Center for Advancing Learning
An education thought leadership, policy, and corporate social responsibility hub.
The Center for Advancing Learning supports Anthology’s mission to provide dynamic, data-informed experiences to the global education community so that learners and educators can achieve their goals by generating evidence-based approaches and analyses.
The Center’s work is guided by three underlying aims: increasing access; supporting underserved and at-risk populations; and improving outcomes.
Areas of Focus
The initial emphases are five broad areas: accessibility; community colleges; Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs); online program management alternatives; and global advancement of digital education.
The Center utilizes Anthology’s internal assets and thought leaders, as well as policy fellows from industry associations and data scientists from institutions of higher education to serve as data fellows.
Announcements & Upcoming Events
In February 2022, The Center for Advancing Learning (CAL) launched the Policy and Practice Summit. This virtual, five-month series will address policy and issues surrounding one of each of the above focus areas. Each event will include a national expert as the featured speaker, followed by a roundtable discussion with other leaders on the focus area of that month. Each session will be one-hour in length and will be recorded for future use. The sessions are designed to address current legislative activities, as well as those on the horizon and are geared toward providing you with valuable information. The Summit is free, and open to the public.
June 22: Online Program Management Alternatives
Partner & Chair, Higher Education Practice
Thompson Coburn LLP
Georgetown University School of Continuing Studies
Senior Manager for Policy and Strategic Initiatives
Higher Learning Advocates
Darcy W. Hardy is currently serving as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs, North America, and Director of Anthology’s Center for Advancing Learning (CAL). Dr. Hardy is an award-winning distance and online learning professional who has worked as a higher education administrator, IPA with the Obama Administration, board member in state and national associations, and as a contributor in higher education EdTech.
Prior to her position with Anthology, Dr. Hardy spent over 30 years in public higher education, including The University of Texas System, The University of Texas at Austin, The University of Texas at San Antonio, and Texas State University – San Marcos.
Dr. Hardy has received multiple honors, including Distinguished Alumna by Texas State University, induction into the USDLA Hall of Fame, and receiving the Mildred and Charles Wedemeyer Outstanding Distance Learning Practitioner Award.
Dr. Robinson is a Senior Director at Anthology. In this role, he works directly with colleges and universities on strategic issues.
He has previously held the position of Senior Principal Strategy Consultant at Civitas Learning, working with colleges and universities to help leverage data analytics toward student success.
Before joining Civitas Learning, Dr. Robinson was a principal strategist at Anthology and Assistant Vice Provost for Educational Technology at the University of Texas at San Antonio.
Dr. Robinson co-teaches “Assessing Organizational Data” and “Predictive Analytics in Higher Education & Leadership” at St. Edward’s University. He previously was Chair and President of the Board of Directors of the United States Distance Learning Association and is currently a trustee of La Roche University in Pennsylvania.
As a Senior Product Manager with Anthology, Lisa works globally with institutions on advancements in the Learn Ultra environment. Previously, Lisa served as a Senior Strategic Client Experience Manager at Blackboard where she supported higher education faculty and administration in over a dozen different countries to promote the successful adoption and implementation of distance education initiatives utilizing the Blackboard suite of tools. She has also been leading global strategic discussions on various topics related to student success, online course development and innovative pedagogical strategies. Prior to her work at Anthology, Lisa served as a faculty member, course developer, and a senior director of instructional technology.
Coleman has over 22 years of experience leading teams and helping clients leverage technology in the educational technology industry. She is currently the Senior Director of Client Experience and Consulting Services for North America at Anthology.
An enthusiastic, data-driven individual, Krista is passionate about inclusivity. With over 13 years of experience, Krista’s expertise is in document and video accessibility. She has directly supported 200+ institutions in strategizing around improved inclusion through the implementation of Blackboard Ally. Krista currently serves as the Vice President of ATHEN and has a M.Ed in Educational Technology from Boise State University.
Jessica is the head of the Marketing Services division within Anthology, with 15+ years of experience. She leads a team of strategists, media buyers, designers, and account managers to help higher education institutions of all shapes and sizes grow enrollment in online, on-ground, hybrid, degree, and non-credit programs.
Kemaro is the Director of Partnerships and Strategic Engagement at Anthology. In his role, he is responsible for the creation and implementation of HBCU strategy across Anthology, as well as establishing relationships to support strategy development and overall direction of HBCU growth.
Sergio Mena Jara is currently President of Universidad Gabriela Mistral in Santiago, Chile, the first private university of this country with a tradition of over 40 years in the Chilean educational system. Before being appointed to this position, he worked in different roles in Universidad San Sebastian also in Santiago, Chile, which is also a very important and influential private university in the country. In this institution he was the Vice-Chancellor of Graduate and Professional Development, Dean of the School of Business and Economics, and the Vice-Chancellor of Economic and Administration Affairs for many years. In these roles, he was in charge of developing and implementing various projects such as the USS Online Learning department, the USS Language Center, the Certification and Labor Skills Center for prior knowledge recognition, and the Professional Development and Continuing Education Center.
In the administrative area, he is a currently a board member of SkyAirlines - a prominent airline company in Latin America. He is also a board member of Symbiox, a company dedicated to the research and development of biotechnological projects and co-owner of chain of a restaurants in Santiago, Chile. Besides these administrative roles, he has also been an undergraduate and graduate professor for 25 years, thesis advisor, and lecturer at national and international conferences.
Sergio Mena is MBA from the Diego Portales University of Chile, Master in Finance from the Adolfo Ibañez University of Chile, Master in International Business Management from the School of Industrial Organization of Spain, Engineer in Business Administration from INACAP, with extensive experience leading academic projects in the area of higher education, in administration and financial management.
Advisory Council Members
CAL Policy Fellows
David Baime serves as Senior Vice President for Government Relations for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). In this role, he directs the national advocacy efforts for the nation’s community colleges (nearly 1,200 total) and their students. Prior to joining AACC, he served as Director of Education Funding for the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities. He has also worked as Assistant Director of Government Relations for the Association of American Medical Colleges.
Russ Poulin leads the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), which focuses on the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced learning in higher education. As the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) Vice President, he advises on policy and projects for the regional higher education compact. Poulin represented the distance education community on federal negotiated rulemaking committees and subcommittees. He has received recognition from the Presidents’ Forum, Excelsior College, and the National University Technology Network for his contributions to policies for technology-enhanced postsecondary education.
Sam is the Director of Postsecondary Education and Workforce Development at CAST. Sam’s primary expertise is centered on social learning processes and the use of online and blended learning to support workforce development. She has designed training models and conducted research into professional development in the fields of mental health care, human services, criminal justice and education.
CAL Data Fellows
Dr. Szymon Machajewski is a prolific code writer and gamification leader focused on student engagement through learning analytics. Dr. Machajewski has taught computer science since 2003 and is also certified in mental health first aid. He is a member of the Anthology Community Leadership Circle—a governance board appointed to lead and influence initiatives for the global education community. He also serves on the EDUCAUSE Student Success Analytics CG Steering Committee and UIC Electronic Information Technology (EIT) Accessibility Policy Committee.
Robert E. Carpenter is Deputy Chief Information Officer, Associate Provost for Analytics, and Professor of Economics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). He has previously served at the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond as Senior and Lead Financial Economist in Banking Supervision and Regulation and was Vice Chair of the Bank’s Risk Prioritization Committee. He is a past member of the Executive Committee for the APLU’s Commission on Information, Measurement, and Analysis (CIMA). He is a past president of the UMBC Faculty Senate, co-chaired UMBC’s most recent accreditation review, and directed and managed the university’s Self Study process.
Kelly Hermann is the Vice President of Accessibility, Equity and Inclusion for the University of Phoenix. Her oversight includes the university’s accessibility initiative, including the evaluation and remediation of curricular resources. Her supervision spans the Accessibility & Disability Services Office, which provides accommodations to students with disabilities. She also oversees the Office of Educational Equity, which works with university stakeholders, community partners and corporate sponsors to create an inclusive educational environment for the students, faculty and staff. Prior to joining the University of Phoenix, Ms. Hermann was the Director of Disability Services for SUNY Empire State College for 12 years.
CAL Political Advocate and Strategic Advisor
Christopher Murray is a partner at Thompson Coburn LLP. A Washington political advocate and strategic advisor for the education sector, Chris has a particular interest in supporting organizations that are disrupting the status quo, as well as providing the best and most affordable education for all. Chris understands education policy, which spans all corners of education, from pre-K through primary, secondary, and postsecondary, from institutions and trade associations to technology companies and investors.