The Online Learning Consortium Announces New Executive Leadership Appointments

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Devon Cancilla has joined OLC as Chief Knowledge Officer, and OLC’s interim CKO Jennifer Mathes has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer.

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OLC is incredibly fortunate to have two outstanding education leaders of Devon’s and Jennifer’s caliber on our leadership team.

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of digital learning worldwide, today announced two key appointments to its executive leadership team. Devon Cancilla, Ph.D., joins OLC as its new Chief Knowledge Officer, effective Aug. 1. In addition, Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D., who has served as OLC’s interim CKO since January, has been promoted to Chief Strategy Officer, effective immediately.

These executive appointments come as OLC continues to build on its position of self-sustained financial strength, guided by a newly elected Board President, Vice President and four new Board Members.

Cancilla and Mathes each report directly to OLC’s Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director Kathleen Ives, D.M., who commented, “OLC is incredibly fortunate to have two outstanding education leaders of Devon’s and Jennifer’s caliber on our leadership team. I look forward to working with them as we move OLC’s strategic agenda forward.”

Cancilla will gather, curate and leverage OLC’s intellectual capital to create and enhance services and resources provided to OLC members and the broader digital education community. He will lead work in a number of key areas, including product development, learning innovation, professional and leadership development, quality enhancement, external affairs, community engagement and development, grant strategy, publications, research and policy.

“Devon brings a depth of experience that I am confident will help us in advancing OLC’s mission,” said Ives. “I am looking forward to his guidance and contributions to our organization and our community.”

“I am honored to have the opportunity to be part of the executive team driving the priorities of the Online Learning Consortium, one of the most respected organizations serving the digital learning community,” said Cancilla.

As Chief Strategy Officer, Jennifer Mathes will oversee and provide strategic input for OLC’s high-level strategic partnerships, consulting and speakers bureau, leadership development, grant strategy, policy efforts, quality benchmarking agenda, community engagement and conference programming.

“Jennifer has been instrumental in researching and planning strategic initiatives, special projects and partnerships that align with OLC's mission, vision and goals,” said Ives. “She is a highly effective leader and strategist, whose skills and experience will ensure OLC continues to be the leading professional organization for the digital learning community.”

“I am excited about this new role and for the opportunity to help shape OLC’s next chapter,” said Mathes. “And I am delighted to be able to continue to work with so many outstanding individuals and organizations across the OLC community that share a passion for advancing access to quality digital learning.”


Devon Cancilla currently serves as Vice Provost for Academic Innovation at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He and his team provide instructional design support for the development of online and traditional courses and coordinate UMKC’s activities toward state authorization, student authentication and learning analytics within its online programs. Prior to UMKC, Cancilla served as Dean, then Associate Provost for Learning at American Sentinel University, a fully online institution. He was also an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Director of Scientific Technical Services (SciTech) at Western Washington University (WWU) where he led the development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN), an online laboratory initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. Cancilla has received both the Sloan-C (now OLC) Outstanding Achievement Award for Online Education and an Effective Practice Award for his research into the development and use of online laboratories. He attended the University of Iowa, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and UCLA, where he received his doctorate in Environmental Health Science. Cancilla’s current research interests relate to the use of analytics in the design and development of online courses.

Jennifer Mathes has nearly 20 years of experience in both public and private for-profit higher education where she has supported online learning initiatives since she taught her first online course in 1997. She has been instrumental in working with start-up online initiatives as well as leading growth in institutions with an existing online program. She holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Education from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where she wrote her dissertation on “Predictors for Student Success in Online Education.” She also has earned a Master of Science degree in Business Education and a Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications from Illinois State University.


The Online Learning Consortium (OLC) is a collaborative community of higher education leaders and innovators, dedicated to advancing quality digital teaching and learning experiences designed to reach and engage the modern learner – anyone, anywhere, anytime. OLC inspires innovation and quality through an extensive set of resources, including, best-practice publications, quality benchmarking, leading-edge instruction, community-driven conferences, practitioner-based and empirical research and expert guidance. The growing OLC community includes faculty members, administrators, trainers, instructional designers, and other learning professionals, as well as educational institutions, professional societies and corporate enterprises. Visit for more information.

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Eileen Pacheco