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, curriculum, enrollment and marketing staff and evaluating the USG eCore program, In addition to her role as Dean of eCore, she is also the executive director for UWG's Continuing Education, Off-Campus Programs (Newnan), and UWG Online. 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 University of West Georgia, and a Bachelor's in Journalism from The Ohio State University. She is the founder and editor-in-chief of the Online Journal of Distance Learning Administration, and the founder of the annual Distance Learning Administration Conference and the Conference on Meaningful Living in a Digital World. She lives in Carrollton with her husband Matthew and their two sons and two cats. She enjoys camping, reading, cooking, and looking for sand dollars on the beach.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Janet P. Gubbins, Director of Distance and Distributed Education
Janet Gubbins is the Senior Director of the Distance and Distributed Education Center (UWG Online), working in the department at various levels since January 1998 and as a student assistant two years prior. She serves as the Secondary GaView Learning Management System Admin for UWG and the Primary Collaborative (GoView-EU) Admin for European Union, for the state-wide LMS powered by BrightSpace by Desire2Learn (AKA CourseDen). Her responsibilities include general oversight of the support of distance programs and related initiatives, strategic planning, technology selection, budgeting, help desk support, and distance learning data management. She holds a Master's in Public Administration and a Bachelor's in Political Science, from the University of West Georgia. She has taught both for-credit higher education courses and continuing education courses online since 1998. She and her husband Craig have a son and a daughter.
Email Janet: email@example.com
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Michael D. Post, UWG|Online Help Desk Manager & Distributed Education Marketing
The Distance & Distributed Education’s Staff welcomed Michael in July of 2011. He currently serves as the UWG|Online Help Desk Manager for Faculty and Student Services, providing faculty and student support for CourseDen and related technologies. He also assists the Distance & Distributed Education Department in its marketing efforts utilizing his twenty plus years in commercial print production & design. Michael holds an Associate of Arts degree in History from Darton State College and is currently working on a Bachelor of Science degree in Office Administration and Technology from Valdosta State University.
Email Michael: firstname.lastname@example.org
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: email@example.com
Jessica A. Loiacono, Instructional Designer
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: firstname.lastname@example.org
Nakita Hogans, Academic Instructional Support Specialist
Nakita Hogans joined the University of West Georgia, as an Online Student Success Advisor, in October 2013. Nakita currently serves as an Academic Instructional Support Specialist for UWG|Online, providing faculty and student support for instructional and related technologies. Nakita also supports the UWG|Online community as UWG’s eCore Liaison and is a part of the eCore Student Success Team. Nakita is pursuing an Ed.S. in Instructional Technology here at UWG, holds a Masters degree in Adult Education from Troy University and a Bachelor's degree in Business & Marketing Education from James Madison University. Nakita enjoys cooking and is a fan of both collegiate and professional sports.
Email Nakita: email@example.com
Meggie Miller, Online Student Success Advisor
Meggie joined the University of West Georgia in 2012 and the Distance and Distributed Education staff in August 2015. Meggie serves as an Online Student Success Advisor, providing assistance to current and prospective online students via telephone, email, face-to-face, and at orientations. Meggie collaborates with campus partners to ensure that students enrolled in online programs receive the highest level of student services. Meggie also supports the UWG|Online community as one of UWG's eCore Liaisons and is part of the eCore Student Success Team. Meggie holds a Bachelor's degree in Anthropology and is currently pursuing a Master's in Public Administration at UWG. Meggie lives on a small hobby farm near Carrollton with her husband and their two Boston Terriers, Herschel and Lucie Belle. Meggie enjoys kayaking, gardening, cooking and watching college football.
Email Meggie: 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 the GIS Certificate program at UWG and data science courses via Coursera.
Email Chris: email@example.com