Meet Our Staff
Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning
Ray is also Professor Emeritus of Communication with three dozen years of teaching experience on the Urbana and Springfield campuses. He has taught more than 30 online class offerings. As Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service, Ray is dedicated to faculty development and pedagogical support of the online initiative. He has published the popular Online Learning Update blog daily for the past half dozen years. Ray is a Sloan Consortium Distinguished Scholar in Online Learning 2002-2003, Visiting Scholar in Online Learning at the University of Southern Maine 2006-2008, and the recipient of the 2002 Sloan-C award for the “Most Outstanding Achievement in ALN by an Individual.” Most recently, Ray received the Sloan Consortium’s highest individual award the inaugural 2010 Frank Mayadas Leadership in Online Learning award. He is a charter Sloan Consortium Fellow.
Vickie S. Cook, Director of COLRS
Dr. Vickie Cook is the Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) at the University of Illinois Springfield. Vickie was the Associate Vice President of Innovation and Technology at Greenville College (June 2012 – September 2013)and as Dean of the School of Education/Director of Online Learning at Greenville College (May 2009-June 2012). Prior to joining Greenville College, Dr. Cook held the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Illinois Springfield. She taught research and Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) for the Educational Leadership program. Dr. Cook is actively engaged in a school improvement process with a private school in Mexico City and does consulting and faculty development with the school leaders annually. Her work has been published in a variety of regional and national educational publications. Her research agenda focuses on exploring the engagement of leaders in authentic and distributed leadership arenas.
In her early career in higher education, Vickie held a variety of positions at Kaskaskia Community College (1992 – 2005) including Dean of Continuing Education and University Alliance. Dr. Cook has served as a long time member of Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education serving on the Executive Board, as well as having been an active member and board member for Illinois Council on Continuing Education and Training. She received the Charles V. Evans Research Award in 2004 & 2007 and Illinois Exemplary Leadership Award (ICCET) in 2005.
Carrie Levin, Assistant Director
As Assistant Director of COLRS, Carrie is responsible for developing and supporting grant and contract funded online learning projects, online learning research by UIS faculty members and online learning service projects. Carrie earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her Master of Arts degree in Dance Movement Therapy from Columbia College. She spent several years as a professional actress in Chicago, as an ensemble member of the renowned theatrical troupe Blind Parrot Productions. After earning her masters degree, Carrie worked as a dance movement therapist at Hancock Center for Movement Arts and Therapies in Madison, Wisconsin and enjoyed five enlightening years as a stay-at-home mother of two brilliant and beautiful boys. Carrie joined OTEL as Chief Clerk in July 2005 and became Assistant Director in August 2007.
Emily Boles, Online Learning & Faculty Development Specialist
Emily joined COLRS in September 2006. She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Illinois College and is completing her Master of Arts degree in English at UIS. Before coming to COLRS, Emily led faculty development courses in online learning and instructional design at Illinois Central College, taught technology training workshops at the Center for Teaching and Learning at UIS, and worked as a technical writer and web developer at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Michele Gribbins, Online Learning & Faculty Development Specialist
Michele joined COLRS in 2012 after teaching for seven years as a faculty member for the Department of Management Information Systems at UIS, where she continues to teach online classes. Michele works with faculty members in designing and assessing effective online classes. Her research interests are centered on the fit and effectiveness of educational technologies in the classroom. She has published several journal articles and conference proceedings, and has presented at several national and international conferences. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from Illinois State University, a Master’s degree in Business Administration from Eastern Illinois University and attended the Business Administration Ph.D. program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. She was employed previously as a computer trainer and an adjunct business instructor at Lake Land College.
Bill Bloemer, Research Associate & Dean Emeritus of Arts & Sciences
Bill served for more than 16 years as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Springfield. During that time, the college implemented several successful online baccalaureate degrees and grant programs. He is now emeritus dean and emeritus professor of chemistry and clinical laboratory science and a research associate with the Center.
Recent presentations about online learning include the session ‘Teaching Chemistry Lab Courses Online’ sponsored by the Illinois Community Colleges Online (ILCCO). He discussed how these chemistry courses were developed, how they handled the labs, issues and challenges that weredealt with and lessons learned.
Ann Cole, Staff Clerk
As Staff Clerk of COLRS, Ann is responsible for monitoring the operating budget of the unit, making travel arrangements, and purchasing items for the unit. Ann has worked at the university since February 1992. She has worked at various departments during her years at the university. She worked for COLRS (formerly called OTEL) in 2000 and just couldn’t stay away, so she returned in April 2011. Ann’s hobbies include skydiving, motorcycle riding, and reading
Debi Barr-Holquist, Grants and Contracts Administrator
As Grants and Contracts Administrator, Debi works for COLRS part time and the Institute for Legal, Legislative and Policy Studies (ILLAPS) part time. This includes administering, monitoring, and reporting on current grants and contracts for both departments. Debi joined UIS in April 2013. Just prior to joining UIS, Debi worked at the Prairie Art Alliance as a Grant Coordinator and Business Operations Manager. Debi earned her Bachelor degree from Western Illinois University. She previously worked in compliance regulation as Compliance Manager at Midwest Insurance Company ; Consumer Services Director for the Illinois Commerce Commission; Assigned Risk Manager with National Council on Compensation Insurance.
Karen Swan, COLRS Research Associate & UIS James J. Stukel Distinguished Professor of Educational Leadership
Her research is in the area of media/technology and learning on which she has published and presented extensively. She has authored over 100 publications as well as several hypermedia programs, and co-edited two books on educational technology topics. Her current interests include ubiquitous computing, data literacy, and online learning. Dr. Swan has been involved with online teaching and learning for over a decade, both as an instructor and as a researcher. She helped develop one of the first fully online masters degrees while she was at the University of Albany, is active in the online learning community, and is well known for her research on learning effectiveness in online environments. In 2006, Dr. Swan received the Sloan-C award for Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual for her work in this area, and she was a part of the 2010 inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows.