Plenary Speakers

culattaRichard Culatta is a leader in the field of educational innovation. He has experience in K-12, higher education, and workplace learning environments. As the Director of the Office of Educational Technology for the US Department of Education his work focuses on leveraging technology to create personalized learning experiences for all students and promoting increased connectivity to improve access to education and make college more affordable.

Session Title: Using Technology as a Lever to Redesign Learning

Abstract: Becoming a learning institution of the future is not just about access to technology, it’s about redesigning and reimagining learning experiences through new tools.  Richard Culatta, Director of the Office of Educational Technology at the US Department of Education, will suggest opportunities to leverage technology to rethink how learning experiences can move far beyond the walls of traditional classrooms and caution against simply digitizing the status quo.  He will address key technology trends that will shape the future of learning and provide an overview of the work underway at the US Department of Education to support teachers and leaders in the transition technology enabled learning.

Keynoter Lev Gonick is the founder and CEO of OneCommunity, a non-profit he spun out of Case Western Reserve University more than 10 years ago. OneCommunity is a regional, non-profit broadband network provider that extends gigabit services to more than 900 education, university, government, museums and libraries in the greater Cleveland area. OneCommunity’s model of community engagement has become an exemplar of a mission driven organization focusing on both institutional subscriber priorities and community value. The communities of interest working with Gonick believe they are setting out a course to architect the future and the pursuit of relevance for 21st century global research, academics and student endgame.

Lev Gonick is co-founder and CEO of OneCommunity, the award-winning non-profit organization enabling and celebrating innovation, collaboration, and productivity through next generation broadband networks and services throughout Northeast Ohio.

Lev was CIO at Case Western Reserve University from 2001-2013. He and his colleagues were internationally recognized for technology innovations in community engagement, learning spaces, next generation network projects, and organizational development. Lev’s innovations, including the Case Connection Zone catalyzed national projects, including US Ignite and Gig.U

Inside Business Magazine name Lev one of their Power 100 in 2015. In 2011 Government Technology awarded Lev one of their “Top 25 Doers, Dreamers & Drivers in Public-Sector Innovation.” In the same year Crain’s Business Cleveland named Gonick one its “10 Difference Makers” in Northeast Ohio and Broadband Properties honored him with their Cornerstone Award for “using fiber to build an inclusive society and empower individuals.” In 2010 he received recognition as “Visionary of the Year” from NATOA. Lev has been recognized by ComputerWorld as a Premier 100 IT leader and honored by CIO magazine with a CIO 100 Award.

Session title: “From Connected Campus to Digital City – The Future of Global Research Challenges, Teaching and Learning and Student Engagement”


Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, has served as President of UMBC (The University of Maryland, Baltimore County) since 1992. His research and publications focus on science and math education, with special emphasis on minority participation and performance. He chaired the National Academies’ committee that produced the recent report, Expanding Underrepresented Minority Participation: America’s Science and Technology Talent at the Crossroads. He also was recently named by President Obama to chair the newly created President’s Advisory Commission on Educational Excellence for African Americans. Read More >>

Presentation Title:
Transforming American Higher Education: A Fifty Year Experiment and its Lessons for the Future

Fifty years ago, our nation launched a national experiment focused on increasing access to higher education.  The GI Bill had been a watershed following World War II, but it was the passage and implementation of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Higher Education Act of 1965 over the last half-century that transformed American colleges and universities, higher education, and even America.  Freeman Hrabowski, president of UMBC, an institution that was also established fifty years ago, will discuss the progress we have made over the last fifty years.  He will explore the challenges and opportunities we face today – adapting to demographic change, improving access and affordability, enhancing teaching and learning, using technology, and developing partnerships, — as we sustain higher education as a central force in the American Dream.  Special attention will be given to expanding participation in STEM fields through innovation and technology.


beth-simonDr. Beth Simon is on the faculty of the Computer Science and Department at the University of California, San Diego.  Since 2011, she has served in UCSD’s Center for Teaching Development as both Director and Sr. Associate Director for Learning Sciences and Technology.  During 2007-2008 Beth worked as a Science Teaching and Learning Fellow in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia. Beth’s primary research interests lie in improving the university learning experience through adoption of evidence-based pedagogical practices – notably Peer Instruction. Her current top projects involve developing Peer Instruction materials and investigating models of instructor adoption both among university computing instructors and high school teachers in the NSF CS10K project. Read More >>

Rethink, Then Refresh and Reboot:  Lessons learned when instructors teach a MOOC…


MOOCs (massive open online courses) offer instructors a novel opportunity to educate thousands of learners, many of whom they would never otherwise see in their classrooms.  But the massive, open, online world is dramatically different than the university or K-12 one — which is small, closed (i.e., requiring admission and tuition), and usually face-to-face.   What can instructors teaching MOOCs experience and how might that change their approach to more traditional educational environments?

In short, designing and implementing a MOOC offers instructors the opportunity to rethink their teaching – starting with identifying who their MOOC learners are and what goals they have. Next, they can refresh their teaching – the assessments that would serve these learners, the activities to have learners experience, the options for content delivery/sharing, and the interactions that are most important for learning.   I will share some experiences of instructor rethinking and refreshing that we have seen in Coursera MOOC instructor workshops, and how these experiences could (and should!) have influence beyond the MOOC instructional world.  Finally, I will discuss the challenge of the rebooting process – for both instructors and students — with examples from other efforts to reboot in higher education.


ryan-craigRyan Craig is a founding Managing Director of University Ventures. Prior to University Ventures, Ryan founded and built Wellspring, the largest and leading organization of treatment programs for overweight and obese children, adolescents and young adults, including boarding schools, summer camps and after-school programs. Ryan headed the Education & Training sector at Warburg Pincus from 2001 – 2004 where he was the founding Director of Bridgepoint Education (NYSE: BPI), one of the largest online universities in the U.S. Ryan has advised the U.S. Department of Education and served as VP Strategic Development for Fathom, the Columbia University online education company, from 1999 – 2001. Ryan began his career as a consultant with McKinsey & Co. He received bachelor’s degrees in Literature and Economics summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa from Yale University, and his law degree from the Yale Law School. Ryan is a member of the Board of Directors of Claremont Lincoln University and is on the Advisory Board of UCLA Extension. Ryan is the author of College Disrupted: The Great Unbundling of Higher Education, published by Palgrave Macmillan in March 2015.

Data, Technology, and the Great Unbundling of Higher Education


Colleges and universities must address several critical issues in the years ahead in order to prepare for the next seismic change: the unbundling of higher education.

American colleges and universities continue to navigate by the stars of rankings from U.S. News & World Report and other sources. These rankings are primarily derived from easy-to-measure inputs such as student selectivity, faculty resources (e.g., class size and student-to-faculty ratio), spending per student, library holdings, and research productivity. Not surprisingly, the country’s elite colleges and universities (those with the highest admissions standards) consistently rank at the top of these lists.