Meet Our Staff
Ray Schroeder, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning
Ray is Professor Emeritus, Associate Vice Chancellor for Online Learning at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS) and Senior Fellow, Founding Director of the National Council for Online Education at the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA). Each year, Schroeder publishes articles / book chapters and presents nationally on emerging topics in online and technology-enhanced learning. He is the 2010 inaugural recipient of the A. Frank Mayadas Online Leadership Award, 2011 recipient of the University of Illinois Distinguished Service Award, the United States Distance Learning Association Hall of Fame Award 2016, and the American Journal of Distance Education/University of Wisconsin Wedemeyer Excellence in Distance Education Award 2016.
Vickie S. Cook, Executive Director of COLRS
Dr. Vickie Cook is the Executive Director of the Center for Online Learning, Research and Service (COLRS) and Research Professor in the College of Education at the University of Illinois Springfield.
Dr. Cook has been actively engaged providing consulting and faculty development with educational leaders across the U.S. and in Mexico. Her work has been published in a variety of national educational publications. She worked as part of a team that authored the UPCEA Hallmarks of Excellence.
Her current research agenda focuses on two areas. First, exploring mobile learning through a heutagogical lens and also the impact of a systems approach for online leadership. She teaches online in the Teaching English as a Second Language concentration of the Masters of Arts in Education program at University of Illinois Springfield.
Dr. Cook has served on several regional and national committees, as well as having been a long time member of Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education (ICCHE) serving in multiple roles on the Executive Board; serves as a board member of the University Professionals & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA); serves as a mentor for the Association for Continuing and Higher Education (ACHE); is a member of the Online Learning Consortium (OLC) and serves on the Online Learning Journal Review Board; and was named a 2017 University of Illinois President’s Executive Leadership Fellow and a 2017 Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Fellow.
Carrie Levin, Assistant Director
Carrie joined COLRS in July 2005. She earned her B.F.A. degree in Theatre at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and her Masters in Dance-Movement Therapy/Counseling at Columbia College Chicago. She spent several years as a professional actress in Chicago and as a movement therapist/counselor in Madison, Wisconsin working with institutionalized older adults, developmentally disabled adults, teens and children. At COLRS, Carrie works with online faculty development, MOOC development and support for COLRS research activities. She has authored and co-authored proceedings papers and book chapters on a variety of topics related to online learning and has presented at numerous national and regional conferences. In addition to her work with COLRS, Carrie is an adjunct instructor at UIS in the Computer Science department. Carrie holds the Professional Certificate in Online Education from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Vance Martin, Campus Accessibility Specialist
Vance joined COLRS in 2017. For over fifteen years he has taught undergraduate and graduate courses in history, humanities, education and technology. He has taught using in-person, online, and hybrid formats. He has over ten years of experience in curriculum and instructional design.
Vance’s research looks at technology use in education, social justice, and the intersection of the two. His dissertation project used wikis in community college history classes, which he found encouraged students to question standard historical narratives and created an environment in which minority students felt represented and engaged. As a post-doc at the University of Illinois, he worked on the redesign of teacher education programs in the College of Education, and helped to develop a leadership training program in partnership with Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. He also worked on a collaborative international project to deliver educational content to secondary students in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa, via cell phones.
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. She completed the highly selective Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Learning from Penn State/Online Learning Consortium in 2011 and holds the Master Online Teacher certification from the Illinois Online Network. 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, Associate Director
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. She provides direct consultation, development training, and support to faculty to enhance their instruction in online and blended courses. She coordinates and supports the COLRS Faculty Research Fellows Program and the Open Education Resources Fellows Program. Additionally, she designs, develops, and analyzes data reports related to online enrollments, admissions, and applications to guide COLRS when consulting and advising across campus.
Michele advances research through presentation and publication on a variety of online learning topics including pedagogy, best practices, emerging technologies, and academic integrity. Her research has been published in the Online Learning Journal, the Journal of Information Technology, the Communications of the Association for Information Systems, Electronic Markets, and the International Journal of Management Theory and Practices. She also has co-authored two book chapters and has delivered more than sixty presentations at international, national, and regional conferences. She serves as the Vice Chair for the Online Administration Network of the University Professional & Continuing Education Association (UPCEA), and serves on the Conference Planning Committee for the UPCEA Central Region. She is also the Treasurer of the Illinois Council on Continuing Higher Education. She is a Certified Online Learning Administrator and has been on the project team for two Massive-Open Online Courses (MOOCs) offered by UIS.
Tammy Craig, Career and Online Learning Specialist
Tammy joined COLRS in May 2016 after serving as the Director of the UIS Career Development Center for 12 years leading the effort as the first department in Student Affairs to adapt all services, programs and resources to online delivery in 2006. Tammy provides expert consultation and direction to online students seeking career services through professional interaction with faculty members teaching upper division and graduate courses, conducts research and publishes career services areas for online students, and facilitates online university service to the broader community.
She earned her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and M.A. in Human Development Counseling from UIS. She is credentialed as an Illinois Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor (LCPC), National Certified Counselor (NCC) and Distance Credentialed Counselor (DCC). As an adjunct lecturer, she has taught for undergraduate and graduate academic programs since 2004. Her diverse background includes over 16 years devoted to higher education, 17 years of mental health and career counseling, and an additional seven years of experience in advertising and management. She has presented at a number of state and national conferences, served as the member of the Illinois Career Development Task Force and received the honor of employee of the year in 2008.
John Freml, Information Technology Technical Associate
John has held several different positions at UIS since late 2012, and joined the COLRS team in 2014, where he assists faculty in developing and delivering their courses online. In addition to his position at COLRS, John is an adjunct professor in the Arts and Humanities department at Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, where he has taught courses in both German and Women’s and Gender Studies. As an undergraduate, he spent one year studying and researching in Tübingen, Germany with full funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). He later received his M.A. in Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Cincinnati, where he also happened to teach online for the first time.
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.
Ann Cole, Administrative 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