Keynote Speakers

The "Going Deeply Digital" conference will feature keynote speakers who will discuss the role of the digital curriculum, and digital technologies, in the future of higher education.

2019 Keynotes


Casey Green is the founding director of The Campus Computing Project, the largest continuing study of the role of eLearning and information technology in American colleges and universities. The project is widely cited by campus officials and corporate executives as a definitive source for data, information, and insight about IT planning and policy issues affecting higher education.

Green is author or editor of some 20 books and published research reports and more than 100 articles and commentaries that have appeared in academic journals and professional publication.  He also serves as the moderator and co-producer of To a Degree, the postsecondary success podcast of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  Additionally, he directs the Digital Fellows Program for the Association of Chief Academic Officers. Green’s Digital Tweed blog is published by Inside Higher Ed.

In 2002 Green received the first EDUCAUSE Award for Leadership in Public Policy and Practice. The EDUCAUSE award cites his work in creating The Campus Computing Project and recognizes his “prominence in the arena of national and international technology agendas, and the linking of higher education to those agendas.”      

A graduate of New College (FL), Green earned his Ph.D. in higher education and public policy at the University of California, Los Angeles.


Innovation, Infrastructure, and Digital Learning

What does innovation theory tell us about the role of infrastructure as a catalyst for digital learning?

Green’s presentation goes beyond the usual conversation about core technologies to identify the key elements of campus culture and infrastructure that foster instructional innovation, support digital learning, and enhance institutional impacts and student outcomes. (Spoiler alert: Green is a strong advocate for faculty.)

View Green’s presentation here


Laura de Abruna is the PI on the 2017-2018 “Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning” grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.  She is Past President and current board member of the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) and current board member of the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) CAO Task Force.  She is also Provost, Vice President for Academic Affairs, and Professor of English at York College of Pennsylvania.  Her major interests are in global initiatives, digital learning, service learning, institutional assessment, and the development of general education curricula.  She is particularly interested in the role of innovative high impact practices in increasing the quality of undergraduate learning.

Dr. Niesen de Abruna graduated from Smith College with a major in English and a minor in French, having spent a year at the University of Paris.  She received the M.A. and the Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a M. S. Ed. in Higher Education Management from the University of Pennsylvania.  She has published extensively on such topics as Mark Twain, T. S. Eliot, digital learning, Caribbean literature, the role of the public intellectual, and the role of the dean and provost in higher education.

Her background in higher education administration is extensive, having served as the Dean of the School of Arts, Communication and Education at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania and as the Vice President for Academic Affairs at Roger Williams University in Bristol, Rhode Island and Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Connecticut. She has received numerous awards, including two Fulbright Fellowships in Belgium and Luxembourg, as well as ACLS, NEH and ACE fellowships.  She served as an ACE Fellow as Special Assistant for Strategic Planning at SUNY-Oswego directly before leaving the faculty for various roles in administration.  As a faculty member, she served at Ithaca College, where she had spent 15 years as an Assistant, Associate and Full Professor of English Literature.


Provosts, Pedagogy and Digital Learning: The Role of the ACAO Digital Fellows Project

This session will offer a brief overview of the results of the digital fellows’ project presented by the PI on the grant, Dr. Niesen de Abruna. She will discuss the 5 top things we learned about the digital pedagogy project. The top five issues cited by nearly all of the fellows in their evaluations were the importance of faculty buy-in, faculty engagement, collaboration, cooperation, training, recognition, and rewards. Clearly, the dominant issues centered around faculty training, with the CAO being in the most influential position to connect the faculty to digital courseware. The second issue of most consequence was the importance of analytics, evaluation, and outcomes, followed issues of leadership, courseware, and scaling.

karen-vignare.jpgKaren Vignare, Ph.D., M.B.A., is a strategic innovator leveraging emerging technologies to improve access, success and flexibility within higher education. As Executive Director, for the Personalized Learning Consortium at the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities, Karen manages a network of universities committed to student success through personalization. She also oversees the adaptive courseware grant providing leadership and support to eight pioneering universities which are scaling adaptive courseware in introductory level courses.

Karen previously served as a Vice Provost, at University of Maryland University College, the largest online public open access institution where she led innovations in adaptive learning, student success and analytics. Previous to that work, she served as Director of Project Planning and Implementation for MSUGlobal at Michigan State University where she helped multiple units leverage emerging technologies in extension, non-credit programs, corporate settings, and research projects. She has published extensively on online learning, analytics, and open educational resources. She has a Ph.D. from Nova Southeastern University and an M.B.A. from University of Rochester, William Simon Business School.


Using Adaptive Courseware to Improving Student Success in the Classroom  

Eight universities have scaled adaptive courseware to reach 100,000 enrollments in introductory courses. These courses are taught in face to face, blended and online environments. Lessons learned will be shared from courses that have improved course passing rates. To scale success, will require moving from a single section approach to implementation that requires faculty collaboration at the course level, understanding how digital courseware data can be used to change pedagogy and institutional support.

Todd TaylorTodd Taylor is the Eliason Distinguished Professor of English and Comparative Literature at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he also directs the first-year writing program.  Since the early 1990s, his research and teaching have examined how literacy is evolving in response to rapidly changing digital, information, and networked technologies.  He has recently authored Adobe Creative Cloud across the Curriculum: A Guide for Students and Teachers and Becoming a College Writer: A Multimedia Text  (Bedford/St. Martin's), and co-edited Literacy Theory in the Age of the Internet (Columbia UP).



The Deepest Dive: Critical Digital Literacy across the Curriculum

This session foregrounds four diverse examples of student work from across the disciplines and in a variety of modes in order to define "critical digital literacy” as an essential learning outcome for academic and professional success. It shares the story of UNC’s digital literacy initiative, which leverages our first-year writing requirement as an interdisciplinary, threshold experience that’s designed to impact learning throughout each student’s undergraduate career.