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Thursday, Jul 31, 2014

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Deborah Gearhart

Photo courtesy of: Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

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Gearhart appointed vice provost for e-learning and strategic partnerships


Executive Vice President and Provost Pam Benoit announced the appointment of Deborah Gearhart as vice provost for e-learning and strategic partnerships. Gearhart was selected for the position after a national search.

“We set our sights very high. The individual we were looking for had to have a deep commitment to academic quality, significant experience in helping faculty master multiple teaching platforms, and the demonstrated ability to manage a complex organization facing a highly competitive national environment. Dr. Gearhart met all of these requirements and more,” said Benoit. “We are fortunate that she has decided to help lead our e-learning efforts as well as the ongoing development of our community college partnerships.”

Gearhart is currently the director of eTROY at Troy University. In her present position, she manages the operations of 36 online undergraduate and graduate degree programs. Her responsibilities encompass policy development, budgeting, assessment, and staffing. She also has worked in e-learning at Dakota State University and Pennsylvania State University.

Gearhart has a Ph.D. in Education from Capella University, an M.Ed. in Adult Education and an M.P.A. from Pennsylvania State University, and a B.A. in Sociology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She has actively published and presented throughout her career on issues such as “technoethics” in education, learning theory as it pertains to e-learning, and course design and instruction.

Benoit indicated that eLearning OHIO has been transitioning to a service-oriented unit designed to meet the needs of colleges, campuses and their faculty. She credited Ed Yost, who has acted as the interim executive director of eLearning OHIO since September, with keeping the focus on the new orientation.

“Ohio University created a number of high demand programs before other universities began to realize the potential of offering courses using multiple teaching platforms,” said Benoit. “The leadership and the staff of what was then called University Outreach put us on the e-learning map. We are now focused on the development of a unit that has the capacity to promote learning, faculty development and student success.”

In the area of strategic partnerships with community colleges, which will also be part of Gearhart’s portfolio, Benoit stated that she hopes to see a continuation of the work undertaken by Dan Evans, vice provost for strategic initiatives.

“Dan and his staff have done an outstanding job at developing relationships with community colleges and we want to be able to build on their efforts,” said Benoit.

Gearhart indicated that she understands the needs of the University when it comes to e-learning and community college partnerships. She feels confident that with the help of the e-learning staff and leadership across the institution, she can contribute to Benoit’s vision of a supportive learning environment for students and faculty.

“I am excited to join Ohio University to serve as the vice provost for e-learning and strategic partnerships,” said Gearhart. “Ohio University has long been a leader in distance education and e-learning and I feel privileged to join this time-honored University. I look forward to the opportunity to help move e-learning and strategic partnerships forward.”

Gearhart expects to begin her work at Ohio University in early July.