Dr. Sasha Thackaberry
Vice-President, Student Success, Pearson
Beyond Resilience: Leveling Up to an Anti-Fragile Future in Higher Ed
Dr. Sasha Thackaberry serves as the vice-president for student success at Pearson, where she leads the learning design and student retention teams for 25 universities. She was formerly the vice-president for online and continuing education at Louisiana State University (LSU), leading fully online programs, support for online and blended courses, and continuing education that encompasses professional development, K-12 and lifelong learning. She built an internal OPM with a stackable, pathway strategy moving from supporting 804 students to over 12,000 across the family of LSU institutions.
Previous to her current post, she was the assistant vice-president for academic technology, course production and new learning models at Southern New Hampshire University. She is the chair of the executive committee for the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET), and the co-chair for the Council Chief Online Learning Officers through UPCEA, on the board for Quality Matters, and on the advisory committee for the national CHLOE survey, and is on the 7 Things Advisory Committee for EDUCAUSE.
She has served as a consultant for K-12, community college, non-profit and corporations in instructional design, professional development and elearning ecosystems. She has also held a variety of roles spanning the field of e-learning and innovation, including as the director of eLearning technologies, manager of next generation learning and senior instructional designer at Cuyahoga Community College, and as the online learning coordinator at WVIZ/PBS ideastream, a designated edtech agency for the state of Ohio where she ran online programs for professional development of in-service K-12 faculty statewide.
Dr. Thackaberry has published articles in Inside Higher Ed, EDUCAUSE Review, eLearn Magazine, Distance Learning, e-Literate, WCET, evoLLLution, and the League for Innovation’s Learning Abstracts. She is the co-recipient of the 2013 MOOC Award for Excellence through the Open Education Consortium, and a 2010 Innovation of the Year Award through the League for Innovation. Sasha holds a PhD in higher education administration with a research focus in competency-based education as well as an MAT from Kent State University. Her BFA in dance is from the University of Akron.
In our post-pandemic world, how can institutions best build beyond resilience, focusing on the future state of a flexible and responsive higher education organization? Looking at examples from both inside and outside of higher education institutions, we’ll examine how to get to an anti-fragile future faster. Now, all institutions have had a crash course in online learning creation, old models—like hyflex and synchronous online—have had a sudden and forceful renaissance. Though many IT divisions were ready to support this, not all academics were fully prepared. Significant learnings came out of this disruption, but as the world increasingly heads back to “normal”, will that focus on moving fast, cutting through red tape and focusing on the student experience remain?
Other external pressures grew as well, increasingly focused on workforce outcomes and short-form learning opportunities. These are easy to imagine but difficult to implement and knit into the fabric of an institution. There are those at the forefront of the field in pursuing these newly-sized and multi-modal approaches in a future-proofed way.
What if our learning institutions could take a dramatic leap forward, becoming more relevant, more impactful, more meaningful yet? How can we create the learning institution of the future‚fusing the technical needs with the learning experience? From the student learning experience to the organizational and cultural focus areas needed to build to that experience, real-world examples and innovative approaches will be introduced along with a challenge: What happens beyond resilience, and how can we set up our organizations to get there?