Adam Fein, Ph.D.

Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation & Chief Digital Officer

Dr. Adam FeinDr. Adam D. Fein has served as Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation since November 2018. As the head of UNT’s online and digital strategies, he leads the charge to identify new directions and opportunities to improve the academic quality, reach and performance of the university in the online and global education markets. His research is focused on the examination of the cognitive theory of multimedia learning and the effects of disruptive innovation theory in higher education.

Prior to joining UNT, Dr. Fein served the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for 17 years in numerous roles with online and innovative education. He was responsible for shaping campus strategy and providing campus-wide support for innovations in classroom and online settings. In his previous roles, Dr. Fein was responsible for overseeing the instructional design, instructional development, instructional media resources, and online academic and student affairs teams. Prior to his time in higher education at two of the world’s largest universities, he served as a training and development consultant at Pepsi/Gatorade Inc. and at the Quaker Oats Company. In addition, Dr. Fein has published book chapters and numerous professional papers.



VP Administration

Dana Duke
Dana Duke
Sr. Executive Assistant to the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation
  • Katy Tunks, Administrative Coordinator


Krista Watts
Krista Watts
Senior Director of Strategic Planning
  • Megan Lawton, Strategic Project Manager
    • Sirisha Poolakunta Ramesh, Graduate Student Assistant (Part-Time)


Benjamin Brand, Ph.D.
Benjamin Brand, Ph.D.
Senior Director, New Ventures
Dr. Benjamin Brand fosters collaborations between the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation and academic units across the university to develop new digital ventures. His current initiatives include creating high impact microcredentials and formulating institution-wide strategies around generative AI. Dr. Brand joined DSI after seventeen years of teaching music history at UNT’s College of Music. As the College’s Director of Graduate Studies (2013-18) and Chair of its Division of Music History, Theory, and Ethnomusicology (2018-23), he built a record of curricular innovation that culminated in the launch of the BA in Critical Studies in Music and Society in 2022. Dr. Brand holds a BA in Music from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Musicology from Yale University.


Shannon Rowland
Shannon Rowland
Director, Budget and Operations
  • Rena Vincent, Sr. Administrative Coordinator


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DSI Center for Learning Experimentation, Application and Research (CLEAR)

Ruthanne “Rudi” Thompson, Ed.D.
Ruthanne “Rudi” Thompson, Ed.D.
Associate Vice President, Digital Strategy and Innovation
Executive Director of DSI CLEAR
Associate Professor of Biology
Dr. Rudi Thompson is a UNT Distinguished Teaching Professor, faculty member in the department of Biological Sciences, Assistant Vice President in the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation, and Executive Director of the Center for Learning Experimentation, Application, and Research (CLEAR) at UNT. She has been in the teaching realm for more than 30 years, with experience teaching learners from PreK through Grey. Her research focuses on the space and/or the barriers between teaching and learning in science.
  • Dan Watson, Senior Administrative Coordinator

Course Design Unit

  • Lauri Morrow, Associate Director of Instructional Design
    • Dave Denny, Sr. Instructional Design Consultant
    • Austin Haynes, Sr. Instructional Design Consultant
    • Jordan Smith, Sr. Instructional Design Consultant
    • Deborah Bockman, Instructional Design Consultant
    • Kathleen Harris, Instructional Design Consultant
    • Benjamin Nye, Instructional Design Consultant
    • Jessica Robberson, Instructional Design Consultant
    • Thomas Tubbs, Instructional Design Consultant

Creative Production Unit

  • Joesph Hoffmann, Director of Production
    • Jon Holland, Assistant Director of Production
    • Eric Koch, Lead Multimedia Designer
    • Yamash Subedi, Assistant Graphic Designer (Part-time)
    • [vacant], Sr. Programmer Analyst
    • Olivia Haynes, Programmer Analyst
    • Abril Bhattarai, Web Programmer (Part-time)
    • Eric Michener, Lead Videographer
      • Vanessa Najera, Student Assistant (Part-time)
    • Stingray Schuller, Sr. Videographer
    • Cricket Childers, Videographer
    • Jeff Merrill, Studio Manager / Lead Videographer
      • [vacant], Videographer
      • Asha Chowdhury, AV Assistant (Part-time)
      • Keilynn Rogers, Student Assistant (Part-time)

Digital Compliance Unit

  • Tania Heap, Director of Learning Research & Accessibility
    • Charlesa Olmstead, J.D., Digital Compliance Officer
    • Daniel Bernardo, Digital Accessibility Specialist
    • Danae Harris, Digital Accessibility Specialist
    • Stephanie Hinojosa, Digital Accessibility Specialist
    • Caroline Kairu, Digital Accessibility Specialist
    • Ethan Ligon, Digital Accessibility Assistant (Part-time)
    • Jarrod Trovada, Digital Accessibility Assistant (Part-time)
    • Treacy Lauren Flener, Student Assistant (Part-time)

Faculty Development Unit

  • Aubree Evans, Director of Faculty Development
    • Babafunso Adegbola, Sr. Faculty Development Specialist
    • Tama Hebert, Educational Technology Trainer
    • Malka Riell, Graduate Assistant
    • Nirvik Thapa, Graduate Assistant

Learning Applications Research Unit

  • Monique Scales, Application Support Analyst


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DSI Digital Growth

Karen Bollinger
Karen Bollinger
Assistant Vice President for Digital Growth
Karen has spent the last 25+ years building innovative marketing ecosystems in corporate, government, creative agency and higher education settings. Most recently, Karen worked at the University of Illinois, where she served on the Chancellor’s Marketing Advisory Council and as chief marketing and communications officer for the Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning and Illinois Online.  Some of Karen’s accomplishments include bringing together a highly decentralized campus to create an aggregate institutional brand for more than 90 online programs and hundreds of courses. This included a new website, program microsites, market research, identity standards, content strategy, digital marketing plan and the building, integration and deployment of a new customer relationship management (CRM) system used for both online and campus-based programs.  Karen and her husband, Eric, have two daughters, Drew and Claire.


  • [vacant], Sr. Administrative Specialist
  • Patrick Pluscht, Executive Director, DSI Digital Growth
  • Caleb Walter, Digital Marketing Program Mngr
  • [vacant], Sr Programmer Analyst
  • Taylor Abramson, Marketing Coordinator
  • Kiera Gerner, Graphic Designer, Non-Student Help - Hourly
  • Mohak Kothari, Office Assistant (Part-time)
  • Jamie Mullis, Office Assistant (Part-time)
  • Emily Ross, Office Assistant (Part-time)


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DSI Enterprise

Samantha Nikolai
Samantha Nikolai
Director, DSI Enterprise
Samantha (Sam) Nikolai is the Director of Enterprise for the University of North Texas Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation. With over a decade of experience in education and strategic partnerships, Sam has a passion for connecting industry leaders to academic institutions. Since assuming her role in August 2019, Sam has cultivated partnerships with notable organizations such as Coursera, the Dallas Cowboys, Liberty Mutual, and Cinemark, among others, to create meaningful collaborations and connect students and faculty with innovative opportunities. Through her work, Sam has helped bridge the gap between academia and industry, paving the way for the next generation of leaders and innovators.
  • Stephanie Myers, Digital Strategist
  • Indra Bhagat, Sr. Program Project Manager
  • Kevin Huang, Online Student Success Coordinator
  • Tami Russell, Program Project Coordinator
  • Jim Hoffman, Program Director, Energy Industry Finance & Accounting Continuing Education Programs
  • Denise Belmonte, Digital Strategist Intern (Part-time)
  • Divya Thailam, Student Assistant (Part-time)


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DSI Learning Analysis and Digital Research (LADR)

Tania Heap, Ed.D.
Tania Heap, Ed.D.
Director of Learning Research & Accessibility
Dr. Tania Heap is the Director of Learning Research and Accessibility based in the Center for Learning Experimentation, Application, and Research (CLEAR) at the University of North Texas (UNT). She has been involved in online and technology-enhanced learning initiatives in different capacities for over 15 years. Her background is in practice-based research in learning technology, design and methods in social-behavioral-educational research with human participants, digital accessibility and ADA compliance testing, faculty development, and instructional design for high-enrollment online classes and MOOCs.
  • Audon Archibald, Data Analyst
  • Graduate and Undergraduate Interns
  • Faculty Fellows


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Office of the Vice President for Digital Strategy and Innovation Organizational Chart

Click below to see the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation organizational chart in PDF and accessible text versions.