UPCEA’s National Council for Online Education Announces Four New Advisory Board Members

July 9, 2018

WASHINGTON, July 9, 2018 – UPCEA, the Washington, D.C.-based association for university leaders in professional, continuing, and online education, welcomed four new members to serve on the National Council for Online Education Advisory Board at the 2018 Summit for Online Leadership and Administration.

“These exceptional leaders all have deep and varied expertise in the world of online education, and I’m so excited for them to join us on the National Council’s Advisory Board,” said Julie Uranis, Managing Director of the National Council for Online Education and Vice President for Online & Strategic Initiatives, UPCEA. “Their perspectives will be integral to the continuing work of the National Council in moving online learning forward.”

Deb Adair is the Executive Director of Quality Matters, a role to which she was appointed in 2016. In her current role, Adair leads Quality Matters and its committed community in continuing and new efforts to improve the quality of online teaching and learning. She previously served for 9 years as Quality Matters’ Managing Director and Chief Planning Officer. Adair has previously taught as an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Maryland University College and prior to that was an Assistant Professor at the American University for five years. She serves on advisory boards for Credential Engine and the Presidents’ Forum. She has previously served on advisory bodies for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies and the National University Technology Network, and has authored and interviewed as an expert in quality assurance for online learning. Adair holds an A.A. from Broward College, and a B.S. in Business Administration from Boston University. She earned her M.S. in Management from the University of Arizona and, in 1997, she earned her Ph.D. in Management from the same institution.

Jonathan Finkelstein is founder and CEO of Credly, the leading digital credential service provider which enables organizations to recognize, reward and market skills, competencies and certifications. Previously, as founder of LearningTimes, Finkelstein helped mission-driven organizations produce and launch innovative online programs, products and platforms that impacted the lives of millions of learners. Finkelstein was also a co-founder and led product strategy at HorizonLive (acquired by Blackboard). He is author of Learning in Real Time (Wiley), co-author of a report for the U.S. Department of Education on the potential for digital badges, and a frequent speaker on digital credentials and the future of learning and workforce development. Finkelstein graduated with honors from Harvard University.

Annie Taylor is Assistant Dean for Distance Learning and Director of the Dutton Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences at The Pennsylvania State University. Taylor has worked in the field of distance education since 1991, focusing on learning design and faculty development. In her current role, Taylor guides her college’s strategic vision and planning for online learning. She works with various stakeholders to plan and implement online degree and certificate programs tailored to the needs of working adult professionals, while ensuring support for residential teaching and learning in the college. Taylor serves on numerous committees focused on strategic planning, policies, and procedures related to the university’s distance learning initiatives, and has been an elected member of the Penn State University Faculty Senate since 2007, serving as its elected Secretary in 2016-17, 2017-18, and 2018-19. She regularly works with University colleagues to create resources for faculty teaching online and shares her work as a frequent public speaker and published author, including co-authoring the Jossey-Bass text Evaluating Online Teaching: Implementing Best Practices with Dr. Thomas Tobin and Dr. B. Jean Mandernach. Taylor holds a B.A. in Political Science from the University of Vermont, an M.A. in Curriculum & Instruction from the University of South Dakota, and a Ph.D. in Workforce Education and Development from The Pennsylvania State University.

Sasha Thackaberry is Vice Provost of Digital and Continuing Education at Louisiana State University. A higher education leader in innovative learning models and the effective use of eLearning systems, Thackaberry previously served as Assistant Vice President for Academic Technology and New Learning Models at Southern New Hampshire University. Prior to that role, she was the District Director for eLearning Technologies in the Office of eLearning and Innovation at Cuyahoga Community College in Cleveland, Ohio. Thackaberry’s focus areas include next generation learning models like Competency-Based Education, MOOCs, digital badging, alternative credentialing, PLA and the development of integrated ecosystems to support innovative learning environments. She is the co-recipient of the 2013 MOOC Award for Excellence through the Open Education Consortium, and a 2010 Innovation of the Year award through the League for Innovation. Thackaberry holds a B.F.A. in Dance from the University of Akron, and an M.A.T. in Education and a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from Kent State University.


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UPCEA is the leading association for professional, continuing, and online education. For more than 100 years, UPCEA has served most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. Founded in 1915, the association serves its members with innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications. Based in Washington, D.C., UPCEA builds greater awareness of the vital link between contemporary learners and public policy issues.



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