Distance Learning Roundtable

Join us for the December episode of the Distance Learning Roundtable: Meet our guest — Dr. Jennie Sanders, Vice President of Faculty Experience and Academic Services at Western Governors University based in Salt Lake City, Utah

Interview date: Nov. 21, 2022, 2pm Eastern

A Note from USDLA executive director Pat Cassella and Edu Alliance Group exec Dean Hoke — We invite you to tune in for this month’s episode of our podcast and video show, Higher Ed Without Borders, where for 30 minutes, we gain insights from industry experts.

Meet our guest: Dr. Jennie Sanders, Vice President of Faculty Experience and Academic Services at Western Governors University based in Salt Lake City, Utah

Today’s Topic: How Western Governors University was ahead of the Pandemic Curve and how it continues that trend 

Our hosts ask Jennie: 

  • Pat: Let’s start off talking about Western Governors University. I believe it’s one of the oldest online universities in the United States and one of the largest. Tell us about WGU and give us a profile of the institution and students.  How are they different than the students who attend a traditional university?
  • Dean: Jennie, in my years of working with universities, the area of student retention and academic performance has been one of the most challenging issues for any institution. For students who attend primarily online. Reports show retention rates are 20% lower in online courses than in traditional face-to-face courses. You and a colleague of yours recently presented at a conference on how WGU is addressing this issue and getting results. Tell us about it.
  • Pat: WGU has over 4,000 faculty teaching online. Can you tell our viewers and listeners how you work with your faculty to be effective teachers?
  • Dean: During the pandemic, it seemed very few schools were prepared for such an event and struggled for months. Since 2017, Western Governors has had an emergency disaster management student support program.  How did that help you, and what were the key lessons learned in supporting your online students, faculty, and administration?
  • Pat: Distance learning technology has certainly evolved since WG offered its first online classes. Can you provide a glimpse into the technology in use today by both the University and what is required by the student for a successful online learning experience?
  • Dean: Jennie, your academic training is in the field of science, a Ph.D. from Cornell in Bio-Chemistry and Molecular Biology. However, rather than be a traditional professor or working as a science researcher, you transitioned into working for one of the largest online universities in America. What have you brought from the field of science that has impacted your work in online and faculty development?

About our Guest: ​Jennie applies a scientist’s mind with an educator’s heart to reimagine the role of faculty in learner-centered education at scale. As a first-in-family college graduate, Jennie is enthusiastically committed to creating transformative educational experiences accessible to every learner. In her role, she leads initiatives that combine the tools of digital transformation with the skills of human transformation to improve student experiences and outcomes. She holds a Ph.D. in Biochemistry from Cornell University and has over 15 years of experience in higher education serving in leadership, innovation, and instructional roles. She lives in Utah and enjoys hiking, paddling, skiing, and otherwise enjoying the mountains with her husband, three sons, and growing puppy, Camus. Learn more at www.wgu.edu. 

Learn more about the Distance Learning Roundtable!

About the Show: Join us monthly to learn about the future of online education in this powerful podcast series hosted by Pat Cassella, executive director of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), and Dean Hoke, managing partner Edu Alliance.

Meet the Hosts

About Pat: Pat Cassella has been a presence within the high-tech industry for more than 30 years with leadership roles in Sales, Marketing, Product Development, and Engineering. He has been involved with the USDLA for more than 15 years and is the Executive Director of the association. Pursuing his passion for engineering, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering from the University of Bridgeport and a Master’s of Science degree in Computer Science from the University of New Haven. He has spent the past 20+ years within the IP video communications market as a sales, marketing and product architect within the Government, Education, Corporate and Medical markets. Click here to learn more: USDLA.org.

About Dean: As the Managing Partner of Edu Alliance Group located in Bloomington, Indiana, and the United Arab Emirates, Dean has decades of progressively responsible and visionary leadership roles in higher education, communications and online learning. He began his career in 1975 with Bellarmine University working in various roles, including admissions and external relations. In 1983 he entered the broadcasting field, serving as a senior executive for Public Broadcasting System stations. In 1998, he co-founded The Connected Learning Network and, in 2009, moved to the United Arab Emirates, serving in senior positions at Higher Colleges of Technology and Khalifa University before co-founding Edu Alliance in 2014. Click here to connect with Dean on LinkedIn.

Upcoming Podcasts

Previous Episodes
Sunday, November 13th, 2022

Join us for the December episode of the Distance Learning Roundtable: Meet our guest — Dr. Jennie Sanders, Vice President of Faculty Experience and Academic Services at Western Governors University based in Salt Lake City, Utah

Interview date: Nov. 21, 2022, 2pm Eastern A Note from USDLA executive director Pat Cassella and Edu Alliance Group exec Dean Hoke — We invite you to tune in for this month’s episode of our podcast and video show, Higher Ed Without Borders, where for 30 minutes, we gain insights from industry experts. Meet our guest: Dr. Jennie Sanders, Vice President of Faculty Experience and Academic Services at Western Governors University based in Salt Lake City, Utah Today’s Topic: How Western GovernorsClick here to listen to the podcast!

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

Episode 1: Meet the hosts of the newest Inkandescent Radio Show — Distance Learning Roundtable, where experts gather to discuss the future of online education

October 2022: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, producer, Inkandescent Radio — Hello and welcome to the first episode of the Distance Learning Roundtable show on the Inkandescent Radio Network. As the show’s producer, I am thrilled to introduce you to the hosts of our newest program — Distance Learning Roundtable, the podcast and video show where experts gather to discuss the future of online education. Today you will meet the show’s hosts: Pat Cassella, the executive director of the United StatesClick here to listen to the podcast!

Saturday, October 1st, 2022

Episode 2: Today on the Distance Learning Roundtable meet Elliott Masie, the man who coined the phrase e-Learning

A Note from the Hosts: Pat Cassella, executive director of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), and Dean Hoke, managing partner of the international organization Edu Alliance. Hello and welcome to the November episode of our monthly podcast and video show starring Elliott Masie, the founder of MASIE Innovations. Based in Saratoga Springs, NY, Elliott focused on how organizations can support learning and knowledge within the workforce. He leads the Learning COLLABORATIVE, which members include Amazon, Zoom, Bank of America, Subway, TheClick here to listen to the podcast!