NERCOMP is governed by a Board of Trustees elected from NERCOMP member institutions. These Trustees are involved with technology and professional development at their respective institutions, and they work together on the NERCOMP Board to develop programming that provides opportunities for continued learning and innovation in the fields of information technology and higher education.
The NERCOMP Trustees are interested in making NERCOMP accessible and valuable to you. If you would like to learn more about NERCOMP, or have ideas or suggestions for future NERCOMP workshops or services, the Trustees would be happy to hear from you. Trustees are listed below.
A common thread that ties together each of Kara’s positions in information technology is her uncompromising commitment to providing the best technology experience possible for faculty, students and staff at the institutions where she has worked.
From the outset, NERCOMP has been a significant part of Kara’s work-life. Her association with NERCOMP began with attendance at workshops and the annual conference and progressed to presenting at workshops, becoming a Professional Development Coordinator and speaking at the annual conference. A consistent underlying theme of Kara’s presentations is improving the approachability and resulting experiences her clients have with technology.
Kara is an appreciative beneficiary of NERCOMP as well, taking full advantage of NERCOMP’s extensive programming to develop her career, make connections within the community, and expand her skillsets.
Besides her many contributions to NERCOMP’s mission to support professional development through her workshop and conference work, Kara has been an Institutional Representative and active member of the annual conference program committee. In 2011, Kara was asked to be vice-chair for the 2012 annual conference, and in 2013 she served as the conference chair. In the spring of 2014, Kara was elected Vice Chair of the NERCOMP board a position that has allowed her to expand her active involvement to new levels.
Kara received her bachelor of arts in English with a concentration in Secondary Education from Regis College in 2003 and her master of science in Organizational and Professional Communication from Regis in 2006.
In the fall of 2014, Kara joined the Harvard Business School community. Kara is currently an Associate Director of MBA Program Technology serving the technology needs of HBS’ esteemed MBA Program.
Kara joined Tufts University in July 2006 as an IT services coordinator, a function centered on the daily operations of University Information Technology’s (UIT) support center. That position evolved to include advanced problem solving and improving direct communication and interaction between UIT and the community. The next step in Kara’s career at Tufts involved a focus on client relationships. Kara’s team was responsible for increasing communication and collaboration between IT groups at Tufts in order to improve the quality of IT services across the Tufts community. Kara’s role continued to evolve with a strong concentration on Service Management and a focus on managing the university’s IT Service Management platform.
Previous to her roles at Tufts, Kara held the position of Regis College ITS helpdesk coordinator, maintaining the institution's helpdesk services and training student employees as well as faculty and staff.
Dawn Thistle has served as Executive Director of Information Technology & Media Services at Assumption College since January 2008. For 10 years prior to that appointment, she was Director of Library Services. In the role of Executive Director of IT she sets the department's strategic direction in consultation with Assumption's administration, Board and faculty. Current projects include completing the implementation of a new enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, the ongoing development and support of a new web site and portal, and creating a technology certification program for student staff.
Previously she worked at the College of the Holy Cross as Head of Reader Services and Music Librarian. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree from Oberlin College Conservatory of Music, the M.Mus. from New England Conservatory of Music and the M.S. and D.A. from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
Dr. Thistle is active in NERCOMP, having served on the Program Committee since 2009, Educause, the American Library Association and the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). She has served as President of the New England Chapter of ACRL, and in 2009-2010 served as Chair of the ACRL College Libraries Section. She is an alumna of the ACRL/Harvard Leadership Institute and has served on five NEASC reaccreditation visiting teams. Dr. Thistle has presented at a NERCOMP SIG, ALA, ACRL, ACRL New England, New England Library Association, Massachusetts Conference of Chief Librarians of Public Higher Educational Institutions, NELINET and other conferences on topics including using LIBQUAL survey data, library collection analysis, strategic planning, and Library/IT relations. She has published in CIO Insight, Industry Week and College & Undergraduate Libraries (forthcoming).In recognition of her service to Assumption College and "for [developing] the library as both a learning and gathering space for intellectual and social growth," Dr. Thistle was awarded the President's Medal in 2006. In May 2011 the Assumption College Student Government Association presented her with the "Above and Beyond Award" for her efforts to communicate with and involve students in technology planning.
Dr. Thistle lives with her husband and two dogs in Oakham, Massachusetts, where she enjoys gardening, kayaking, watching the hummingbirds and playing the organ for her church.
Laura T. Garcia is the Director of Campus Technology and Media Support at Mount Holyoke College, where she engages with a broad cross section of the College’s students, faculty and staff around concerns ranging from emerging classroom technology mediation, to hardware and software purchasing and replacement, to overseeing end user support and a variety of campus-wide technology vendor contracts and services. She oversees three teams within Mount Holyoke’s blended Library and Information Technology Services division (LITS) including the College’s Help Desk, Asset Management team and Media Resources.
While working in her current role, Laura earned her Masters of Library and Information Science (MLS) from Simmons College, completing her degree in 2013 and focusing on the intersections between digital librarianship and academic technologies. Her position in LITS’ blended organization has allowed her to continue exploring both rapidly evolving fields, including serving on projects that regularly cross library/IT boundaries, such as on the College’s digital preservation task force.
Prior to her current position at Mount Holyoke, Laura worked for over twenty years in a variety of increasingly responsible technology positions in higher ed and higher ed related companies, beginning as a software technical writer and trainer and moving on to hands-on network and systems analyst positions and eventually to director level positions in networking and general IT management. She held various roles at the University of Massachusetts including the positions of Windows/Exchange Specialist for the UMass President's Office, Director of Information Technology Services for the UMass Amherst Student Affairs and Admissions Offices as well as Director of IT for the University Relations office. She also worked for several higher ed related private companies, including an educational testing company, a dot com focused on health education and a private consulting firm providing hands-on network and technology support to non-profits and small businesses.
As Director for Research and Instruction Services at Brandeis University, David helps lead a team of reference librarians and instructional technologists providing a broad range of services and programs supporting teaching, learning, and scholarship.
David's background is in higher education, instructional technology, and library-I.T. collaboration. He holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from Brandeis, an M.A. in Humanities from Indiana State University, and has taught numerous French, Writing, and Humanities courses. In his years in I.T. at Brandeis, David worked in various capacities related to the support of instructional technology and user services, including managing the Language Media Center, Instructional Technology Resource Center, and Media Services group, as well as contributing to the management of key services-the course management system, model teaching and learning projects, classroom technology support, and public computing services. More recently, David's interests focus on integrating library and I.T. resources in instruction and research and exploring new areas of collaboration between faculty, students, and I.T. and library staff in teaching and learning. David sits on the SIG Masters Committee and the Program Committee, has hosted recent SIGs on videoconferencing and pedagogy, and has presented at the NERCOMP annual conference and at SIGs on student management and course management systems.
Kevin has been the Vice President for Information Services at Nichols College since January, 2005. During his time at Nichols, Kevin has been a part of many significant changes. Kevin managed the integration of the Information Technology department with the Library, identifying opportunities to blend the best services of each area in support of students and faculty. Given the relatively small size of the I.T. organization, Kevin has also been very active as a project manager for many significant initiatives at Nichols; including the implementations of a new student information system, student portal, CRM system, new web site, and many other supporting systems.
In addition to his responsibilities as VP for Information Services, Kevin assumed management responsibilities for the Division of Graduate and Professional Studies from February, 2012 through June, 2013. In this transitional role, Kevin was tasked with reorganizing and sharpening the organizational structure, integrating academic oversight with the day division, and increasing enrollment.
Kevin finds the most interest in working on opportunities to enhance the living and learning environment at Nichols. As such, Kevin actively engages with faculty and students on a regular basis. Although not an academic by trade, Kevin has not been a stranger in the classroom. He is a frequent guest lecturer on topics such as information security and systems strategies. Kevin’s latest foray into the classroom is team teaching a class on project management and information technology strategies.
Prior to Nichols College, Kevin was the Regional Information Technology Director for GKN Sinter Metals in Worcester, MA; overseeing manufacturing technology operations at six plants in Massachusetts and Wisconsin. Kevin has over 30 years of experience in information technology, spanning industries such as high tech manufacturing, managed health care, and automotive parts manufacturing. During his professional career, Kevin has been the Chairman and Treasurer of the MFG/PRO New England User’s Group, and was a member of the Oracle Automotive Customer Advisory Board.
Kevin also serves as a Corporator, representing bank depositors, at Webster Five Savings Bank.
Kevin has an M.S. degree in Computer Information Systems from Bentley University, and a B.S. degree in Business Administration from Western New England University.
As Chief Information Officer (CIO) Michael leads Vassar's Information Technology (IT) strategy and operations through the Computing & Information Services (CIS) department. CIS is responsible for academic computing, technical infrastructure, faculty and staff support, student computing resources, and administrative information systems.
Since joining Vassar in 2013 Michael has led CIS to adopt new approaches to better serve the Vassar community. These efforts include developing Project Management methodologies, initiating IT Service Management principles, and implementing an intentional organizational culture program. Additionally, Michael led CIS to successfully receive two Campus Cyberinfrastructure: Infrastructure, Innovation Engineering (CC*IIE) grants through the National Science Foundation.
Michael joined Vassar after 12 years in higher education IT, most recently as the Interim Vice Chancellor for Information Technology and CIO and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. There Michael led efforts to reorganize and refocus the client facing aspects of the central IT division to better serve the campus community. He conceived and initiated the Future of Student Computing Initiative to dramatically expand services and support for student-owned technologies that expanded WiFi functionality, enabled wireless printing, and adopted an innovative approach to providing virtual access to computer lab systems and software.
Michael is an Educause Management Institute faculty member, a member of the Society for Information Management, a member of the Information Technology Senior Management Forum, an Educause Leading Change/Frye Fellow, an alum of Leadership North Carolina, and serves on the Board of the American Institute of Biological Sciences. Degrees held include a BS in Zoology from Andrews University and an MBA from Wake Forest University.
George Claffey has been involved in technology and technology education for the past fifteen years. George is currently employed by the Board for State Academic Awards and serves as the Chief Information Officer for Charter Oak State College, Connecticut's largest provider of online learning, and also the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium, a consortia providing ASP based eLearning, ePortfolio, and eTutoring collaborative environments to K-12 and Higher Education entities nationally. He oversees technology operations including the data center that supports over 130 institutions and 100,000 students nationally that use the CTLDC to support their eLearning, ePortfolio, eTutoring, and disaster recovery operations.
Vice President for Institutional Research, Analytics & Consulting
Tina is Bowdoin’s Vice President of Institutional Research, Analytics & Consulting, a group that includes data warehousing and IR professionals. Prior to her current position, Tina was the Director of Academic Technology & Consulting within Bowdoin College’s Information Technology (IT) Division. She oversaw educational technology, research computing, classrooms, technology training, academic software, and the Blackboard learning management system. In addition, she managed the IT Division’s operating budget and capital budgets, recent projects to update the entire campus network and collocate the data center. With a focus on change management, Tina provides outreach, communication and training for enterprise-wide technology projects, such as VoIP and student information system.
Many of our greatest achievements in the next decade will involve partnerships and integrations. At Bowdoin Tina was instrumental in transforming the strained relationship between IT and the Library to a collaborative partnership. Now she is building partnerships across the institution, and would like to work with the NERCOMP Board to identify ways NERCOMP can facilitate more inter-institutional partnerships.
Spending as many years in higher education as a student as she has as a a salaried employee, Tina holds a Ph.D. in Information Science & Technology and M.S.L.I.S. (Library & Information Science) from Syracuse University, a master’s degree in geographic information systems (GIS) from the University at Buffalo, and a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University.
For professional development, Tina has participated in the NERCOMP-EDUCASE Workshop Series for IT Managers, the Center for Technology Leadership’s Aspiring CIOs workshop and HERS: Advancing Women Leaders in Higher Education Administration. She has presented at NERCOMP, NITLE, Campus Technology, and ACRL conferences, among other conferences.
Tina served on the faculty of the NERCOMP-EDUCASE Workshop Series for IT Managers Part 1 and has been on the NERCOMP Annual conference program committee for the past two years. Through these opportunities, Tina learned the value of NERCOMP in expanding one’s knowledge, network and aspirations. As a Board member, she will contribute to and expand the lively NERCOMP community.
Co-Director, Center for Science and Social Science Information
Themba Flowers is currently a manager in Academic IT Solutions and Co-Director of the Center for Science and Social Science Information (CSSSI) at Yale University. In these roles, Themba wears many hats with responsibilities encompassing the overlaps between Library, IT, learning environments, research services, and educational technologies.
His current and previous functions include teaching workshops, managing technology initiatives, designing and supporting next-generation learning spaces, as well as providing support for data analysis, data visualization, research design, and active learning pedagogies.
After graduating from high school at Northfield Mount Hermon, Themba received a Bachelors degree from the University of California at Berkeley in Spanish and Portuguese with a minor in Linguistics. He has also started a Masters Degree in Educational Technology. In previous lives, Themba has been a web developer, information security analyst, database programmer, designer, deejay, teacher, and an artist.
Before joining the NERCOMP board, Themba sat on the NERCOMP Annual Conference Planning Committee, starting on the Teaching and Learning track and moving into the Library/IT track in subsequent years.
Lisa Trubitt is the Assistant CIO for Policy & Communications at the University at Albany, SUNY, where she focuses on improving and administering IT services to the University community. Current responsibilities include: IT policy development; internal and external communications; fostering relationships and working with various stakeholder and advisory groups; and strategic planning. Her interests range from the professional development and mentoring of staff to exploring creative solutions for organizational challenges and rethinking the role of IT in higher education.
The co-founder and former leader of the EDUCAUSE IT Communications Constituent Group (ITCOMM), Trubitt has given numerous presentations and authored articles on the importance of IT communications. Policy-related activities include presentations and service on the former ICPL Advisory Committee. Trubitt is currently the director of the EDUCAUSE Institute Management Program faculty. She has also served on the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference Program and Professional Development Committees. She is currently a member of the NERCOMP Board and faculty for the Workshop Series for Managers Part 2. She is a trustee of the Capital District Library Council (CDLC) and a Frye Leadership Fellow (2007). Trubitt holds a bachelor of arts in English and Criminal Justice and a master of arts in Criminal Justice from the University at Albany.
Director, Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology
Amber L. Vaill is the Director of the Office of Teaching, Learning and Technology at Becker College. In this role she provides faculty with support and training in the areas of curriculum development, teaching strategies, and digital learning. She has been an educator since 1999, has worked in higher education since 2007, and has extensive experience in online education and instructional technologies. Prior to moving into the field of higher education, she served as a secondary- and middle-school level English and history classroom and online teacher.
Throughout her career Amber has developed and implemented online faculty and student support and training programs, including the creation of online student orientation courses and online faculty development initiatives. Amber has published and presented at numerous national and regional conferences on topics including online faculty development, supporting students through a transition to a new learning management system, and the importance of online student orientations.
Amber has been actively involved in NERCOMP since 2011 when she first presented at the Annual Conference. Since then she has served as a Professional Development Coordinator, organizing a number of PDOs including launching the annual Canvas User Group with colleagues from Brown University. She has presented various talks and posters at the NERCOMP Annual Conference over the past few years, has served on the NERCOMP Annual Conference Program Committee since 2013, and has also served as a NERCOMP Social Media Strategist.
Amber holds a Ph.D. in Education with an e-Learning specialization from Northcentral University, an M.Ed. in History from Westfield State University, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instructional Technology from Framingham State University.
Karen is Director of User and Technical Services at Wesleyan University. In her unique role, Karen has oversight for both the front end user support operations including Desktop Support and student Helpdesk and the back end technical support team comprised of network administration, data center, and system administrators. Bridging the divide between these mutually dependent, but often at odds groups is challenging and always interesting. Karen and her team provide the foundational support for all other IT operations in the University and provide strategic input regarding systems and infrastructure. Currently, Wesleyan is undergoing a network refresh which will substantively improve bandwidth across campus providing the needed support for future initiatives such as Coursera and the burgeoning use of HD media on campus.
Since joining Wesleyan, Karen has been an active member in NERCOMP. She hosted her first SIG in May 2010 on desktop virtualization and has since presented at two annual conferences as well as participated in two other SIGs including a panel for the 2012 Women in Technology Leadership SIG. For the past two years, Karen has served on the Annual Conference program committee and this year, Karen is leading the online program committee team. Additionally, Karen co-leads the virtual workshop project for NERCOMP bringing low-cost online only content to help the organization expand its reach and engage constituents who are underrepresented in the traditional SIG model. This effort has thus far been extremely effective with 135 sites participating.
In 2012, Karen participated in the NITLE Innovation Studio, a new initiative comprised of project teams employing entrepreneurial and design theory strategies. Karen and her teammates continue to run the only remaining project, Collegiate Collaborations, a community site aimed at reducing the fear and uncertainty of engaging in cross-institutional collaborations. The group has been invited back this year to speak at the 2013 NITLE Symposium in April.
Prior to coming to Wesleyan, Karen spent 15 years at the American School for the Deaf in West Hartford, CT where she was IT Director for 10 of those years. Karen focused much time on the importance of broadband access and two-way video installing the school’s first system in 1999. She and a colleague at Gallaudet University organized a conference on two-way video in Deaf education, an initiative that led to 3 conferences over 6 years. She has spoken at numerous conferences on the topic and participated on a panel at the FCC on the importance of ERate to broadband in schools.
Recently, Karen initiated Wesleyan’s membership in National Center for Women in Information Technology Academic Alliance program to help Wesleyan encourage young women in the field of technology.
Karen is energized at the prospect of participation on the NERCOMP board. The organization has been a vital resource for her and she looks forward to helping shape its future particularly the increasing role of online interactive programming. Technology’s ever-changing nature and rapid growth make communities such as NERCOMP vital to success both together and at individual institutions.
NERCOMP Constituent and User Groups are informal organizations of individual NERCOMP members who share a common interest and meet occasionally to network and exchange experiences, information, and ideas. A named group leader coordinates with the NERCOMP board in planning activities; ideally, a NERCOMP board member is a member of each group. Constituent Groups are organized around a common interest, issue, or field of inquiry.