Rob Abel, Ed.D., Chief Executive Officer of IMS
Mark Armstrong, Vice-President, Higher Education Product Development, Oracle
Jeremy Auger, Chief Strategy Officer, Desire2Learn Incorporated
Timothy Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage
Malcolm Brown, Director, EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), EDUCAUSE
Michael Chai, Chief Digital Officer, Pearson North America
William Graves, Ph.D., Chairman of the Board, Senior Vice President, Academic Strategy, Ellucian
Steve Flynt, Ph.D., Chief Strategy and Performance Officer, Gwinnett County Public Schools
John T. Harwood, Ph.D., Associate Vice Provost for Information Technology, Penn State
Rick Johnson, Vice President of Product Development and Sales Engineering, Vital Source
Michael King,Vice President, Global Education Industry, IBM
Gary Lang, Senior Vice President, Product Development, Support and Cloud Services, Blackboard
Stephen Laster, Chief Digital Officer, McGraw-Hill Education
Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, and Chair of JISC-CETIS
Linda Thomas, Vice President, Strategy and Research, SMART Technologies
Rob Abel, Ed.D.
Dr. Rob Abel is the Chief Executive Officer of the IMS Global Learning Consortium, a nonprofit collaboration of the world's leading universities, school districts, government organizations, content providers, and technology suppliers, cooperating to accelerate learning technology interoperability, adoption, and impact. Rob has been the CEO of IMS since February of 2006.
Rob is a recognized expert on the use of information and communication technology (ICT) for learning with over 30 years high tech and education market development experience. Under Rob’s leadership IMS has introduced the Learning Impact program, which is setting new benchmarks for high impact applications of technology in support of learning worldwide. During Rob’s tenure IMS has experienced dramatic growth in terms of members, revenues, and achieved significant adoption of IMS work by leading regional education communities worldwide. Under Rob’s leadership IMS is providing a foundation of technical interoperability and industry collaboration that is improving access, affordability, and quality of educational experiences worldwide.
Prior to IMS Rob was Senior Vice President at Collegis (now SunGard Higher Education), the leading provider of ICT services to U.S. higher education, he was responsible for online and academic services provided to over 60 U.S. institutions. As Senior Director at Oracle Education he was a leader and innovator in the development of online learning architectures and related standards. Rob holds a Doctorate in Educational Leadership and Change from Fielding Graduate University, a Masters degree in Management from Stanford, a Masters degree in Computer Engineering from the University of Southern California, and a Baccalaureate degree in Computational Physics from Carnegie Mellon University.
Mark Armstrong is Vice-President for Oracle Higher Ed Product Development, the division that develops and supports solutions that are specific to the Higher Education vertical market. Those products include Student Administration for higher education (Campus Solutions), Alumni Development and integration platforms for Learning Management, Master Data management and various technology products. With nearly one thousand application customers world-wide, he spends significant time engaged with this global customer base to understand their immediate needs, and how those needs inform the roadmap through longer-term challenges facing the industry. Mark gets directly involved in key implementations where customers are striving to transform their operations and the services they provide to their campus community. Some of those customers include City University of New York (CUNY), Hobart and William Smith Colleges, the University of Colorado System and National University of Singapore. Until its acquisition by Oracle, Mark held a similar position at PeopleSoft where he helped launch their Higher Education division. Prior to joining PeopleSoft in 1994, he developed and implemented student-centered solutions at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He lives in Los Angeles, CA with his wife Paz.
Jeremy is responsible for formulating and supporting alignment on corporate strategy within Desire2Learn. Jeremy also provides leadership and management of corporate development, mergers & acquisitions, government relations, and intellectual property strategy.
Jeremy was part of the founding team at Desire2Learn, and continues to take a leadership role in driving the organization’s success within its key industries. Prior to joining Desire2Learn, Jeremy came from a strong technical and business background involving work with numerous high-tech companies throughout North America. Specifically, he has been actively involved with eLearning and technology companies for over twenty years, and participates on a number of boards and in advisory roles. Jeremy graduated from the University of Waterloo with an Honours Bachelor of Mathematics (Computer Science), specializing in Information Systems. He also earned a Master of Science in Management from Wilfrid Laurier University.
Timothy R. Beekman, President & Co-Founder, SAFARI Montage, was founder of Dynacom, Inc., and a partner/owner of the former SAFARI Technologies, Inc. Mr. Beekman holds a BSEE from Western Michigan University and a First Class Broadcast License. He was honored as “Fellow of the Decade” by Ball State University Center for Communication Sciences and served as Director of Technology for Grand Rapids Public Schools. Currently, he is president and co-founder of SAFARI Montage, and brings leadership and focus to the team. Mr. Beekman has pioneered the integration of video technology in the classroom through projects like AT&T School of the Future initiative and the “Campus of the Future” at Ball State University. Under Mr. Beekman’s leadership, SAFARI Montage has grown to be an industry leader in Educational Video Integration Technologies in both analog and digital formats.
Prior to assuming the position of director of the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), Malcolm Brown was the Director of Academic Computing at Dartmouth College. His group supported faculty and students in the use of applications of information technology in research and in the curriculum, and oversaw classroom technology. During his tenure at Dartmouth, he worked actively with the ELI, contributing chapters to the ELI eBooks, helping to plan focus sessions, and serving on the ELI Advisory Board. He has been a member of the EDUCAUSE Evolving Technologies committee and served as a faculty of the EDUCAUSE Learning Technology Leadership program. He has been on the board for the Horizon Report since its inception in 2004 and served as Chair of Board of the New Media Consortium. He served as the editor of the New Horizons column for the EDUCAUSE Review. He is a member of the Frye Institute class of 2002. He has given invited presentations recently at the University of Nebraska, the University of Indiana Fort Wayne, Iowa State University, SUNY Plattsburgh, Deakin University in Melbourne, Australia, and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill. He has given keynotes recently the DET/CHE and CCUMC conferences. Malcolm holds a pair of BA degrees from UC Santa Cruz; studied in Freiburg, Germany, on a pair of Fulbright scholarships; and has a PhD in German Studies from Stanford University. He has taught several academic courses on Nietzsche and maintains the Nietzsche Chronicle web site.
Michael is Chief Digital Officer for North America, responsible for accelerating the move to effective digital business models that reimagine the customer experience with Pearson digital products and services. In this role, he works with technology and business leaders to drive and integrate the K20 roadmap across technology, product and business strategies. His role is also a member of the PT senior leadership team to ensure global alignment. Prior to Pearson Michael spent six years at LeapFrog Enterprises as global head of product development and engineering (devices, content, ecosystem) where he learned tremendous lessons in transforming a company’s product strategy and business model in response to consumer technology and mass retail forces. Before that he spent fifteen years at EFI as a key management team leader that created the industry standard Fiery(tm) front-end for digital color printing worldwide. The company rapidly grew from small startup to mature public company through many cycles of competition and growth. Prior to that he was a Member of Technical Staff at AT&T Bell Laboratories and a Software Engineer at the NYIT Computer Graphics Lab. He holds an MS Computer Science degree from Stanford University and a BS Mechanical Engineering degree from Yale University.
Dr. William H. Graves, is Senior Vice President of Academic Strategy, for Ellucian. He is also a member of the board of governors of Antioch University and a professor emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) where, after earning a mathematics Ph.D. from Indiana University, he served as dean for general education, interim vice chancellor for academic affairs, senior information technology officer, and founder and director of the Institute for Academic Technology (a UNC/IBM alliance).
First at UNC and now at SunGard Higher Education, Graves has helped pioneer technology-enabled strategies for measurably improving upon and accounting for institutional performance in tertiary education, especially academic performance. On this theme, he has published 80+ articles and books, given hundreds of invited presentations, and advised hundreds of institutions.
Graves is currently a co-founding board member of the National Center for Academic Transformation, the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and the Alliance for Higher Education Competitiveness. He formerly served on the boards of EDUCAUSE, the Coalition for Networked Information, and CAUSE. He helped launch Internet2 and EDUCAUSE’s National Learning Infrastructure Initiative (now the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative) and chaired the latter's planning committee from 1994-2004. He also served on the Tenth Anniversary Commission of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and has participated recently in other national advisory groups convened by, for example, the U.S. Department of Education, the Lumina Foundation, and Innovate-Educate New Mexico.
While on leave from UNC in 1998-2000, Graves founded and directed the nonprofit Collegis Research Institute. He then retired from UNC in 2000 to found (and chair the board of) Eduprise, an academic technology services firm which subsequently merged with Collegis. The resulting privately held company was acquired in 2004 by publicly traded SunGard Data Systems and is now part of privately held SunGard Higher Education, the world’s largest technology-related business focused solely on tertiary education and technology-enabled strategies for improving its efficacy and efficiency.
Steve Flynt, Ph.D.
Dr. Steve Flynt currently serves as the Chief Strategy and Performance Officer with Gwinnett County Public Schools. Prior to being appointed to this position, Dr. Flynt also served as the Associate Superintendent of the Division of School Leadership and Operations, the Chief Academic Officer as well as an Area Superintendent for the Division of Teaching and Learning.
Immediately prior to coming to the central office, Flynt served as the principal of Gwinnett’s Peachtree Ridge High School. Initially certified as a science teacher, Flynt spent nine years in the classroom teaching in both Gwinnett and neighboring DeKalb county schools. During most of his teaching career he also coached soccer and swimming at the varsity level. Flynt’s leadership experience in Gwinnett County includes service as a high school science department chair, administrative assistant and assistant principal, before being named principal in January 2006, in addition to serving on numerous education boards and task force committees.
Steve Flynt earned his education degrees at Young Harris College (associate of arts in education), Lees-McRae College (bachelor’s in biology), Piedmont College (master’s in science education), and the University of Georgia, where he completed his doctoral degree in Educational Leadership. He is active in many community organizations and with the Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce as an alumnus of Leadership Gwinnett.
John T. Harwood, Ph.D.
John Harwood is Associate Vice Provost for Information Technology at Penn State. Previously he was Senior Director, Teaching and Learning with Technology at Penn State where he was responsible for the development of courseware, training, and support programs for faculty and teaching assistants who seek to integrate technology and teaching. At University Park, he is responsible for helping faculty use technology in teaching; university-wide IT training; and computer labs, technology classrooms, and the support services required to support teaching and learning in those spaces, including instructional design and multimedia services. John is Penn State's representative to the CIC, the academic consortium of the Big 10.
Rick Johnson is the Vice President of Product Development and Sales Engineering, and one of the founders of Vital Source Technologies, Inc. Vital Source, a division of the Ingram Content Group, is the maker of Bookshelf®, the most widely used platform for delivery of electronic textbooks in the world. As VP of Product, Rick manages the strategic direction of the fast growing platform, guiding the architecture, and implementation of its clients and systems.
Rick's career has been focused on bringing together his three passions: technology, publishing, and education. He is a frequent speaker on electronic textbooks, their integration into an institutional environment, and how the accessibility needs of individual students can best be accommodated in their delivery. He served on the working groups responsible for version 2 and version 3 of the EPUB standard, is on the executive committee for the IMS Global Learning Consortium, and is the co-inventor of 3 domestic and international patents dealing with electronic books and their distribution.
Prior to Ingram and Vital Source, Rick spent more than 12 years with Apple Computer, Inc. As a Senior National Consulting Engineer for them he was instrumental in the implementation of complex solutions for many higher education and corporate customers, and received numerous national and international awards.
A graduate of the communication and business departments of Biola University in 1984, Rick has lived in the Phoenix area with his family since they moved from Southern California in 1991. Married to his wife Susie for 30 years, together they have raised two children, and are very active in their church and community. Rick serves on the board of directors for several non-profit ministries.
Michael King, Vice President, Global Education Industry, has been with IBM for over 20 years in various executive and management positions. He is currently the worldwide leader for the IBM Education Industry. In this role, he leads IBM's strategy, marketing and sales across schools and higher education. His prior responsibilities include Director, Market Development, Education Industry, focused on solutions and innovation projects, and Director, Alliances for IBM Learning Solutions, where he led a team in developing partnerships across the learning marketplace, including corporate education. He served as the lead market manager for learning in IBM, launching important corporate solution initiatives in Europe and globally. Prior positions include the Global Segment Executive for the IBM Education industry, leading the strategy for delivering solutions and products to higher education and primary school institutions around the world, and also the worldwide marketing manager for higher education. IBM's broad portfolio of offerings in Education Industry includes hardware and software products, business and IT services, and specific industry initiatives, such as open source software, grid computing, and other leading technologies.
Mr. King has also served as the client executive with responsibility for research universities in California, including the University of California system. In that position, he worked with leading universities in developing creative technology solutions for administrative and academic applications.
Mr. King holds Bachelor's of Science degrees in Physics and Engineering from Kansas State University and an MBA from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is a member of the California P16 Education Advisory Council.
Gary Lang is the senior vice president of product development, support and cloud services at Blackboard, where he manages the development and customer support of the company’s comprehensive product portfolio and the cloud delivery of Blackboard’s products and services. Under Gary’s technical leadership, the company is able to ensure the full strength of the Blackboard product portfolio is leveraged in an integrated way.
Before joining Blackboard in 2013, Gary was executive vice president of products for MarkLogic, which counted Warner Brothers, Dow Jones, the U.S. Department of Defense and the Library of Congress among the clients of its operational big data applications. Prior to MarkLogic, Gary was a leader in the development of the Visual Studio, .NET, and .NET language teams at Microsoft. Gary has also served as the vice president of platforms and global engineering at Autodesk, Inc. (NASDAQ: ADSK), where he led the platform and product engineering for the company’s core products as well as new software and services for emerging businesses. Gary’s team of over 1,200 global employees was responsible for developing code for almost all of Autodesk’s desktop and SaaS products, such as AutoCAD, Inventor and Seek. During this period, Gary also served as the vice president of global engineering for the company and managed its offices in China and Singapore.
Gary has more than 20 years of experience in the delivery of large, complex products and systems and in architectural design and direction setting for high-revenue software projects. His expertise lies in balancing executive-level decision making with hands-on software development. Gary holds a Bachelor of Arts in computer and information science from the University of California (UC), Santa Cruz and has completed graduate studies in artificial intelligence, VLSI design and software economics at UC Irvine and UC Santa Cruz.
Stephen J. Laster was appointed chief digital officer of McGraw-Hill Education in August 2012. He is responsible for creating compelling student experiences, and developing breakthrough teaching and learning solutions. Prior to joining McGraw-Hill Education, he led Intelligent Solutions, LLC, a firm that engages with universities and businesses to leverage their digital technology and collaborative tools. At the same time, he served as the chief information and technology officer of the Harvard Business School and as a member of the HBS administrative leadership team, overseeing the school’s academic, research and administrative computing teams.
Mr. Laster holds a bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College and a MBA from the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business at Babson College.
Mark Stiles, Emeritus Professor, Staffordshire University, and Chair of JISC-CETIS, has been involved with the use of technology to support learning for more than 20 years, and has led research and development work in strategy, policy, systems development and interoperability, and pedagogy. Mark also led the development of one of the first UK virtual learning environments, COSE, and has been involved in projects making use of IMS specifications since JISC first became involved in the consortium's work. Mark, Deputy Chair of the JISC Learning and Teaching committee, is also Chair of the JISC-CETIS Board. Mark's current work focuses on the support of work-based learning, and the tensions between issues of control and innovation within organisations deploying learning technologies. At Staffordshire, Mark holds a Professorial Chair in Technology Supported Learning.
Linda Thomas has been in a Vice President at SMART Technologies since 2007, with responsibility for a variety of functions including Product Management; Education Consulting, Policy & Practice; Ecosystem development; and global Marketing. Under her leadership, SMART adopted the interactive whiteboard/common file format standard and remains a strong supporter of standardization and IMS. She currently leads the SMART Strategy and Research team, with responsibility for the company 3-year strategic plan and software strategy.
Linda holds an Honors Bachelor of Mathematics co-operative education degree from the University of Waterloo, with a Business option and specialization in Information Systems. Prior to SMART she held positions of increasing responsibility with 19 years in Fortune 500 companies in Toronto, Edmonton and Calgary.