Meet the Staff
Our staff is dedicated to helping students succeed in online courses and enabling distance faculty to focus on teaching rather than technology. In addition to responsive helplines and personal assistance, our staff constantly seeks ways to improve our online programs and to develop innovative ways to promote quality in online teaching and research. The extended efforts of our staff, through the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration and an annual international conference devoted to distance learning administration, have brought widespread recognition to UWG's distance programs. The UWG DDEC staff work closely with the UWG's Extended Degree Unit in charge of the University System of Georgia eCore Administrative Services. Both groups fall under the leadership of Dr. Melanie Clay.
Melanie N. Clay Ph.D., Executive Director of Extended Learning and Dean of USG eCore
Melanie is responsible for leading the support staff, marketing and evaluating the distance learning program, and developing training for faculty and students involved in distance courses. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, and the administrator of the Distance Learning Certificate Program. She holds a Ph.D. in Educational Studies from the University of Nebraska - Lincoln, a Specialist in Educational Leadership, a Master's in Public Administration from the State University of West Georgia, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from the Ohio State University. She lives in Carrollton with her husband Matthew and their two sons.
Email Melanie: Melaniec@westga.edu
Jason B. Huett Ph.D., Associate Dean of Online Development and USG eCore
Dr. Jason B. Huett is the Associate Dean of Online Development and USG eCore and a tenured Associate Professor of Instructional Technology and Design at UWG. He is also the President of the Distance Learning Division of the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT). Additionally, he is an award-winning distance educator who speaks and presents internationally on a topics concerning online learning, school reform, and the future of education. Jason has also served as a consultant and committee member for several virtual schools, universities, state governments, and corporations. He has published numerous journal articles and has several book chapters and two books to his credit. Jason is a contributing editor for several journals and blogs for Georgia Public Broadcasting and the Southern Education Desk. Jason is also self-professed Star Trek junkie and tech geek who once ran with the bulls in Pamplona, Spain and got gored. He is lucky to be married to Kim and to be father to Jack, Willow, and Caleb and, in his spare time, Jason likes to write brief bios about himself in the third person.
Email Jason: email@example.com
Janet P. Gubbins, Director of Distance and Distributed Education
A former student facilitator, Janet joined the full-time staff in January 1998. She serves as the GeorgiaVIEW Vista (WebCT) Administrator for University of West Georgia. Her responsibilities include assisting faculty with course development, overseeing services for distance students, and distance learning data management. She holds a Master's in Public Administration from the State University of West Georgia. She and her husband Craig have a son and a daughter.
Email Janet: firstname.lastname@example.org
Beth René Roepnack, Ph.D., Associate Director of Online Faculty Development
(Beth René's Vitae)
Beth René is the new Associate Director of Online Faculty Development. She has been working in online education for over 15 years and has been involved in faculty development for more than a decade. She holds a Ph.D. in Education Leadership from Colorado State University. In her 18 years at DeVry University, Beth René served as professor and faculty chair in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences teaching psychology, critical thinking, and the college's capstone course (fully online, blended, and face-to-face) and helped develop a first-year program, online offerings in her college, and assisted with online faculty development across several colleges. Currently, Beth René works with faculty to assist with online course design (and development), helping faculty to make the transition from face-to-face to online teaching. She and her husband live in Carrollton.
Email Beth René: email@example.com
David Lloyd, Faculty Development Coordinator & Emerging Technologies Specialist
David joined the University of West Georgia in May of 2011. His duties include faculty training, program planning, course development and assessment. His educational background is in Information Technology as well as Instructional Design. David worked at Utah Valley University for four years before chasing the sun to Georgia. After his move to the South, he spent 6 years working with the Board of Regents as a faculty trainer for the state's Online Course Management system. He also worked full time for Georgia Southern University before finally finding his real home here in Carrollton.
Email David: firstname.lastname@example.org
Michael D. Post, UWG|Online Help Desk Manager & Distributed Education Marketing
The Distance & Distributed Education’s Staff welcomed Michael in July of 2011. He is currently working on his Associate’s in History as an online student. He serves as the UWG|Online Help Desk Manager for Faculty and Student Services, providing faculty and student support for CourseDen and related technologies. Michael also assists the Distance & Distributed Education Department in its marketing efforts utilizing his twenty plus years in commercial print production & design.
Email Michael: email@example.com
Wendy Grisham, Instructional Designer
Wendy joined the University of West Georgia in October of 2013. Her responsibilities include consulting and assisting faculty with developing teaching strategies, activities, and materials in order to optimize online learning and assessment. Wendy worked at Georgia Northwestern Technical College for eight years as an English and Reading Instructor, teaching Web-enhanced, hybrid, and online courses, and for two years as Assistant Dean of General and Learning Support Education. Wendy currently holds a Bachelor and Master of Arts degree in English from UWG.
Email Wendy: firstname.lastname@example.org
Jessica A. Loiacono, Online Learning Innovation Coordinator
Jessica joined the University of West Georgia in August of 2013. Her responsibilities include mentoring faculty and staff, promoting best practices in online and hybrid teaching, facilitating the development of cutting-edge delivery models that promote accessibility, scalability, and student success. Jessica currently holds a Master of Education degree in School Psychology from Georgia Southern University and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from Georgia Southern University.
Email Jessica: email@example.com
Nakita Hogans, Online Student Success Advisor
Nakita joined the University of West Georgia in October 2013. She serves in the Distance and Distributed Education department as the Online Student Success Advisor. In this role, Nakita supports the UWG|Online community as the UWG eCore Advisor, is a part of the eCore Student Success Team and supports UWG|Online student success through retention activities that include both preemptive and reactionary success strategies. Nakita holds a Master of Science in Adult Education from Troy University and a Bachelor of Science in Business and Marketing Education from James Madison University.
Email Nakita: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris Spruck, Web Applications Developer
Chris joined the University of West Georgia in April 2006 and the Distance and Distributed Education staff in January 2012. His responsibilities include web application development and database-related tasks for multiple web sites within Distance Education and related units, as well as collaboration with ITS, Graduate Studies, and others. Chris holds a Bachelor of Science in Zoology/Marine Biology from the University of Georgia and is currently working through data science courses via Coursera.
Email Chris: email@example.com
Wesley Steverson, Academic Instructional Support Specialist
Wesley joined the University of West Georgia in February 2011. He serves as the UWG|Onine Academic Instructional Support Specialist, providing faculty and student support for CourseDen and related technologies. Wesley holds a Bachelor of Arts in History and is currently attending the online master program, Master of Education with a Major in Media (Instructional Technology), here at UWG. He has worked for 6 years in web development and 2 years teaching English in the Republic of Korea.
Email Wesley: firstname.lastname@example.org