QM Research Colleagues

Quality Matters Research Colleagues support QM by conducting, presenting, writing, and publishing research on online learning, including QM-focused topics such as design and implementation. They also contribute to the body of research that supports the QM Rubric and framework, propose QM-focused research projects and professional development, and provide consultation for research-focused inquiries. 

Current QM Research Colleagues

  • Barbara W. Altman, Ph.D., Texas A&M University - Central Texas (since 2016)
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    Barbara (Barb) Altman is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Management for the College of Business Administration at the Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, Texas. Dr. Altman is interested in research on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, organizational change, public/private partnerships, and improving online and blended course design and delivery. She has over 18 years of teaching experience in online and blended formats. She serves on the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Committee.

  • Deborah Anne Banker, Ed.D., Tarleton State University (since 2014)
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    Deborah Anne Banker is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction and in Psychology at Tarleton State University. She has engaged in independent research to improve her online courses and is fascinated by discoveries in the research literature regarding student learning, achievement, satisfaction, and retention in online courses. She is published on teacher preparation and training.

  • Racheal Brooks, Ph.D., North Carolina Central University
    Racheal Brooks

    Racheal Brooks is the Director of the Office of e-Learning at North Carolina Central University and serves as Co-Chair of the University of North Carolina System Quality Matters Council. She serves on the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council and has over 12 years of experience in higher education teaching online and blended courses. Her research interests include online learner success, culturally affirming and inclusive design, digital accessibility, program assessment, online language instruction, and minoritized learners in Spanish language studies.

  • Steven Crawford, Ed.D., Maricopa County Community College District
    Steven Crawford

    Dr. Crawford is the District Director for the Maricopa Center for Learning and Innovation at the Maricopa County Community College District. His research interests include the appropriate use of technology in the use of education, with a focus on the use of multimedia. In addition, he is also interested in the blended learning environments and how this impacts course design when integrating asynchronous and synchronous learning modalities.

  • Barbara Frey, D.Ed., University of Pittsburgh and Point Park University
    Barbara Frey

    Barbara is an Instructional Design Consultant with the University of Pittsburgh and an Assistant Professor with the School of Education at Point Park University. Her background includes over 20 years of teaching experience with the World Campus at Pennsylvania State University and the Global Campus at Colorado State University. In addition, Barbara is an active Quality Matters Facilitator, Master Reviewer, and Researcher, plus a Scholar with the International Board of Standards for Training, Performance and Instruction (IBSTPI). Her research interests include instructional design, online teaching and learning, and digital accessibility. Barbara is co-author of the book Distinctive Distance Education Design: Models for Differentiated Instruction (IGI Global Publications, 2011).

  • Amy Grincewicz, Ph.D., Kent State University
    Amy Grincewicz

    Amy Grincewicz is the Director of Instructional Design for Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship at Kent State University. Her dissertation from Capella University focused on instructional design strategies to promote deep learning within accelerated online courses across various disciplines and much of her current research focuses on designing quality courses and programs. She is an experienced face-to-face and online instructor with over 15 years of teaching experience. Read more about Amy M. Grincewicz and her work at Kent State.

  • Theresa Henderson, Ed.D., Indiana Wesleyan University
    Theresa Henderson

    Theresa Henderson is an Assistant Professor and Department Chair for the Online Teaching and Learning Program in the School of Educational Leadership at Indiana Wesleyan University. Both personally and professionally, she has dedicated the past two decades to the research, practice, and preparation of K-12 online teaching and learning. Her research interests include quality instructional design, content curation as a methodology for course writing, micro-course development in higher education, educational technology, learning engineering, and teacher and faculty preparation for high-leverage online teaching and learning practices.

  • Rae Mancilla, Ed.D., University of Pittsburgh
    Rae Mancilla

    Rae Mancilla is the Assistant Director of Online Learning at the School of Health and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She brings to bear over a decade of design and project management expertise in developing fully online and blended programs, including large-scale course developments. She is also an active educator and researcher, teaching graduate and undergraduate courses on Instructional Technology, and is passionate about faculty development for online learning. Her research interests include the professional development of instructional designers, language learning and technology, digital accessibility, and program evaluation.

  • Elizabeth McMahon, Ed.D., Minnesota State (Retired) (since 2016)
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    Dr. McMahon is faculty emeritus at Northland Community and Technical College and is the former lead QMC for the Colleges and Universities of Minnesota State. Her research interests are related to quality assurance in online higher education, including institutional implementation of quality assurance initiatives as well as the impacts of faculty professional development and course peer review on faculty self-efficacy and online course design.

  • Stella C. S. Porto, Ph.D., Inter-American Development Bank (since 2016)
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    Stella C. S. Porto is a Learning & Knowledge Management Specialist Sr. at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She leads a team managing online training and online courses in the areas of development focused on Latin America and the Caribbean as well as IDB staff. Previously, she was the director of the Masters of Distance Education and E-Learning at University of Maryland Global Campus (previously UMUC). She holds a doctorate in Computer Science and master’s degrees in computer science and distance education. Stella's research interests involve educational technology, online course design, and e-learning projects for both adult education and professional training, with a focus in technology and management. Stella's LinkedIn address is: https://www.linkedin.com/in/stellaporto/

  • Penny Ralston-Berg, M.S., Pennsylvania State University (since 2020)
    Penny Ralston-Berg

    Penny Ralston-Berg is currently a Senior Instructional Designer for the Penn State World Campus. She has over 25 years of online learning design experience. Her research interests include student perspectives of quality and how this impacts design practice, the growth of instructional designers from novice to expert, and the use of games and simulations in online instruction. She is a QM AOFC and AAFC facilitator and former chair of the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She is also a Quality Matters Coordinator for Penn State.

  • Andria F. Schwegler, Ph.D., Texas A&M University – Central Texas (since 2020)
    Andria F. Schwegler

    Andria Schwegler is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Counseling and Psychology Department at Texas A&M University – Central Texas and serves as the Program Coordinator for the Master of Science in Educational Psychology. She has 30 years of experience teaching students from pre-kindergarten to graduate school with over 10 years of experience teaching blended and online courses in higher education. Her research interests include norms related to teaching, participation in course enhancement, quality of feedback in course reviews, academic rigor, the application of human learning research to teaching, and online information literacy.

  • Kay Shattuck, D.Ed., QM Founding Director and Senior Advisor for Research
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    Kay Shattuck has worked with adult education for more than 35 years, focusing on online and distance education since 1999. Kay was a member of the initial group of Maryland distance educators who developed what would become Quality Matters and served as QM’s Director of Research through 2019.  She continues now as Founding Director and Senior Advisor for Research by supporting the research team led by Dr. Bethany Simunich, QM’s Director of Research and Innovation. In addition to her work with QM, she is an associate editor of The American Journal of Distance Education.

  • Bethany Simunich, Ph.D., QM Director of Research and Innovation
    Bethany Simunich

    Bethany Simunich has worked in higher education for over 20 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; distance learning administrator; and trainer and consultant for online pedagogy, design, 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.