Before, joining the Learning Technologies Department, she was already quite accomplished with several degrees: DelMar College: Associate of Arts (Liberal Arts), TAMUCC: Bachelor of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies (Elementary Education), TAMUCC: Master of Science (Curriculum & Instruction), and The George Washington University: Post Grad Certificate (Educational Technology Leadership).
While working on her Ph.D., Whitney cofounded a company with two colleagues. iDesign, established in 2013, is a growing company in Dallas. iDesign supports more than 100 universities and colleges in the intentional design of their online and hybrid programs. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the need for learning design support in order to advance the digital transformation of higher education. iDesign, having the largest concentration of US-based remote learning designers of any other service provider in the industry, has the deep expertise to be at the forefront of the future of learning and teaching.
Whitney also feels she owes a lot of her success to the wonderful mentors she has had over the years. One mentoring relationship that she credits has lasted more than 20 years. Dr. Joann Canales, Dean Emeritus of the Graduate School at Texas A&M in Corpus Christi, pushed her to go continue her education as she finished her undergraduate degree in 2001. When Whitney graduated from UNT in 2016 her major professor, Dr. Scott Warren, kindly allowed Dean Canales to come and perform the hooding at her graduation ceremony alongside him.
When asked to recount one of her best memories from her time at UNT she said “I defended my dissertation on my birthday, the same day that my classmate, Heather Robinson, defended at our cadre meeting in Orlando in 2016. That evening, as our UNT doctoral journey concluded Drs. Jones, Warren, and Cox took Dr. Robinson and me to the Polynesian Resort at Disney, where we had Dole Whips and watched the fireworks over the castle at Disney World. I'll never forget how special that moment was for us all.”
When asked how her Ph.D. in Learning Technologies has helped in her career, she says, “My current role is focused on needs assessment and defining solutions that will help our partners deliver a quality online or blended learning experience for students. I regularly lean on the skills I learned in the program to be able to help our partners.” iDesign was one of the fortunate organizations during the pandemic because their team was already distributed and the processes were already well-positioned for the world of remote work. Their partners came to them for the expertise demonstrated over the previous 9 years.
Whitney suggests that “Higher Education is at a critical point in its evolution. There is an opportunity to think critically about the mission and value proposition of the credential awarded and how it can best support the student on their much longer learning journey. Synergistic partnerships between higher education, industry, and the community will ensure the well-being of all parties in the future.” And true to her words, through iDesign, Whitney has hired many UNT Learning Technologies students after graduation, and they are in the process of setting up an internship program with UNT to help bridge this gap.
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