of the Provost to build faculty capacity for understanding and implementing AI in teaching and learning, including serving as chair of the AI@AU Education Committee.


Photo of a person (Laurel Hogue) smiling at the cameraLaurel Hogue, Ed.D., Vice Provost For Online And Learning Engagement at University of Central Missouri, will serve as Network Senate Chair for a two-year term (2024-2026). Dr. Hogue has worked for UCM since 2003, serving as vice provost for Extended Studies for six years before being named vice provost for online and learning engagement in 2021. In her role, she supports the university’s vision for enrollment and retention, leads marketing and promotion efforts, and directs fiscal operations for entrepreneurial and off campus programs. Her duties also include budget planning and resource allocation, conducting cost analyses to ensure revenue-generating operations for distance learning, dual credit, workforce development, and UCM – Lee’s Summit operations at the Missouri Innovation Campus. Additionally, she is responsible for the Honors College, Digital Learning and Instructional Innovation, the Center for Global Education, and service learning and community engagement. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a Master of Business Administration from UCM, and a Doctorate of Education in educational leadership and policy analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.


Photo of a person (Pamela Wimbush) smiling at the camera

Pamela Wimbush, Ed.D., Interim Dean at California State University, Sacramento, will serve as a Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee Co-Chair for a two-year term (2024-2026). Dr. Wimbush, a seasoned education professional with two decades of experience, has made a significant impact on institutions as a distinguished scholar, researcher, and educator in continuing, professional, and online education. She is dedicated to expanding access and social mobility through quality learning. Currently serving as the interim Dean for the College of Continuing Education, Dr. Wimbush champions programs to widen educational access. Her academic journey includes degrees in computer studies, distance education, and management, culminating in a Doctorate from the University of Wyoming. Dr. Wimbush’s commitment extends to advisory roles, national tech initiatives, and transforming lives through education. 


Dr. Wimbush joins Militza “Mili” Maldonado Agusty, M.A., PHR, Executive Director, School of Professional Studies at Universidad del Sagrado Corazón, who is in the second year of her two year term (2023-2025) as Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee Co-Chair.


Photo of a person (Tatum Thomas) smiling at the cameraTatum Thomas, Ph.D., Dean, School of Continuing and Professional Studies at DePaul University, will serve as a Membership Committee Chair for a two-year term (2024-2026). Dr. Thomas provides strategic leadership for DePaul University’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies (SCPS). SCPS offers undergraduate adult, graduate, and nondegree programs. In addition, its centers, and special initiatives, such as the Center for the Advancement of Adults in Education, Labor Education Center, and the Adult Men of Color Initiative emphasize access and activism. She currently serves on DePaul University’s Planning Committee for the Institute for Restorative Educational Engagement, supporting advancements in college-in-prison programs, and as a Peer Evaluator with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education. Dr. Thomas previously held administrative roles at Columbia University, New York University, and Marymount Manhattan College. Dr. Thomas holds a Doctorate in Organizational Leadership from the Chicago School of Professional Psychology, a Master’s in Higher Education Administration from Baruch College, City University of New York, a Bachelor’s in Psychology from Marymount Manhattan College, and a Certificate in Management Excellence from the Harvard Business School. Dr. Thomas is a member of Edward A. Bouchet Society.


A person (Eric McGee) smiling at the cameraEric McGee, MBA, Senior Director of Marketing & Corporate Communication at EducationDynamics, will serve as Corporate Partner Representative for a one-year term (2024-2025). McGee is an experienced higher education marketing professional who excels at providing creative solutions. He is currently responsible for the management of the EducationDynamics brand-building initiatives and content creation, including EducationDynamics’ industry-leading Higher Ed Landscape and Marketing and Enrollment Management Benchmarks Report. He previously served as the Director of Continuing and Professional Education at the University of South Carolina.



The following individuals will serve as at-large directors for two-year terms (2024-2026): 

Photo of a person (Bettyjo Bouchey) smiling at the cameraBettyjo Bouchey, Ed.D., is Associate Professor and Vice Provost of Digital Strategy and Operations at National Louis University where she is responsible for standards of quality and service for online programming across the institution, alternative graduation pathways, learning experience design, and academic innovation, overall.  Dr. Bouchey holds a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University at Albany, a Master of Business Administration in Entrepreneurship from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and a Doctorate in Education from Northeastern University. Her research interests include the nature and future of organizational structures of online units in institutions of higher education, as well as inventive and high-impact pedagogical practice in online teaching, inclusive of artificial intelligence and machine learning.


A person (Rene Eborn) smiling for a photoRene Eborn, M.Ed., is Deputy of Digital Transformation and Associate Vice President of Strategic Initiatives at Utah State University. Eborn has over three decades of higher education and technology experience and is passionate about education. She is experienced in building sustainable, innovative process and culture by aligning university business goals and technology investments to lead cultural change and transformation within higher education. She has worked at innovative universities to help promote change such as WGU, SNHU, and currently has come full circle returning to her roots as the Deputy of Digital Transformation and the Associate Vice President, overseeing university transformation and strategic initiatives, at Utah’s prestige land-grant institution Utah State University where she began her career. Rene has her advanced degree in Education with an emphasis in Adult Learning and Technology in Post-Secondary Education, a certification from Harvard Program on Negotiation and Leadership, and certification from MIT in Digital Transformation.


Photo of a person (Adam Fein) smiling at the cameraAdam Fein, Ph.D., has served as Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation and Chief Digital Officer at University of North Texas since November 2018. As the head of UNT’s online and digital strategies, he leads the charge to identify new directions and opportunities to improve the academic quality, reach and performance of the university in the online and global education markets. His research is focused on the examination of the cognitive theory of multimedia learning and the effects of disruptive innovation theory in higher education. Prior to joining UNT, Dr. Fein served the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 17 years in numerous roles with online and innovative education. He was responsible for shaping campus strategy and providing campus-wide support for innovations in classroom and online settings. In his previous roles, he was responsible for overseeing the instructional design, instructional development, instructional media resources, and online academic and student affairs teams. Prior to his time in higher education at two of the world’s largest universities, he served as a training and development consultant at Pepsi/Gatorade Inc. and at the Quaker Oats Company. In addition, Dr. Fein has published book chapters and numerous professional papers.


Photo of a person (Jasmeial Jazz Jackson) smiling at the cameraJasmeial “Jazz” Jackson, Ed.D., is the Vice Provost and Chief Student Success, Equity, and Inclusion Officer at Thomas Edison State University (TESU). Within UPCEA, he has served as the UPCEA Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee Co-Chair, New England Region Chair, and New England Region Communication Chair. At TESU, Dr. Jackson oversees advising, faculty, career services, military and veteran support, student accessibility services, tutoring services, mental health services, academic integrity, and equity and inclusion. He collaborates with every institutional division, ensuring a holistic, intentional student experience that equips learners with the knowledge, skills, and support they need from enrollment and beyond to achieve their academic and personal goals successfully. Dr. Jackson works on strategic teams across the university to coordinate university-wide retention initiatives. He has worked for private, for-profit, and public educational institutions. He has a Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration, a Master of Business Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Construction Engineering. He lives by a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, “Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”


Photo of a person (Cheryl Murphy) smiling at the cameraCheryl Murphy, Ed.D., is Vice Provost for Distance Education at the University of Arkansas. Dr. Murphy is a full professor in Educational Technology and has held her current administrative position overseeing Global Campus since 2019. She acted as Department Head from 2017-2019, Program Coordinator from 2000-2017, and from 2011-2015 she served as Director of Distance Learning.  She also served as co-director of the campus-wide Teaching and Faculty Support Center. Externally Dr. Murphy has worked with the Higher Learning Commission since 2007 as a Peer Reviewer, Team Chair, and is currently on the HLC Institutional Actions Council.


Photo of a person (Craig Wilson) smiling at the cameraCraig Wilson, J.D., Ph.D., is Vice Provost for Online, Distance and Continuing Education, and Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona. He strives to broaden access to quality education programs to learners around the world. Dr. Wilson led education enterprises that spanned multiple campuses and online. His background in online education started in the 1990s, and he has been actively involved in each growth phase. He has served in multiple capacities including as an instructional designer, faculty, and executive administrator in K12/university settings. His current research covers the metaverse in relation to higher education resulting in his Metaversity Framework.



Additionally, UPCEA is pleased to announce the selection of two new members of the Diversity & Inclusive Excellence Committee, two new members of the Finance Committee, two new members of the Membership Committee, and five new members of the Policy Committee. In their roles on these Board-level committees, these individuals are undertaking critically important work for the association and the field.

Photo of a person (Tiffany Townsend) smiling at the cameraTiffany G. Townsend, Ph.D., Vice President of Organizational Culture and Chief Diversity Officer at Purdue University Global, joins the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Prior to joining Purdue Global, Dr. Townsend served as the Chief Diversity Officer for Augusta University. She also held faculty appointments at Penn State University and Georgetown University Medical Center, and served as Senior Director of the Office of Ethnic Minority Affairs (OEMA) for the American Psychological Association (APA). As a clinician and scholar, Dr. Townsend has worked for several decades to advance health equity. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Spelman College, and her Master’s and Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from George Washington University.


Photo of a person (Carol Hoshiko) smiling at the camera

Carol A. Hoshiko, Ph.D., Dean of Community and Continuing Education at Kapiolani Community College joins the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Dr. Hoshiko provides administrative leadership for Kapi`olani CC’s community education and workforce development programs. She serves on the Chancellor’s Executive Leadership Team as well as the Culinary Institute of the Pacific steering committee.  In addition, Dr. Hoshiko is responsible for Community Relations and works extensively with external constituencies through her outreach efforts. Community Relations sponsors the Culinary Institute of the Pacific Quarterly Town Hall Meetings as well as the popular Kaiāulu Webinar Series, which features current topics and presenters from the community and campus. During her 30-year tenure at Kapi`olani CC, Dr. Hoshiko has served in different capacities including Interim Dean for Business, Culinary, Hotel, Travel, and Tourism; Acting Executive Director for the Honda International Center; Executive Assistant to the Chancellor and provided leadership for Alumni, Development, Marketing, Communications, and UH Fund Development.

Dr. Townsend and Dr. Hoshiko will serve alongside McCeil Johnson, J.D., Vice President Accreditation and Regulatory Compliance at University of Phoenix and Fatimah Wirth, Ph.D., Instructional Designer at Georgia Institute of Technology who were asked to renew their one year (2023-2024) terms on the Diversity and Inclusive Excellence Committee. Their second and final terms on the committee will conclude in 2025.


Photo of a person (Ashley Law) smiling at the cameraAshley Law, B.S., Business Program Manager at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in the Office of Online Education, joins the Finance Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Law has expertly led the creation, implementation, and documentation of their program development processes. She oversees accounts, managing agreements, and communicating with stakeholders. A former Instructional Technologist, Law brings a holistic perspective to process optimization and project coordination. In her free time, she enjoys gaming, arts and crafts, and cooking. Born and raised in rural Iowa, she lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and their pets.


Photo of a person (Christa Payne) smiling at the camera

Christa Payne, MBA, Chief Business Officer, School of Professional Advancement at Tulane University joins the Finance Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). In her role, she is responsible for finances, operations, marketing, technology, and facilities. Payne helped develop and guide the financing and marketing for eight new online programs, as well as launching a new school name and brand campaign. Prior to Tulane, Payne worked as a senior managing consultant with Public Financial Management and the National Resource Network and she served as Vice President for External Affairs for the Public Education Foundation in Chattanooga, TN. Payne earned her Bachelor’s from Sewanee: The University of the South and her Master of Business Administration from Tulane University. She lives in New Orleans with her husband and three daughters. 

Law and Payne will serve alongside Patrick Wilson, Ed.D., Executive Director, Online & Extended Learning at New Mexico Highlands University and Jen Schwedler, Ed.D., Associate Dean Academic Affairs and Online Learning at University of California, Davis, who were asked to renew their one year (2023-2024) terms on the Finance Committee. Their second and final terms on the committee will conclude in 2025.


Photo of a person (Christine Cicio) smiling at the cameraChristine Cicio, MPA, Director, Continuing Education and Innovation at the Pennsylvania State University, Abington College, joins the Membership Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). She oversees professional development training, custom training for organizations, youth/community programs, and the LaunchBox, a program supporting small businesses and entrepreneurs. Cicio is responsible for building community and business partnerships, identifying strategic opportunities, and implementing new initiatives and alternative revenue streams. She strives to provide high-quality and accessible educational opportunities for all students. Serving on the NJ Arthritis Foundation Leadership Board, Cicio is an advocate for people with disabilities. She holds a Bachelor’s in Sociology and a Master of Public Administration which were both obtained at Rutgers University.


Photo of a person (Yakut Gazi) smiling at the cameraYakut Gazi, Ph.D., Vice Provost for Learning Innovation and Digital Education at Duke University, joins the Membership Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Dr. Gazi oversees the offices of Learning Innovation and Continuing Studies, with responsibility for the development and execution of pedagogical innovation and digital education strategies, youth academic enrichment programs, and continuing education and lifelong learning offerings. Previously, she was the Associate Dean for Learning Systems at Georgia Tech Professional Education. Her higher education experience spans over 30 years in four countries. Dr. Gazi has her Doctorate in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University, and a Master’s in Educational Sciences and a Bachelor’s in Teaching Chemistry, both from Bogazici University in Turkey. A native of Istanbul, Dr. Gazi is married, with a daughter.


Photo of a person (Kristen Brown smiling at the cameraKristen Brown, M.Ed., Director, Online Learning at the University of Louisville, will serve as a Policy Committee Chair for a two-year term (2023-2025). Brown has been with the University of Louisville since 2010, and in her current role she provides vision, strategic direction, and leadership in all aspects of the online learning operations, including expansion of the online program portfolio, online enrollment management, marketing online programs, online student support, staff development, budgeting, and distance education compliance. Prior to the University of Louisville, Brown was Assistant Director, Online Learning at the University of Illinois at Chicago. She earned her Bachelor’s from Miami University, and her Master of Education from Oregon State University.


Photo of a person (Bridget Beville) smiling at the camera

Bridget Beville, J.D., Vice President, Resolution Services & Title IX Coordinator at University of Phoenix, joins the Policy Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Beville started her higher education law and policy journey with the University of Phoenix in 2005 as an associate faculty member. In 2007, she joined the University’s legal department doing state regulatory work and then spent five years in state government affairs supervising a team of lobbyists and representing the University’s interests in 15+ states. Beville returned to the legal department where she handled regulatory matters for several states and worked on state authorization and online reciprocity. She currently serves as the University’s Title IX Coordinator and oversees student complaints, student and faculty conduct and student academic appeals. Beville received her Juris Doctor from St. Mary’s University School of Law in San Antonio, Texas and her undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Photo of a person (Corina Caraccioli) smiling at the cameraCorina Caraccioli, Ph.D., Assistant Dean of Online & City College at Loyola University New Orleans, joins the Policy Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Dr. Caraccioli is also an Assistant Professor, and serves as the Director of Online Student Success, overseeing the university’s retention strategy for online programs. She is an InsideTrack certified success coach and trainer, committed to supporting the success of adult learners who need flexible and personalized support systems to reach their academic goals. Dr. Caraccioli’s work has been focused on shaping an environment that facilitates learning and growth, and fosters diversity. Her experience includes teaching undergraduate and doctoral courses in education in face-to-face, hybrid, and online formats. She has published and presented research at various national and international conferences. Dr. Caraccioli holds a Doctorate in Occupational and Adult Education and a College Teaching Certificate from North Dakota State University, a Master’s in Public Relations and a Bachelor’s in Communication and Public Relations from Babes-Bolyai University in Romania.


Photo of a person (Abram Hedtke) wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

Abram Hedtke, M.Ed., Executive Director of Professional and Continuing Education at St. Cloud State University, joins the Policy Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Abram leads the division of Professional and Continuing Education creating pathways for all members of the community, and creates business partnerships to design customized programs for specific needs. His division oversees all digital credentials through the university and degree-focused career advancements. For the past 19 years Hedtke has worked in both K-12 and higher education. He has held positions as Director of Instructional Technology, Instructional Curriculum Coach, Instructional Technology Coordinator, and Learning and Enrollment Systems Administrator. He is a passionate educator who presents nationally on topics involving accessible and instructional design equity as well as enhancing the online student learning experiences. Being an active member of local community groups and advisory boards, Abram works with community members and educators on anti-racist practices and is an equity advocate.


Photo of a person (George Irvine) wearing glasses and smiling at the cameraGeorge Irvine, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Professional and Continuing Studies at University of Delaware, joins the Policy Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). Dr. Irvine leads the Division of Professional and Continuing Studies to annually serve approximately 14,000 online and continuing education students. In prior positions, Dr. Irvine led corporate and international programs at UD’s Lerner College of Business and Center for International Studies. Dr. Irvine has considerable international development expertise due to his work at the German Marshall Fund, IIE, and the Kenan Institute. His award-winning dissertation from UD’s Biden School focuses on the changing publicness of American research universities.


Photo of a person (Rob Kerr) wearing glasses and smiling at the camera

Rob Kerr, MBA, Executive Director of Innovation and Opportunity at the University of Illinois, Springfield, joins the Policy Committee as a member for a one-year term (2024-2025). He leads the development of the university’s downtown innovation center, which will serve as the regional hub of business and social innovation, economic development, public policy advancement, and professional training. Kerr holds a Bachelor’s in Political Science and a Master of Business Administration. He is completing his Doctorate, exploring the impact of social networks on venture growth funding outcomes for underrepresented entrepreneurs.


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