Title of the proposal
Organizing for Student Learning and Success
Rolando Méndez Fernández, Assistant Professor Communications + Academic Director | Erica Sigmann Baker, Assistant Professor English
Experienced Public Relations professional and Organizational Communications consultant in the higher education and nonprofit sectors. Professor at the Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Ponce Campus, teaching Advertising and Marketing courses and leading the Transdisciplinary Department of Online Studies. Involved in local and national projects related to honors education, digital literacy, community empowerment and rights advocacy.
Certified Marketing Executive® and Certified Sales Executive® by the Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI). Has a Bachelor’s in International Public Relations and a Master’s in Advertising. Currently working on a postgraduate degree in Higher Education Internationalization and a doctorate in Management and Organizational Leadership.
Erica Sigmann Baker
Assistant Professor of English in the Transdisciplinary Department of Online Studies at Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Ponce Campus. Focused on courses of the General Education Program. Current projects include online course development and production of didactic materials for the Ponce campus Online Learning Center. Coordinates assessment of the English component of the General Education Program and the English Virtual Laboratory. Has a Master’s degree in English- Applied Linguistics, Bachelor’s degrees in Comparative Literature and Italian, and Certificates in online instruction and teaching English as a Second Language.
General description of the initiative or project
In January 2014, the Inter American University of Puerto Rico’s Ponce Campus constituted an academic department dedicated exclusively to online education. This initiative was intended to increase the academic achievement and retention of the campus’ approximate 1,300 online students. During academic year 2014-2015, the department’s director, along with a group of 24 professors from diverse disciplines, worked on several projects to achieve these goals. Projects included the adoption of custom e-books, the creation of podcasts, the development of student-centered academic projects, and a new student immersion/mentoring program, among others.