2014-15 Working Group Members


Donna Bickford, Carolina Women's Center at the University of North CarolinaDonna M. Bickford, PhD, is the Associate Director in the Office for Undergraduate Research, where she manages a number of programs designed to facilitate student access to individually mentored research opportunities as well as programs to embed research experiences across the curriculum. She is also Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Department of English and Comparative Literature; her scholarly interests are in contemporary US women writers, and the connections between literature and social change. Bickford directed the Carolina Women’s Center at UNC-CH from 2006-2011. Prior to her arrival at Carolina in June 2006, she served as Lecturer in the Women’s Studies Program at the University of Rhode Island for six years. She was awarded a Fulbright Scholar Grant for Fall 2003 and taught during that semester at Abo Akademi University in Turku, Finland. She’s on Twitter @Donna Bickford.

2009WhisnantAnne Mitchell Whisnant is Deputy Secretary of the Faculty in the Office of Faculty Governance and Adjunct Associate Professor of History and American Studies. Since finishing her PhD in history at UNC-Chapel Hill in 1997, she has pursued an “altac” career in academic administration, first at Duke (2002-06) and then at UNC (2006-present). For a decade, she has frequently written and spoken about non-faculty career paths for Ph.D.s. Meanwhile, Anne’s ongoing history teaching, research, consulting, and writing focus on public history (she teaches UNC’s Intro to Public History Course), digital history, and the history of the U.S. National Parks. In 2006, UNC Press published her book, Super-Scenic Motorway: A Blue Ridge Parkway History. Anne has also been the co-principal historian on several National Park Service projects including an administrative history of De Soto National Memorial (FL) and a Historic Resource Study of Cape Lookout National Seashore (NC). Most recently, Anne chaired a task force commissioned by the Organization of American Historians and the National Park Service to study the state of historical practice within the Park Service. Its report, Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service, was published in 2012. At UNC, Anne serves as scholarly adviser for Driving Through Time: The Digital Blue Ridge Parkway, a digital history collection being developed collaboratively with the UNC Libraries.  She’s on Twitter @amwhisnant.


Barker, Marco 2010Marco J. Barker serves as the Senior Director for Education, Operations, and Initiatives for Diversity and Multicultural Affairs and Clinical Assistant Professor in the School of Education at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. In this capacity, he develops innovative and special initiatives aimed at promoting cultural awareness, facilitating access and success for underserved populations, and increasing institutional diversity. These programs focus on diversity education, faculty diversity, signature programs and celebrations, and minority male success—including the Carolina Millennial Scholars Program. Additionally, Marco assists UNC-Chapel Hill’s chief diversity officer in daily operations and strategic planning. His research, publications, and consultations address cross-race mentoring and advising relationships, doctoral education, service-learning, diversity, and leadership in higher education. Particularly, Marco’s research addresses the congruent and incongruent racial perspectives in cross-race advising relationships and the confluence of race and identity development and its outcomes. Marco earned  his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership & Research from Louisiana State University.

Michael Fern picMichael J. Fern is the Associate Chair for Administration, Finance, and Entrepreneurship in the Department of Computer Science at UNC-CH. Since receiving his PhD in strategy from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, Michael founded two software (SaaS) companies, including, a content curation platform for marketers, and, an online learning management system. Michael has also provided strategy consulting for a variety of companies, such as Dolby Laboratories and Rift Valley Holdings, one of the largest agribusiness firms in Sub-Saharan Africa. In addition to his startup and consulting experience, Michael has served as a professor of strategy at Korea University, Santa Clara University, and the University of Victoria. As a strategy professor, Michael conducted research and taught in the areas of strategy development, new product development, and entrepreneurship. Michael’s work has been published in the Strategic Management Journal, Academy of Management Journal, and Organization Science and he has presented work at a number of companies, conferences, and events. He has received fellowships and research grants from Booz Allen Hamilton, the Strategic Management Society, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, and the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.

Sandra Hoeflich serves as Associate Dean for Interdisciplinary Education, Fellowships and Communication in the Graduate School of UNC Chapel Hill. She is responsible for policy development and the selection and award of Graduate School fellowships, grants and tuition for graduate students. Hoeflich manages a number of interdisciplinary programs created to recruit exceptional graduate students and provide them with interdisciplinary learning experiences. She oversees external grants for fellowships from the National Science Foundation, the Department of Education, and other government agencies and private foundations. Recruitment of a diverse student body has been an ongoing effort, including leading efforts to increase recruitment and retention of American Indian graduate students.  Hoeflich oversees the Graduate School’s communications efforts and works with the Dean and Director of Development to increase private support for graduate students. Her previous experience includes ten years with Ohio’s statewide higher education coordinating board, the Ohio Board of Regents, where she served as director of research programs, medical and health education, and technology/workforce development. She earned her Ph.D. in Public Policy and Management from The Ohio State University with a focus on organizational theory and leadership. Her research interests have focused upon interdisciplinary research collaboration, especially inter-organizational partnerships.

Todd Nicolet, Associate Dean for Operations/Director MPA@UNC, School of Government

Portnow pixAllison Portnow is the Public Programs Manager at the Ackland Art Museum, where she began working in 2009 while completing her PhD in Musicology at UNC-Chapel Hill (2011). At the Ackland, Allison designs and implements a wide variety of public programs for lifelong learners of all ages—from hands-on art programs to concerts, film screenings, talks, and tours. Outside of work, Allison continues with her musicological research (on the intersections of music and science, as well as film music) and she serves on the Society for American Music’s Committee on the Conference. Allison plays double bass in the UNC Lab Orchestra, viola da gamba in the UNC Viol Consort, and electric bass in local rock band Supercollider. Follow her on twitter for a musicologist’s take on the museum world (@AllisonPortnow).

Barbara Renner _AJG0105Barbara Rochen Renner, PhD, has served UNC-Chapel Hill in a number of roles.  Her professional interests and areas of expertise include education of professionals in the health sciences, curriculum development, distance learning, program evaluation, and the use of emerging technologies, multimedia, and social media in teaching and learning. As Library Liaison to and Adjunct Professor of Allied Health Sciences in the School of Medicine, she teaches classes and workshops on library and information management skills and resources. Barbara also serves as Library Services Evaluation Specialist at the Health Sciences Library, and as the director of the Library’s YOUR HEALTH® Radio Collaboration. She has served as Distance Learning Specialist for UNC-Chapel Hill libraries and was a member of the campus-wide Distance Education Policy Steering Committee. Barbara worked with the state-wide autism program, TEACCH, and in the School of Medicine’s Rehabilitation Program Office. As a faculty member in the Department of Medicine, she participated in research at the NIH-funded Thurston Arthritis Research Center. She also served as Director, Division of Student Affairs, in the Office of the Dean of the Medical School and in the Office of Community Medical Education, where she co-directed the Medical Practice and the Community course.

Rybarczyk_headshot 1Brian Rybarczyk is the Director of Academic and Professional Development in The Graduate School and is a lecturer in the Department of Biology. He earned his Ph.D. in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Rochester School of Medicine. He was a scholar in the SPIRE Postdoctoral Fellowship program, a program he currently helps to administer, which combines independent research training, teaching courses at minority-serving institutions in North Carolina, and developing other professional skills necessary for academic positions. Rybarczyk coordinates several undergraduate summer research programs, facilitates workshops in teaching, learning, and professional development for a variety of audiences. His scholarship and research interests are in biology education research, the use of visuals and primary literature in learning science, program development, and assessing academic and professional support important for successful transitions in scientific training.

Beth Shuster, Assistant Dean, Academic Advising

Marc Ter Horst, PhD, Is the Director of the NMR Facility in the Chemistry Department, where he maintains analytical instrumentation (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance Spectrometers), provides instrument training, implements experiments and assists students, post-docs and faculty with their research. He has taught a ‘hands-on’ course and tutorials for NMR Spectroscopy. He mentors graduate students who work as TAs in the facility, providing advanced practical training and theoretical background in NMR as well as assistance with the post-PhD job search. He is active in the American Chemical Society (ACS), serving on the executive committee and as chair of the local section as well as organizer for the NMR discussion group. He received the 2014 Marcus Hobbs Service Award for his role as Program Chair for the Southeast Regional Meeting of the ACS.

Stewart Varner picStewart Varner is the Digital Scholarship Librarian and can generally be found in Davis Library. He holds a Ph.D. in American Studies from Emory University and an MLIS degree from the University of North Texas. He collaborates with UNC faculty and students who want to incorporate technology into their research and teaching. He also works closely  with all divisions of the library to develop tools and resources needed for 21st century scholarship. Stewart arrived in Chapel Hill in February 2014 but he got his start in library-based digital scholarship as a graduate student working on the Emory Women Writers Resource Project in 2003. He is particularly interested in digital humanities and in creating new opportunities for students to get involved in research projects. He Tweets about libraries, digital humanities and, occasionally, music you should listen to @stewartvarner.

2013-14 Members:

Co-Convenors: Donna M. Bickford, Office for Undergraduate Research and
Anne Mitchell Whisnant, Office of Faculty Governance

Dede Corvinus, School of Medicine
Kim Eke, ITS (left the university during the 2013-14 year)
Regina Higgins, Center for the Study of the middle East and Muslim Civilizations
Tanya Kinsella, Center for European Studies
Pam Lach, Digital Innovation Lab
Cricket Lane, Athletics
Cecelia Moore, Office of the Chancellor
Jacqueline Olich, Center for Slavic, Eurasian and East European Studies (left the university  during the 2013-14 year)
Dwayne Pinkney, Office of the Provost
Bob Pleasants, Student Wellness
Barbara Renner, Health Sciences Library
Molly Sutphen, Center for Faculty Excellence
Marc Ter Horst, Department of Chemistry

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