The Online Learning Consortium Elects New Board Officers

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The OLC Board of Directors begins 2020 with new President Mary Niemiec, Vice President Elizabeth Ciabocchi, Secretary Julia Parra and Treasurer Frank Mayadas.

Online Learning Consortium
I am delighted to welcome this outstanding group of online learning leaders as the new officers of OLC’s board of directors. Their guidance will be instrumental in advancing OLC’s strategic agenda.

The Online Learning Consortium (OLC), the leading professional organization devoted to advancing the quality of digital learning worldwide, today announced Mary Niemiec, Associate Vice President for Distance Education at the University of Nebraska, has been elected President of the OLC Board of Directors. Niemiec, who previously served as the board’s Vice President, succeeds Eric E. Fredericksen, Ed.D., Associate Vice President for Online Learning and Associate Professor in Educational Leadership at the University of Rochester. The OLC Board also elected new Vice President Elizabeth Ciabocchi, Ed.D., Secretary Julia Parra, Ed.D., and Treasurer Frank Mayadas, Ph.D.. Their terms began on Jan. 1, 2020.

“I am delighted to welcome this outstanding group of online learning leaders as the new officers of OLC’s board of directors,” said Jennifer Mathes, Interim CEO of the Online Learning Consortium. “Their guidance will be instrumental in advancing OLC’s strategic agenda. I also wish to thank Eric Fredericksen for his exceptional leadership and counsel during these past two years.”

“OLC is the premier professional organization focused on quality digital teaching and learning,” said Niemiec, who has served on the OLC board since 2016 and was also recognized by OLC among its 2011 class of Fellows. “I am excited for the opportunity to serve the OLC community, particularly during this important time in digital higher education.”

Niemiec has worked in higher education for more than 20 years, primarily in the area of online and blended learning. She was the recipient of a grant from the Sloan Foundation in 2003 for a gathering of 30 faculty, administrators and researchers from the U.S. and Canada to begin exploration of the concept of blended learning and its strategic importance to higher education. She also served as conference chair for OLC’s Blended Learning Workshop and Conference for eight years. Prior to joining the University of Nebraska in 2011, Niemiec held administrative positions in outreach, blended and online education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

Elizabeth (Liz) Ciabocchi was appointed Vice Provost for Digital Learning at St. John’s University in Queens, NY, in early 2014, having served for the previous 12 years in the Office of Academic Affairs at Long Island University, most recently as Associate Vice President for Online Learning. She also served as Academic Dean, Pacific College of Oriental Medicine, New York Campus (2001-2002), and as a faculty member and administrator at the New York College for Health Professions in Syosset, N.Y. (1993-2001). An active member of the OLC community, Dr. Ciabocchi holds an OLC Teaching Certificate (Administrative Track) and completed the OLC Institute for Engaged Leadership in Online Learning (IELOL) in 2010. She was named an OLC Fellow in 2015.

Julia Parra is an assistant professor at New Mexico State University (NMSU) in the College of Education. She is the Director for NMSU’s Online Teaching and Learning Graduate Certificate Program and is the coordinator for the Learning Design & Technology programs. She has taught for OLC and is currently serving on the NMSU Online Taskforce which is working towards an online solution for its university and community college system.

A. Frank Mayadas, founding president of OLC, is a prominent education innovator in online learning and has served as a Senior Advisor to the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation since 2010, advising the Foundation on its continuing grants in the Anytime, Anyplace Learning Program. From 1992 to 2009, he served as a Program Director at the Foundation, helping craft the Foundation’s grantmaking strategy in online learning, globalization, industry studies, and career choice in technical fields. Prior to the Sloan Foundation, Dr. Mayadas spent 27 years at IBM Corporation.

About Online Learning Consortium

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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