Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council

The Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council (QMAAC) was created in 2004 during the grant phase of Quality Matters and has since evolved in purpose and composition. The Council provides guidance to and oversight of the programmatic directions and initiatives of Quality Matters. In 2014, the QMAAC became a standing committee of the QM Board of Directors. The QMAAC's 15 members include representatives of QM subscriber schools, QM senior staff and online and blended learning leaders who provide a national perspective.

QMAAC members are to represent an institution or organization’s interests and viewpoint to QM; provide guidance on QM to ensure QM’s long-term sustainability and success; help to review new initiatives and act in an advisory role for new projects; and disseminate QM-related information, materials, and opportunities to others.

QMAAC Members

  • Deb Adair, Ph.D., ex officio

    Dr. Deb Adair is the Executive Director of Quality Matters (QM), a widely adopted, global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. QM serves over 1,500 colleges, universities, K-12 schools and other organizations with education-related activities. For more than a decade, she has cultivated the growth of Quality Matters (QM) from a grant-supported initiative to a non-profit organization engaging thousands of educators in peer review processes to improve and certifying the quality of online and blended courses. Through this process, QM has certified 10,000 online and blended courses and trained more than 80,000 educators, each working to improve student learning. Under Dr. Adair’s leadership, Quality Matters has helped focus the education community on the practical application of quality standards to online and blended courses and programs and has worked to improve student outcomes through a focus on continuous quality improvement. Dr. Adair has more than 25 years’ experience in higher education, in faculty and administration, as well as non-profit leadership in adult literacy and management consulting. Previously, she served in the U.S. Army as a Soviet Analyst and Cryptologic Linguist.

    Dr. Adair received an A.A. degree from Broward Community College, a B.S. degree from Boston University, and a M.S. and Ph.D. from University of Arizona. She is a graduate of the first class of the Institute for Emerging Leadership in Online Education and an alumna of the HERS Leadership Institute. Her acknowledgements include citations from state and local governments for her work on literacy and women’s issues, the Broward College Alumni Merit Award, and the Nofflet Williams Award for service to the distance learning community.

    Dr. Adair currently serves on the Board of Directors for the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE) and does or has served on advisory bodies for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the National University Technology Network, the Presidents' Forum, and Credential Engine.  She has authored and interviewed broadly as an expert in quality assurance for online learning.

  • Missale Ayele, J.D., MPH

    Missale Ayele, J.D., MPH is the Project Coordinator for the Online Chronic Disease Program in the School of Public Health at Georgia State University.  In this capacity, she created a competency‐based graduate certificate curriculum supported by a workforce training needs survey and research.   She managed the design, development, and delivery of quality online courses. Missale is also the Institutional Representative for Quality Matters at Georgia State University. She is interested in promoting health, workforce development, and capacity building through evidence‐based education and leveraged technology.

  • Barbara Altman
    Barb Altman

    Dr. Barb Altman has over 20 years of experience teaching and researching in the areas of corporate social responsibility, change management, sustainability and leadership.  Her particular interest is in cross-sector partnerships and the leadership skills needed to be successful in such challenging initiatives.  

    Barb is skilled in applied qualitative research and enjoys writing case studies that can also be used in class settings.   She is an expert in online teaching, and a named Research Colleague with Quality Matters, a benchmarking platform for online learning.   At Texas A&M University – Central Texas, where she is an Associate Professor of Management and has taught for 9 years, she also leads the accreditation and quality assurance activities of the College of Business Administration as Associate Dean.   She also serves as Faculty Coordinator for the MBA Program.

    Prior to her position at A&M – Central Texas, she was on the faculty of the College of Business at the University of North Texas.  Her Doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Management Policy is from the Boston University School of Management, with a Master’s in Public Affairs and Bachelors in Psychology from the University of Texas at Austin.   In between her Master’s and Doctoral work, she had a very successful career in local and regional city management.  She has earned Beta Gamma Sigma and Phi Beta Kappa distinctions in her academic work.  

  • MJ Bishop
    MJ Bishop

    Dr. MJ Bishop is Associate Vice Chancellor and Director of the University System of Maryland’s Kirwan Center for Academic Innovation, established in 2013 to leverage the power of multi-institutional collaboration to increase access, affordability, and achievement for Maryland students. Informed by the diversity of our higher education institutions, findings from the learning sciences, and capabilities of emerging technologies, the Center leads statewide efforts to implement, evaluate, and scale and sustain innovations aimed at student success. 

    Previously, Bishop was a professor at Lehigh University where she taught graduate students and explored the role technology can and should play in teaching and learning.  While at Lehigh, Dr. Bishop received several awards for her research and teaching including the 2013 Stabler Award for Excellence in Teaching for leading students to “excellence in their chosen field” as well as “excellence as human beings and as leaders of society.”

  • Brenda Boyd, ex officio

    Brenda Boyd joined QM in May, 2011 and currently serves as Senior Academic Director, Program Services. She leads the professional development team and is responsible for all QM professional development offerings. Brenda and her team launched QM's Teaching Online Certificate, a pathway for faculty to demonstrate their knowledge of online teaching through the use of digital credentials tied to evidence in 2016. She oversees the quality assurance department as well and is responsible for the updating of QM Higher Education Rubrics.

    Brenda has served QM in several capacities since 2004. During the grant-funded period, Brenda served on the QM Advisory Board. Brenda helped found the Ohio Quality Matters Consortium in 2007 and was active as a state-wide system facilitator to bring QM to institutions throughout the State of Ohio.
    Brenda served on the Rubric Review Committee for the 2011-2013 Edition of the QM Rubric, was co-chair of the Fifth Edition, 2014, Rubric Committee, and is currently co-chair of the QM Higher Education Rubric Committee, Sixth Edition.

    Her background includes experience in both Community College and University settings. Brenda has worked with faculty in helping them design online courses from developmental to graduate level programs for over eighteen years. She has led faculty learning communities on topics ranging from using technology in the classroom to using virtual worlds for teaching and learning. She has also worked for a corporate consulting company with a private University where she created a plan to bring the University up to speed with technology tools to support online teaching and learning to all five campuses in four states.

    She holds a M.S. in Education with a specialization in Instructional Design for Online Learning from Capella University and a B.F.A. from University of Dayton.

  • Racheal Brooks
    Racheal Brooks

    Dr. Racheal Brooks is the Coordinator of the Office of e-Learning and a Spanish and graduate-level research methods instructor at North Carolina Central University. She also serves as Co-Chair for the University of North Carolina System Quality Matters Council. Dr. Brooks is a member of the NCCU Distance Education Advisory Council, NCCU QM Coordinator, QM Master Reviewer, QM Program Reviewer, Course Review Manager, Face-to-Face and Online Facilitator of the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop, Face-to-Face Facilitator of the Improving Your Online Course workshop, iQM Association member (Spanish), and member of the QM Instructional Designers Association. She also established a series of learning communities on NCCU's campus that assist faculty in certifying their courses with the QM program. 

    Dr. Brooks's research interests include online instruction, online curriculum development, digital accessibility, instructional technology, qualitative research methods in education, Spanish language acquisition at HBCUs, second language learner beliefs, minorities in Spanish language studies, and gamification in e-learning and faculty training. Recently, she developed a gamified, micro-course entitled, You be the Reviewer: Quality Matters at NCCU, that reinforces participants' understanding of the content presented during the APPQMR as they assume the role of QM liaison to their "colleagues" in preparation for the QM Course Review process. 

    Dr. Brooks earned a BA in Spanish from North Carolina Central University, an MA in Spanish Literature from Georgia State University, and a PhD in Educational Research and Policy Analysis with a specialization in Higher Education Administration from North Carolina State University.

  • Lisa Clark
    Lisa Clark

    Lisa Clark, Ph.D., has served in various roles for Quality Matters, to include Master Reviewer, Program Reviewer, and Facilitator since 2010. She has worked in higher education for over 20 years with experience at community colleges and universities (both traditional & online) and has held a number of roles from faculty, CTL Director, Dean of Online Programs, and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs.   Dr. Clark’s current work includes part -time online teaching for American Public, Strayer, and Aspen Universities, consulting, and serving as a peer reviewer/team chair for the Higher Learning Commission (HLC).

    Dr. Clark has a Ph.D. in Leadership in Higher Education from Capella University, graduate credentials from Appalachian State University and the Union Institute & University in English, Women’s Studies, Media Literacy, and Online Course Design, and an undergraduate degree in English from the Ohio State University.

  • Yakut Gazi, Ph.D.

    Yakut Gazi, Ph.D., is the Associate Dean for Learning Systems at Georgia Tech Professional Education, overseeing learning design and development, technology infrastructure, compliance, and assessment. She has worked at higher education institutions in the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and Spain as an instructional designer, media specialist, IT consultant, faculty member, and technology leader since 1993. Prior to joining Georgia Tech Professional Education, she was the assistant vice chancellor for engineering remote education at Texas A&M University.  Dr. Gazi also led the distributed learning and classroom technology operations at Texas A&M University-Central Texas. Under her leadership, the institution’s online semester credit hours grew to 40% and the institution was awarded the 2013 Quality Matters Making a Difference for Students Award for online educational quality.

    In addition to these roles, she has taught courses in educational technology, foundations of distance learning, psychology of learning, theories of learning, and predictive analytics in higher education.

    She is on the editorial review board of the Journal of Social Media in Society, Educational Technology, Research, and Development (ETR&D), and the MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching. She presented at regional, national, and international conferences and is the author or co-author of book chapters, journal articles, and proceedings. She is the co-author of a book titled, “Discourse Indicators of Culture in Online Courses: Designing Learning Environments for Global Success.”

    Dr. Gazi has her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Texas A&M University, and an M.A. in Educational Sciences and a B.S. in Teaching Chemistry, both from Bogazici University in Turkey.

  • Stephen Kaufman, QM IDA Chair, ex officio
    Stephen Kaufman

    Steve is a Senior Instructional Designer at the University of Akron. Prior to joining UA, Steve served as the Associate Director of Online Learning at Ashland University. Currently, he serves as one of the Ohio QM Consortium’s State Leads and is the chair of their executive committee.

  • Elizabeth McMahon

    Elizabeth McMahon is an experienced educator and instructional designer for face-to-face, online, and blended courses with faculty emeritus status at Northland Community and Technical College. Prior to retirement from the Minnesota State system in 2019, she spent several years as the System Lead Coordinator for Quality Matters (QM) in Minnesota and as the Coordinator of the Minnesota Online Quality Initiative.

    As a named Research Colleague with Quality Matters, 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. She also provides support for institutions in their QM implementation as a named Quality Matters Implementation Expert Consultant.

  • Shannon Riggs
    Shannon Riggs

    Shannon Riggs serves as Executive Director of course development and learning innovation for Oregon State University Ecampus. In this role, she supports Oregon State’s land grant mission by providing leadership and direction for online course development and learning innovation throughout the division. She directly oversees several units, including the Ecampus Course Development and Training Team, the Ecampus Research Unit, the Open Educational Resources Unit, and the Ecampus Program Management Team. Shannon earned her M.A. in English from Old Dominion University and has been involved with QM for 10+ years in a variety of capacities.

  • Bethany Simunich, Ph.D., ex officio

    Bethany Simunich has worked in higher education for over twenty 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, eLearning administrator, and trainer and consultant for online pedagogy, design, research, 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.

  • Julie Uranis

    Julie Uranis serves as the Vice President for Online and Strategic Initiatives at UPCEA and the Managing Director of the National Council for Online Education. Prior to joining UPCEA she led two units at Western Kentucky University (WKU) as the Director of Distance Learning and Continuing & Professional Development. Uranis began her career at Eastern Michigan University (EMU) where she held both teaching and administrative positions. She earned her B.A in History from the University of Michigan-Dearborn, a M.S. in Technology Studies, a Graduate Certificate in Community College Leadership, and her Ph.D. in Educational Leadership, all from EMU.

  • Darlene Williams, Ph.D.

    Darlene Williams, Ph.D., is the Vice President for Technology, Innovation, and Economic Development at Northwestern State University. In this capacity, she oversees the Offices of Electronic and Continuing Education, Office of Sponsored Programs, the Small Business Development Center, campus sites located at Barksdale Air Force Base and the Tunica‐Biloxi Cultural and Educational Resources Center, and two satellite campuses located in Alexandria and Leesville‐Ft. Polk. Williams administers eNSU (Northwestern State’s Electronic Campus), an extensive online professional development program for faculty, and one of the largest video conferencing networks in the state. She also serves as the Chair of the Louisiana Board of Regents eLearning Task Force. Williams earned her Ph.D. from the University of Nebraska‐Lincoln.