Rob Abel, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer of IMS
Shah S. Ardalan, President, Lone Star College - University Park
Mark Armstrong, Vice-President, Higher Education Product Development, Oracle
Jeremy Auger, Chief Technical Officer & Executive Vice President, Desire2Learn
Timothy Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage
Malcolm Brown, Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), EDUCAUSE
William Graves, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Senior Vice President, Academic Strategy, Ellucian
John T. Harwood, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Information Technology, Penn State
Ray Henderson, President, Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Inc
Michael King,Vice President, Global Education Industry, IBM
Gloria Pickar, Group President and Chief Academic Officer of Embanet-Compass Knowledge Group, Embanet-Compass Group
Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, and Chair of JISC-CETIS
Nicholas Svensson, Vice President Education Solutions, SMART Technologies
Rob Abel, Ed.D.
Dr. Rob Abel is the Chief Executive Officer of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a nonprofit collaboration of the world's leading universities, school districts, government organizations, content providers, and technology suppliers, cooperating to accelerate learning technology interoperability, adoption, and impact. Rob has been the CEO of IMS since February of 2006.
Rob is a recognized expert on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for learning with over 30 years high tech and education market development experience. Under Rob’s leadership IMS has introduced the Learning Impact program, which is setting new benchmarks for high impact applications of technology in support of learning worldwide. During Rob’s tenure IMS has experienced dramatic growth in terms of members, revenues, and achieved significant adoption of IMS work by leading regional education communities worldwide. Under Rob’s leadership IMS is providing a foundation of technical interoperability and industry collaboration that is improving access, affordability, and quality of educational experiences worldwide.
Prior to IMS Rob was Senior Vice President at Collegis (now SunGard Higher Education), the leading provider of ICT services to U.S. higher education, he was responsible for online and academic services provided to over 60 U.S. institutions. As Senior Director at Oracle Education he was a leader and innovator in the development of online learning architectures and related standards. Rob holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University, a Masters degree in Management from Stanford, a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Baccalaureate degree in Computational Physics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Shah S. Ardalan
Mr. Shah Ardalan is the first president of Lone Star College-University Park. Prior to becoming president, he served as CEO of LSC-University Park and had over 20 years of experience in educational and executive roles within the best and the largest community college and university systems in the United States. Shah started his higher education career as an instructor in 1989 and advanced to research associate, director of business development, special assistant to the president, associate vice president, vice president, and chief information officer. He joined Lone Star College System as the vice chancellor and CIO in 2008. Mr. Ardalan is best known for organizing, positioning, and articulating the value of education through all facets of educational stake-holders. He has been featured as one of America’s top educational innovators and been seen in over 80 higher educational articles, features, and reports.
Mr. Ardalan earned a Master’s degree in Electrical Engineering from North Carolina A&T State University and a Bachelor’s degree in Physics from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, NC. He also holds academic diplomas and certificates from the University of Lausanne (Switzerland) and Harvard University.
Mark Armstrong is Vice-President for Oracle Higher Ed Product Development, the division that develops and supports solutions that are specific to the Higher Education vertical market. Those products include Student Administration for higher education (Campus Solutions), Alumni Development and integration platforms for Learning Management, Master Data management and various technology products. With nearly one thousand application customers world-wide, he spends significant time engaged with this global customer base to understand their immediate needs, and how those needs inform the roadmap through longer-term challenges facing the industry. Mark gets directly involved in key implementations where customers are striving to transform their operations and the services they provide to their campus community. Some of those customers include City University of New York (CUNY), Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Colorado System and National University of Singapore. Until its acquisition by Oracle, Mark held a similar position at PeopleSoft where he helped launch their Higher Education division. Prior to joining PeopleSoft in 1994, he developed and implemented student-centered solutions at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Paz.
Jeremy Auger is Chief Technical Officer & Executive Vice President for Desire2Learn. Jeremy comes from a strong technical and business background having worked for numerous high-tech companies throughout North America and has been actively involved with e-Learning and web-based technology companies since the very early days. With a strong commitment to customer service, and a desire to advance the state-of-the-art, Jeremy has been part of the Desire2Learn team since its inception, and continues taking a leading role in accomplishing success within the online education industry.
Timothy R. Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage, was founder of Dynacom, Inc., and a partner/owner of the former SAFARI Technologies, Inc. Mr. Beekman holds a BSEE from Western Michigan University and a First Class Broadcast License. He was honored as “Fellow of the Decade” by Ball State University Center for Communication Sciences and served as Director of Technology for Grand Rapids Public Schools. Currently, he is president and co-founder of SAFARI Montage, and brings leadership and focus to the team. Mr. Beekman has pioneered the integration of video technology in the classroom through projects like AT&T School of the Future initiative and the “Campus of the Future” at Ball State University. Under Mr. Beekman’s leadership, SAFARI Montage has grown to be an industry leader in Educational Video Integration Technologies in both analog and digital formats.
Prior to assuming the position of director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), Malcolm Brown was the Director of Academic Computing at Dartmouth College. His group supported faculty and students in the use of applications of information technology in research and in the curriculum, and oversaw classroom technology. During his tenure at Dartmouth, he worked actively with the ELI, contributing chapters to the ELI eBooks, helping to plan focus sessions, and serving on the ELI Advisory Board. He has been a member of the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies committee and served as a faculty of the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program. He has been on the board for the Horizon Report since its inception in 2004 and served as Chair of Board of the New Media Consortium. He served as the editor of the New Horizons column for the EDUCAUSE Review. He is a member of the Frye Institute class of 2002. He has given invited presentations recently at the University of Nebraska, the University of Indiana Fort Wayne, Iowa State University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He has given keynotes recently the DET/CHE and CCUMC conferences. Malcolm holds a pair of BA degrees from UC Santa Cruz; studied in Freiburg, Germany, on a pair of Fulbright scholarships; and has a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University. He has taught several academic courses on Nietzsche and maintains the Nietzsche Chronicle web site.
Dr. William H. Graves, is Senior Vice President of Academic Strategy, for Ellucian. He is also a member of the board of governors of Antioch University and a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) where, after earning a mathematics Ph.D. from Indiana University, he served as dean for general education, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, senior information technology officer, and founder and director of the Institute for Academic Technology (a UNC/IBM alliance).
First at UNC and now at SunGard Higher Education, Graves has helped pioneer technology-enabled strategies for measurably improving upon and accounting for institutional performance in tertiary education, especially academic performance. On this theme, he has published 80+ articles and books, given hundreds of invited presentations, and advised hundreds of institutions.
Graves is currently a co-founding board member of the National Center for Academic Transformation, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness. He formerly served on the boards of EDUCAUSE, the Coalition for Networked Information, and CAUSE. He helped launch Internet2 and EDUCAUSE’s National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (now the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) and chaired the latter's planning committee from 1994-2004. He also served on the Tenth Anniversary Commission of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and has participated recently in other national advisory groups convened by, for example, the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation, and Innovate-Educate New Mexico.
While on leave from UNC in 1998-2000, Graves founded and directed the nonprofit Collegis Research Institute. He then retired from UNC in 2000 to found (and chair the board of) Eduprise, an academic technology services firm which subsequently merged with Collegis. The resulting privately held company was acquired in 2004 by publicly traded SunGard Data Systems and is now part of privately held SunGard Higher Education, the world’s largest technology-related business focused solely on tertiary education and technology-enabled strategies for improving its efficacy and efficiency.
John T. Harwood, Ph.D.
John Harwood is Associate Vice Provost for Information Technology at Penn State. Previously he was Senior Director, Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State where he was responsible for the development of courseware, training, and support programs for faculty and teaching assistants who seek to integrate technology and teaching. At University Park, he is responsible for helping faculty use technology in teaching; university-wide IT training; and computer labs, technology classrooms, and the support services required to support teaching and learning in those spaces, including instructional design and multimedia services. John is Penn State's representative to the CIC, the academic consortium of the Big 10.
Ray Henderson is the President of Blackboard Learn, the elearning products division of Blackboard Inc, the worlds leading provider of online learning technology and services. His mission there is simple: to increase the impact of education by transforming the experience of education. Previously, Ray was Chief Products Officer at ANGEL Learning, which Blackboard acquired in May 2009. He also served as President of the Digital Media Group for Pearson Education where he was responsible for creating digital products for learning delivery. He was a founder of the Safari Books Online joint initiative with O’Reilly, and managed platforms for several high profile blended learning product lines such as Course Compass and My Math Lab. His most significant contribution to the IMS Global was his early stewardship of the Common Cartridge project, now a key standards initiative within IMS. Ray’s vantage as both a content distributor and software platform provider led him to suggest this new initiative in 2005 and help shepherd it into existence till now. .
Michael King, Vice President, Global Education Industry, has been with IBM for over 20 years in various executive and management positions. He is currently the worldwide leader for the IBM Education Industry. In this role, he leads IBM's strategy, marketing and sales across schools and higher education. His prior responsibilities include Director, Market Development, Education Industry, focused on solutions and innovation projects, and Director, Alliances for IBM Learning Solutions, where he led a team in developing partnerships across the learning marketplace, including corporate education. He served as the lead market manager for learning in IBM, launching important corporate solution initiatives in Europe and globally. Prior positions include the Global Segment Executive for the IBM Education industry, leading the strategy for delivering solutions and products to higher education and primary school institutions around the world, and also the worldwide marketing manager for higher education. IBM's broad portfolio of offerings in Education Industry includes hardware and software products, business and IT services, and specific industry initiatives, such as open source software, grid computing, and other leading technologies.
Mr. King has also served as the client executive with responsibility for research universities in California, including the University of California system. In that position, he worked with leading universities in developing creative technology solutions for administrative and academic applications.
Mr. King holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in Physics and Engineering from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of the California P16 Education Advisory Council.
Dr. Gloria Pickar is the Group President and Chief Academic Officer of Embanet-Compass Knowledge Group. Dr. Pickar is responsible for the company’s relationship with all university partners to deliver online degree programs to working professional students across the Unites States and around the world. She has served on the leadership team since 1999 and as President since 2004. In addition to her tenure at Embanet-Compass, she has over 25 years of higher education leadership and faculty experience with 11 years as an academic dean. She has served on the leadership team since 1999. Dr. Pickar has broad higher education experience in healthcare, education, and business. She directed nursing and other health programs from start-up through accreditation. She has served on the faculties of both community colleges and universities including Seminole State College, Valencia Community College, University of Florida, and Florida Southern College. Dr. Pickar earned her Bachelor’s degree in Nursing, Master’s degree in Nursing Education, and Doctoral degree in Higher Education Administration from the University of Florida. Her nursing and higher education career includes two years as a corporate and personal wellness counselor and consultant. Dr. Pickar authored two nursing textbooks published by Cengage; the first textbook, Dosage Calculations, is a bestseller with the 9th edition to be published in 2012.
Since 1996, Embanet-Compass has partnered with select higher education institutions to help them develop online programs that are academically superior and economically successful. With a diverse team of business and academic professionals, Embanet-Compass currently partners with both public and private nationally ranked top tier institutions like University of Florida, University of Southern California, Boston University, Northeastern University, Howard University, University of Illinois at Chicago, University of Cincinnati, and Ohio University across all disciplines from bachelor’s to doctoral degrees. Building on the academic core of the university’s curriculum and research faculty, Embanet-Compass provides integrated distance learning services for market research; brand development; program marketing; student recruitment and advisement; instructional design; online course development; online technologies; student retention; and faculty recruitment, support, and training. The university admits the students, delivers instruction, and confers the degrees; Embanet-Compass takes care of the rest to assure predictable success for 4000 students each academic term and more than 65,800 enrollments each year.Compass Knowledge Group merged with Embanet in late 2010 to form Embanet-Compass with almost 500 employees and offices in Orlando, Chicago, and Toronto.
Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, and Chair of JISC-CETIS, has been involved with the use of technology to support learning for more than 20 years, and has led research and development work in strategy, policy, systems development and interoperability, and pedagogy. Mark also led the development of one of the first UK virtual learning environments, COSE, and has been involved in projects making use of IMS specifications since JISC first became involved in the consortium's work. Mark, Deputy Chair of the JISC Learning and Teaching committee, is also Chair of the JISC-CETIS Board. Mark's current work focuses on the support of work-based learning, and the tensions between issues of control and innovation within organisations deploying learning technologies. At Staffordshire, Mark holds a Professorial Chair in Technology Supported Learning.
Nicholas Svensson has been with SMART since 2009. He was Director of Product Development until late 2012, when he became Vice President Education Solutions. Prior to joining SMART, Svensson was Director, Supply Chain Operations for Nortel's CDMA, WiMax and LTE technologies. Previously Svensson held various design and management roles within the Civil Space Industry. In his current role at SMART Technologies he is responsible for defining product strategies within the Education market including SMART's NoteBook software, Response assessment software, SMART Exchange and various SDK's. Svensson is a native of Brantford, Ontario and a graduate of Waterloo University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.