QM Research Colleagues

Quality Matters Research Colleagues support QM by conducting, presenting, writing, and publishing research on online learning, including QM-focused topics such as design and implementation. They also contribute to the body of research that supports the QM Rubric and framework, propose QM-focused research projects and professional development, and provide consultation for research-focused inquiries. 

Current QM Research Colleagues

  • Barbara W. Altman, Ph.D., Texas A&M University - Central Texas (since 2016)

    Barbara (Barb) Altman is Associate Dean and Associate Professor of Management for the College of Business Administration at the Texas A&M University-Central Texas in Killeen, Texas. Dr. Altman is interested in research on corporate social responsibility, sustainability, organizational change, public/private partnerships, and improving online and blended course design and delivery. She has over 18 years of teaching experience in online and blended formats. She serves on the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Committee.

  • Deborah Anne Banker, Ed.D., Tarleton State University (since 2014)

    Deborah Anne Banker is an Associate Professor in Curriculum and Instruction and in Psychology at Tarleton State University. She has engaged in independent research to improve her online courses and is fascinated by discoveries in the research literature regarding student learning, achievement, satisfaction, and retention in online courses. She is published on teacher preparation and training.

  • Ericka Hollis, Ph.D., Regis College (Research Review Manager, since 2014)

    Dr. Hollis is the Associate Dean of Online Assessment & Faculty Development at Regis College. Her research interests include higher education technology leadership, the consideration and adoption of online education in higher education implementation of online degree programs, and faculty professional development in online instruction.

  • Elizabeth McMahon, Ed.D., Minnesota Online Quality Initiative (since 2016)

    Elizabeth McMahon is an experienced educator and instructional designer for face-to-face, online, and blended courses and has faculty emeritus status at Northland Community and Technical College. She spent several years as the System Lead Coordinator for QM in Minnesota and as the Coordinator of the Minnesota Online Quality Initiative. She enjoys presenting workshops and webinars related to course improvement through the strategic integration of technology, instructional design, and innovative pedagogy into the design and delivery of courses. Her research interests include online teaching self-efficacy and the impacts of faculty professional development and peer review processes on overall course improvement and student success. In addition to her role as a Research Colleague, she regularly facilitates Quality Matters workshops and courses and provides support for institutions in their QM implementation as a Quality Matters Implementation Expert Consultant.

  • Stella C. S. Porto, Ph.D., Inter-American Development Bank (since 2016)

    Stella C. S. Porto is a Learning & Knowledge Management Specialist at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). She leads a team managing online training and online courses in the areas of development focused on Latin America and the Caribbean as well as IDB staff. Previously, she was the director of the Masters of Distance Education and E-Learning at University of Maryland Global Campus (previously UMUC). She holds a doctorate in Computer Science and master’s degrees in computer science and distance education. Stella's research interests involve educational technology, online course design, and e-learning projects for both adult education and professional training, with a focus in technology and management.

  • Penny Ralston-Berg, M.S., Pennsylvania State University (since 2020)
    Penny Ralston-Berg

    Penny Ralston-Berg is a Senior Instructional Designer for the Penn State World Campus. Her research interests include student perspectives of quality and how this impacts design practice; growth of instructional designers from novice to expert; and the use of games and simulations in online instruction. She serves on the Annual Conference on Distance Teaching & Learning (Madison, WI) planning committee and is currently the chair of the Quality Matters Instructional Designers Association. She is also the Quality Matters Coordinator for Penn State.

  • Andria F. Schwegler, Ph.D., Texas A&M University – Central Texas (since 2020)
    Andria F. Schwegler

    Andria Schwegler is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Counseling and Psychology Department at Texas A&M University – Central Texas and serves as the Program Coordinator for the Master of Science in Educational Psychology. She has 30 years of experience teaching students from pre-kindergarten to graduate school with over 10 years of experience teaching blended and online courses in higher education. Her research interests include norms related to teaching, participation in course enhancement, quality of feedback in course reviews, academic rigor, the application of human learning research to teaching, and online information literacy.

  • Kay Shattuck, D.Ed., QM Founding Director and Senior Advisor for Research

    Kay Shattuck has worked with adult education for more than 35 years, focusing on online and distance education since 1999. Kay was a member of the initial group of Maryland distance educators who developed what would become Quality Matters and served as QM’s Director of Research through 2019.  She continues now as Founding Director and Senior Advisor for Research by supporting the research team led by Dr. Bethany Simunich, QM’s Director of Research and Innovation. In addition to her work with QM, she is an associate editor of The American Journal of Distance Education.

  • Bethany Simunich, Ph.D., QM Director of Research and Innovation
    Bethany Simunich

    Bethany Simunich has worked in higher education for over 20 years, with a focus on online learning for the majority of that time. She has experience as a face-to-face and online instructor; instructional designer, faculty developer; distance learning administrator; and trainer and consultant for online pedagogy, design, and implementation. As QM's Director of Research and Innovation, she helps provide research-based tools, ideas, and solutions to enable individuals and institutions to assess and achieve their quality assurance goals.  Her research interests include presence in the online classroom, online student and instructor self-efficacy and satisfaction, and outcomes achievement in online courses. 

  • Maryam Rod Szabo, Ed.D., Iowa Department of Education (since 2020)
    Maryam Rod Szabo

    Maryam works for the Iowa Department of Education and is an Education Program Consultant. Previously, she was an Assistant Professor of Education and Instructional Designer. She has taught K-12 English as a foreign language, higher education online and face-to-face classes of educational technology and design, online learning and design, ESL endorsements, Human Relations, and other core education classes. Her dissertation and research are focused on faculty development and online technology and pedagogy. In her previous roles, she has provided faculty development workshops and has served as Quality Matters online facilitator, Master Reviewer, Peer Reviewer, and coordinator.

  • Whitney Zimmerman, Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University (since 2020)
    Whitney Zimmerman

    Whitney Zimmerman is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the Department of Statistics at Penn State University, where she primarily works with online sections of a large introductory statistics course. Her doctorate is in educational psychology, and she is interested in the application of cognitive and social cognitive learning theories in online and statistics education.