Research shows that student performance in gateway courses is a direct predictor of college success; however, historically minoritized student groups are often underserved in these courses, resulting in decreased retention.
Digital learning can be a catalyst for improving course outcomes for minoritized students, and educators also need awareness and tools to address the affective, interpersonal, and situational challenges that these student groups experience.
Join this exploration of strategies for faculty and institutional leaders that center equity in digital learning transformation at scale.
MODERATOR AND PANELISTS
Jessica Rowland Williams, Ph.D.
Director, Every Learner Everywhere
Jessica is the Director of Every Learner Everywhere, a network of organizations with a mission to help institutions use new technology to innovate teaching and learning and better serve Black, Latinx, and Indigenous students, poverty-affected students, and first-generation students. As Director, she provides leadership and vision for the network and leads the operation of the network strategy. Jessica earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia and earned both her M.A. and Ph.D. in Molecular Biology from Princeton University. Through her personal and educational experiences, Jessica developed a passion for improving student outcomes among underserved, minority, and low-income students. Jessica has devoted her career to expanding access, increasing graduation rates, and promoting student success among students of all socioeconomic backgrounds.
Managing Director, Tyton Partners
Kristen is a Managing Director in the strategy consulting practice at Tyton Partners. Kristen has spent 15 years working at the intersection of higher education, online learning and workforce development. She is a frequent author and presenter on digital teaching and learning in higher education. Kristen previously worked as a Special Advisor at Northeastern University, where she led initiatives focused on creating new pathways to recruit underrepresented students, building new models for experiential learning, developing alternative credentials, and scaling career services. Prior to that, Kristen was a Managing Vice President at Eduventures, where she worked with hundreds of institutions to develop strategy, track market trends and innovations, and build high-performing teams. Early in her career, Kristen taught freshman global history and writing courses at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD). Kristen holds a B.A. in International Relations and Chinese from Colgate University and a M.A. in International Affairs and Economic Development from the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UCSD.
Connie Johnson, Ed.D.
Chief Academic Officer and Provost, Colorado Technical University
Dr. Connie Johnson is Colorado Technical University's (CTU) Chief Academic Officer and Provost, working with both online and ground degree programs. She has oversight of academic affairs, including faculty, curriculum, classroom experience, and accreditation. During her time at CTU, Connie has initiated adaptive learning technology implementation, effective leadership of academics, women's leadership, leading academics through change, and effective technology implementation in the online classroom including the promotion of academics, faculty and student engagement through social media. Connie has served in higher education for over 20 years with extensive experience in online and ground teaching, administration, and leadership. Her educational background includes a Doctorate of Education, organizational leadership emphasis (2010), and a Master of Business Administration in management (1991) from Nova Southeastern University; and a Bachelor of Science with honors in criminal justice from Florida State University.
As a panelist, she will represent perspectives of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO).
Van Davis, Ph.D.
Chief Strategy Officer, WCET
Van joined WCET in 2021 as Chief Strategy Officer where he is responsible for all aspects of WCET’s strategic planning; diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts; and assisting the team with policy and research efforts. Van also serves as Service Design and Strategy Officer with Every Learner Everywhere where he leads the development and delivery of the organization’s Service Design and Delivery work. Van is a valuable asset to the team, having over 25 years of experience in higher education as a faculty member, academic administrator, state policy maker, and EdTech leader. Van holds a Ph.D. in 20th century US history with an emphasis in civil rights from Vanderbilt University, and his commitment to education is evidenced in both his professional and personal successes. Additionally, Van led the creation of the Texas adult degree complete project and the development of the first competency-based bachelor’s degrees at Texas public institutions of higher education during his time on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.