Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council

The Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council (QMAAC) was created in 2004 during the grant phase of Quality Matters and has since evolved in purpose and composition. The Council provides guidance to and oversight of the programmatic directions and initiatives of Quality Matters. The QMAAC's 15 members include representatives of QM subscriber schools, QM senior staff and online and blended learning leaders who provide a national perspective.

QMAAC members are to represent an institution or organization’s interests and viewpoint to QM; provide guidance on QM to ensure QM’s long-term sustainability and success; help to review new initiatives and act in an advisory role for new projects; and disseminate QM-related information, materials, and opportunities to others.

QMAAC Members

  • Morris Thomas, Chair
    Morris Thomas

    Dr. Morris Thomas serves as the Assistant Provost for Digital and Online Learning and Director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment at Howard University. He has an extensive background in facilitating learning across instructional modalities. Dr. Thomas’ research focuses on instructional dynamics encompassing instructional domains, design and delivery. He developed an instructional design framework, the E.N.H.A.N.C.E. Learning Model that includes seven strategies to inform intentional course design and delivery. He is also the creator of the “Whole Experience” a framework that addresses Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI). He is the author of Focus: The Missing Factor; A Practical Guide to Accomplishing Your Goals. He holds several Quality Matters certifications, including Master Reviewer, Peer-Reviewer and Quality Matters Coordinator. He is also certified to facilitate the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop face-to-face and online. He is a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach and certified to administer the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. Dr. Thomas is a Project Management Professional with the Project Management Institute, Inc. and completed the University of South Florida’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion certificate.

    Dr. Thomas received his Ph.D. in higher education administration from Morgan State University, a M.A. in educational policy and leadership from The Ohio State University, a M.S. in instructional technology management from LaSalle University, a M.M. in classical vocal performance from New Jersey City University and a B.A. in music from Fisk University.

  • Deb Adair, Ph.D., ex officio
    De Adair

    Dr. Deb Adair is the Chief Executive Officer of Quality Matters (QM), a widely adopted, global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. QM serves over 1,500 institutions across education sectors, in more than 30 countries, with tools and training to improve digital education and to meet QM’s nationally-recognized standards. Under Dr. Adair’s leadership, Quality Matters has helped focus the education community on the practical application of quality standards to online and blended courses and programs and has worked to improve student outcomes through a focus on continuous quality improvement. Dr. Adair has more than 25 years’ experience in higher education, in faculty and administration, as well as non-profit leadership. She has served QM since 2007.

    Dr. Adair received an A.A. degree from Broward Community College, a B.S. degree from Boston University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from University of Arizona. She is a graduate of the first class of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Education and an alumna of the HERS Leadership Institute. Her acknowledgements include citations from state and local governments for her work on literacy and women’s issues, the Broward College Alumni Merit Award, and the Nofflet Williams Award for service to the distance learning community.

    Dr. Adair currently serves as President of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and has served on advisory bodies for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the National University Technology Network, the Presidents' Forum, and Credential Engine.  She has authored and interviewed broadly as an expert in quality assurance for online learning.

  • Barbara Altman
    Barb Altman

    Dr. Barb Altman has over 20 years of experience teaching and researching in the areas of corporate social responsibility, change management, sustainability and leadership.  Her particular interest is in cross-sector partnerships and the leadership skills needed to be successful in such challenging initiatives.  

    Barb is skilled in applied qualitative research and enjoys writing case studies that can also be used in class settings.   She is an expert in online teaching, and a named Research Colleague with Quality Matters, a benchmarking platform for online learning.   At Texas A&M University – Central Texas, where she is an Associate Professor of Management and has taught for 9 years, she also leads the accreditation and quality assurance activities of the College of Business Administration as Associate Dean.   She also serves as Faculty Coordinator for the MBA Program.

    Prior to her position at A&M – Central Texas, she was on the faculty of the College of Business at the University of North Texas.  Her Doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Management Policy is from the Boston University School of Management, with a Master’s in Public Affairs and Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.   In between her Master’s and Doctoral work, she had a very successful career in local and regional city management.  She has earned Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions in her academic work.  

  • Phoebe Ballard
    Phoebe Ballard

    Phoebe Ballard is the Executive Director of Online Learning Operations for the School of Professional Studies at Columbia University in the City of New York. In this role, she oversees the work of the Online Curriculum and Instruction (OCI) team in partnering with senior leadership, faculty, and staff to develop and maintain high-quality online programs, courses, and services for a wide range of audiences, both international and domestic.

    Before joining Columbia, Phoebe enjoyed a 14-year career at The University of Toledo as the Director of Instructional Design and Development and adjunct faculty for one of Ohio's largest online learning operations. In that role, she managed the instructional design, multimedia, and assistive technology (digital accessibility) teams, spearheaded the design, implementation, and evaluation of online faculty development programs, and oversaw the Quality Matters (QM) review process and its university-wide implementation.

    Phoebe has been an active member of the Quality Matters community since 2011. She is a QM Certified Master Reviewer for Higher Education, CPE, and K-12 programs and a Certified Face-to-Face Facilitator for QM's Applying the Quality Matters Rubric (APPQMR) and Improving Your Online Course (IYOC) workshops. From 2016-2017, she served as the Co-State Lead and Professional Development Coordinator for the Ohio QM Consortium's Executive Committee and the Member-at-Large on the national leadership team of the QM Instructional Designer Association (QM-IDA).

  • MJ Bishop
    MJ Bishop

    Dr. MJ Bishop is Vice President for Integrative Learning Design at University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) where she leads the evidence-based design and development of learning experiences across disciplines, delivery modalities, and global boundaries.  Prior to UMGC, she was Associate Vice Chancellor and inaugural director of the University System of Maryland’s William E. Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, where she led major statewide initiatives in the areas of open educational resources, online education, comprehensive learner records, alternative credentials, and adaptive learning.

    Prior to USM, Dr. Bishop was Associate Professor and Director of Lehigh University’s Teaching, Learning, and Technology Program where she led the institution’s graduate programs in instructional design and technology, taught graduate level courses, and mentored master’s and doctoral students.  MJ’s research interests include understanding the psychology behind instructional media to discover their pedagogical capabilities and to devise more effective ways to design instructional technologies to enhance learning.

  • Brenda Boyd, ex officio

    Brenda Boyd joined QM in May, 2011 and currently serves as Senior Academic Director, Program Services. She leads the professional development team and is responsible for all QM professional development offerings. Brenda and her team launched QM's Teaching Online Certificate, a pathway for faculty to demonstrate their knowledge of online teaching through the use of digital credentials tied to evidence in 2016. She oversees the quality assurance department as well and is responsible for the updating of QM Higher Education Rubrics.

    Brenda has served QM in several capacities since 2004. During the grant-funded period, Brenda served on the QM Advisory Board. Brenda helped found the Ohio Quality Matters Consortium in 2007 and was active as a state-wide system facilitator to bring QM to institutions throughout the State of Ohio.
    Brenda served on the Rubric Review Committee for the 2011-2013 Edition of the QM Rubric, was co-chair of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Rubric Committee, and was co-chair of the QM Higher Education Rubric Committee, Sixth Edition. She is currently serving as co-chair of the QM Higher Education Rubric Committee, Seventh Edition.

    Her background includes experience in both Community College and University settings. Brenda has worked with faculty in helping them design online courses from developmental to graduate-level programs for more than 20 years. She has led faculty learning communities on topics ranging from using technology in the classroom to using virtual worlds for teaching and learning. She has also worked for a corporate consulting company with a private University where she created a plan to bring the University up to speed with technology tools to support online teaching and learning on all five campuses in four states.

    She holds an M.S. in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University and a B.F.A. from the University of Dayton.

  • Racheal Brooks
    Racheal Brooks

    Dr. Racheal Brooks is the Coordinator of the Office of e-Learning and a Spanish and graduate-level research methods instructor at North Carolina Central University. She also serves as Co-Chair for the University of North Carolina System Quality Matters Council. Dr. Brooks is a member of the NCCU Distance Education Advisory Council, NCCU QM Coordinator, QM Master Reviewer, QM Program Reviewer, Course Review Manager, Face-to-Face and Online Facilitator of the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop, Face-to-Face Facilitator of the Improving Your Online Course workshop, iQM Association member (Spanish), and member of the QM Instructional Designers Association. She also established a series of learning communities on NCCU's campus that assist faculty in certifying their courses with the QM program. 

    Dr. Brooks's research interests include online instruction, online curriculum development, digital accessibility, instructional technology, qualitative research methods in education, Spanish language acquisition at HBCUs, second language learner beliefs, minorities in Spanish language studies, and gamification in e-learning and faculty training. Recently, she developed a gamified, micro-course entitled, You be the Reviewer: Quality Matters at NCCU, that reinforces participants' understanding of the content presented during the APPQMR as they assume the role of QM liaison to their "colleagues" in preparation for the QM Course Review process. 

    Dr. Brooks earned a BA in Spanish from North Carolina Central University, an MA in Spanish Literature from Georgia State University, and a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a specialization in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University.

  • Lisa Clark
    Lisa Clark

    Lisa Clark, Ph.D., has served in various roles for Quality Matters, to include Master Reviewer, Program Reviewer, and Facilitator since 2010. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years with experience at community colleges and universities (both traditional & online) and has held a number of roles from faculty, CTL Director, Dean of Online Programs, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.   Dr. Clark’s current work includes part -time online teaching for American Public, Strayer, and Aspen Universities, consulting, and serving as a peer reviewer/team chair for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    Dr. Clark has a Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education from Capella University, graduate credentials from Appalachian State University and the Union Institute & University in English, Women’s Studies, Media Literacy, and Online Course Design, and an undergraduate degree in English from the Ohio State University.

  • Steven Crawford
    Steven Crawford

    Dr. Steven Crawford has over 20 years of experience in designing and delivering both synchronous and asynchronous online programs. As an instructional designer, he has worked with faculty to create and scale online programs using established best practices. He has written on how to best incorporate multimedia into courses and how to develop quality multimedia presentations. In addition, he has been a QM Course Reviewer and Facilitator for over ten years.

    Steven is at the Maricopa County Community College District and serves as the District Director for the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation. In this role, he oversees the Arizona Statewide QM Consortium. He is also an adjunct faculty member and has taught online for over ten years. Prior to this role, he implemented the QM Program at Arizona State University.

    He earned his M.S.Ed. in Instruction Design and Technology from Old Dominion University and an Ed.D. in Leadership & Innovation at Arizona State University.

  • Jared Eusea
    Jared Eusea

    Jared Eusea started teaching as an Instructor at River Parishes Community College (in Louisiana) in January 2011. Since then, he has been promoted to Assistant Professor in Spring 2017 and became the Department Chair of Mathematics in Fall 2021. During his service at RPCC, Jared has been instrumental in moving forward improvements in online teaching and learning, thanks to Quality Matters. He has become the QM Coordinator for his Institution, has taken a vast amount of QM Professional Development courses, and has attended and presented at QM Conferences. As a faculty member, in addition to teaching a full-load each semester, he has led committees in redesigning the math curriculum and sequence, helped establish course commonality for all mathematics courses at the College, has been the chair of RPCC's internal online course evaluation committee (since it has started), and has been the Parliamentarian for the Faculty Senate. Jared received both his Bachelor’s Degree and Master’s Degree from Southeastern Louisiana University, where he was a member of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity and Gamma Beta Phi Honor and Service Society. In his spare time, he practices and teaches yoga.

  • Robert Gibson
    Robert Gibson

    Robert is currently the Director of Learning Technologies at Emporia State University. In this role, he and his team provide a variety of learning technology support for the campus. He has served in this capacity since 2008. Robert also teaches several graduate courses in instructional design, corporate eLearning, Universal Design, and project management for instructional designers.

    Robert has worked in higher education since 1988. He began his career at the University of Wyoming working with early distance education systems. After completing his master’s degree, he accepted a position at WSU where he served as the first instructional designer for a video-based distance education program in the early 1990s. In 1995 – the dawn of the modern web browser – Rob and a nursing faculty member launched the first online course in Kansas. He later worked for Friends University before accepting a position at CU Online in Denver.

    Robert holds a BS in Business; a BFA and BA in Graphic Design; an MS in Instructional Technology and Design; an MBA in Information Technology; and an EdD in Instructional Technology and Distance Education. His dissertation research investigated the effectiveness of various faculty development programs regarding online learning.

    Robert has been a champion of emergent technologies that have the potential to shape education. He has published numerous peer-reviewed articles and book chapters and presents nationally at a variety of conferences. His research interests include accessibility and Universal Design; Artificial Intelligence; Open Pedagogy; AR/VR; usability and interface design; online course design/quality assurance; instructional systems design; academic integrity; project management; and competency-based learning. Rob has served on product advisory boards and has been the recipient of outstanding course awards. He holds multiple certifications from Creative Commons, IAAP, Quality Matters, Google, and IBM among others. He is also an EDUCAUSE faculty and SME.

  • Brittany Jackson
    Brittany L. Jackson

    Dr. Brittany L. Jackson serves as the Online Learning Manager in Learning Technologies at Hiram College, as well as Director of Training and Technology for the College Autism Network. Brittany has an Ed.D. in educational leadership studies from Ashland University (Ashland, OH), which she earned in 2022. Her research focuses on autism and neurodiversity in higher education, Universal Design for Learning, leadership, higher education, technology, training, and disability studies. Brittany received her Bachelor of Arts in theater and communication in 2004 and her Master of Arts in interdisciplinary studies with a focus in education and psychology, specifically autism in higher education, in 2015 from Hiram College (Hiram, OH). She earned a certificate in autism spectrum disorders from Kent State University (Kent, OH) in 2019. Brittany also serves on the Board of the Hiram Living and Learning Community.

  • Stephen Kaufman, QM IDA Chair, ex officio
    Stephen Kaufman

    Steve is a Senior Instructional Designer at the University of Akron. Prior to joining UA, Steve served as the Associate Director of Online Learning at Ashland University. Currently, he serves as one of the Ohio QM Consortium’s State Leads and is the chair of their executive committee.

  • Ruth Lugo
    Ruth E. Lugo

    Ruth E. Lugo, Ph.D., has served at several higher education institutions for over three decades in various administrative and senior-level policy-making positions: academic affairs, educational administrator, enrollment management, and student services. She has worked for private and public universities and community colleges, with enrollments ranging from 2,000 to 30,000 students. The core purpose of our service in higher education focuses on academics; she has also led faculty, administrators, and students to be effective, which has contributed to her reputation as an advocate for academic excellence, access, equity, and shared governance in both unionized and non-unionized institutions. 

    Her accreditation credentials were earned through her service of three decades with the Middle States Commission on Higher Education as Team Chair, Peer Reviewer, Periodic Review Reviewer, Candidacy Consultant, Substantive Change Evaluator, and Trainer of Team Chairs. Currently, she is a Professor at Metropolitan College of New York, where she is the Institutional Quality Matters Coordinator and has completed the Teaching Online and Peer Reviewer Certificates. She has been the President of Theassociatesrla: an Artistic, Cultural and Educational Management since 1991 and has served as a Consultant in Puerto Rico, Latin America, and the USA.

    Dr. Lugo earned a B.A. from the University of Puerto Rico, an A.M. from Middlebury College- Madrid Program in Spain, and a Ph.D. at the State University of New York-Stony Brook, New York, in Hispanic Languages and Literature, where she was a Ford Foundation Doctoral Fellow. She completed post-graduate work at Harvard University, earning an Executive Certificate in Educational Management from the Institute for Educational Management for Senior University Administrators and through the Executive Program of Public Management of the John F. Kennedy School of Government. In addition, she finished the ACE Fellow Program from the American Council of Education in Washington, D.C., and completed her fellowship at Columbia Teachers College.

  • Shannon Riggs
    Shannon Riggs

    Shannon Riggs serves as Executive Director of course development and learning innovation for Oregon State University Ecampus. In this role, she supports Oregon State’s land grant mission by providing leadership and direction for online course development and learning innovation throughout the division. She directly oversees several units, including the Ecampus Course Development and Training Team, the Ecampus Research Unit, the Open Educational Resources Unit, and the Ecampus Program Management Team. Shannon earned her M.A. in English from Old Dominion University and has been involved with QM for 10+ years in a variety of capacities.

  • Bethany Simunich, Ph.D., ex officio

    Bethany Simunich has worked in higher education for over twenty years, with a focus on online learning for the majority of that time. She has experience as a face-to-face and online instructor, instructional designer, faculty developer, eLearning administrator, and trainer and consultant for online pedagogy, design, research, and implementation. As QM's Director of Research and Innovation, she helps provide research-based tools, ideas, and solutions to enable individuals and institutions to assess and achieve their quality assurance goals.  Her research interests include presence in the online classroom, online student and instructor self-efficacy and satisfaction, and outcomes achievement in online courses.

  • Ashley Skylar
    Ashley Skylar

    Ashley Skylar serves as the Manager of the Online Course Services Program for California State University Office of the Chancellor. In this role, she supports campuses in leadership efforts to develop “quality” online and hybrid courses. She has been serving as the CSU Institutional Representative for Quality Matters since 2014 and provides leadership in working with the 15 CSU QM campus affiliates. She holds various Quality Matters certifications including Peer Reviewer, Master Reviewer, Course Review Manager, Applying the Quality Matters Rubric Facilitator (F2F & online), Improve Your Own Course Facilitator, and Design Your Online Course Facilitator. She also leads and facilitates systemwide Quality Matters training for the system (4,400 QM training completions) and subscriber managed QM course reviews (over 200 QM certified courses). The CSU system also was honored to receive the “Outstanding Impact by Higher Education” QM Award in 2016. 

    In this role, she also manages campus community interest groups including CSU OCS campus leads, instructional designers, and SQuAIR Student Impact Research groups. She has been involved with QM for ten years in a variety of capacities. Previous to this role she served two and a half years as the Director for Online Education for CSU Cal State Online, and eight years as an Associate Professor in Special Education at California State University, Northridge. She has been teaching online since 2001 and previous to Higher Education she was a special education secondary teacher for eight years in Las Vegas, NV. Dr. Skylar’s expertise areas are in UDL, ATI, Distance Education, Strategic Planning, and Instructional Design. Dr. Skylar has her Ph.D. in Special Education, M.A. in Instructional Technology, and B.A. in Special Education from the University of Nevada Las Vegas.

  • Vicki Westergard

    Vicki Westergard is the Executive Director of Instructional Design, Education and Support (IDEAS) at St. Petersburg College. With 30+ years of experience in higher education in instructional support and leadership positions, including overseeing a 2014 college-wide online learning revitalization effort, Ms. Westergard has led teams in instructional technology and videography, learning management system support and web development. She has held her current position since 2004, and serves as SPC’s QM Coordinator. Ms. Westergard holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Eastern Illinois University.

  • Diana Zilberman
    Diana Zilberman

    Diana has over 35 years of teaching experience as a face-to-face and online instructor. As Director of E-Learning at Baltimore City Community College and then Dean of the Center of Teaching Excellence, she was part of the very first team that created and developed QM when it was just an idea to be piloted by volunteers — the year was 2001. Then as president of MarylandOnline, the former parent organization of QM, she was involved in the process of QM's transition to an independent entity and strengthening its impact in the national and international arena of higher education and K-12. She wears many hats for QM: member of the QM Board and QMAAC, facilitator, and master reviewer.