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New Associate Provost is an Expert on Designing and Leading Innovations in Higher Education

Karen Vignare, PhD, an innovator in curriculum design and in the use of technology in learning, has been named associate provost and will lead University of Maryland University College’s new Center for Innovation in Learning. Vignare began her new post on June 3.

The Center for Innovation in Learning will be a laboratory for continuous improvements to the university’s curriculum, faculty development model and student support through its own work and through partnerships with high-profile organizations that will help further the work of the center.

“We are excited to match UMUC’s long history on the cutting edge of distance and online education with Dr. Vignare’s experience in leading innovation in higher education,” said Marie Cini, UMUC provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Through Vignare’s leadership, we are confident that the new Center for Innovation in Learning will become a vibrant and effective incubator of new ideas and practices to understand and improve online learning.”

Most recently, Vignare was director of project design and implementation at Michigan State University’s MSUglobal, where she focused on the use of open educational resources and competency-based approaches in international education, training and development.

For the past 12 years, Vignare has piloted and evaluated learning innovations related to curriculum design, pedagogical approaches and the application of educational technology to learning. Her work has been funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the Hewlett Foundation and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

Vignare has presented and published on a variety of topics, including international education, knowledge organization, evaluation and assessment of learning, online learning and blended learning.

“UMUC’s reputation in providing quality adult higher education is well established,” said Vignare. “And as we build the Center for Innovation in Learning, we will rely on the university’s strong foundation, including our tremendous data mining capabilities, the work done to redesign the undergraduate curriculum and the innovative curriculum approaches in the graduate school to springboard new approaches for improving learning and developing new learning models.”

As Vignare ramps up the activities of the Center, particular areas of focus will be developing new models for diagnostics that assess students’ skills and readiness for college, program designs that emphasize learning by doing, adaptive learning course designs and methods for competency-based education.

Vignare earned her doctorate in computer technology and education from Nova Southeastern University, a Master of Business Administration from the Simon School at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) and a Bachelor of Science in political science and economics from Frostburg State University (Md.).