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  • Why "On Earth" Are We Are Doing this?

    Simply because we strongly believe that the power of online learning will have a positive and indelible impact on our global society.  Imagine the possibilities if students in the United States could study the environment with other children in Hong Kong. Or study their French homework with a friend in Paris that wants to improve on her English. Dream of the possibility of a history student discussing their world events homework with a student they befriended in Iran. Consider the possibilities if our students truly engaged other students around the world, embracing different cultures and engaging in different languages. Maybe, just maybe, we can bring the next generation closer together so they better understand each other and the world outside their walls. We dream of a more educated and productive world and a less destructive one. Distance learning provides the resources and knowledge - Academiacs provides the social connections and academic platform to make these dreams a reality.


    Who Are We?


    Joan Kincaid
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    CEO, Pioneer and Distance Learning Evangelist

    Joan is a highly sought after consultant to technology start-ups and has over 17 years of experience as a management consultant for both start-ups to multi-national corporations.
    She has managed complex IT development projects and massive technology rollouts in several business sectors.







    David Siskin
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    Founder, Funder and Education Fanatic

    David has founded numerous companies throughout his career. Prior to founding Academiacs, David conceived, funded and launched Boomity, a SaaS based web marketing platform. David also pioneered the use of web technologies by starting the company Addwater to help retail organizations integrate the shopping experience across catalogue, web and in-store environments. David grew Addwater to over million in revenues in a three year time frame, and was recognized by the Business Times three years in a row as being one of the top ten fastest growing companies in the Bay Area. David’s initial foray into technology was as an early Partner in CKS Partners, an integrated marketing communications company known for pioneering the use of technology and new media in communications. As managing director of CKS Partners, he advised numerous companies such as McDonald's, Sears, MCI, Visa, United Airlines and Pacific Telesis. He lead some of the world's largest branding programs that included the redesign of McDonald's packaging worldwide and the United Airlines graphic identity on planes and in terminals. David worked with CKS from a start-up company to approximately million in revenues in five years, culminating with their initial public offering. CKS was the first web services company to have an IPO.

    David spent more than a decade as a consumer products marketing executive with Y&R, Grey Advertising and Foote, Cone & Belding. He was instrumental in the development and launch of major national consumer products and brands for such companies as Procter & Gamble, Johnson & Johnson and Clorox.



    Christoph Strobel
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    Interim CTO and Construction Worker

    An accomplished Software Engineer with thorough Knowledge of the software lifecycle, a driving need to solve problems, talent in presenting software solutions and encouraging team spirit. Proven track record of designing and implementing flexible solutions, which support frequent UI and functionality changes.





    Who Is Advising Us?


    Dr. Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar
    Dr. Hanna Rodriguez-Farrar is the Senior Advisor for Strategy and Planning for Dominican University of California.

    Dr. Rodriguez-Farrar is central to Dominican’s efforts to advance engaged learning and help lead Dominican’s key strategic initiatives. Prior to this role she was the Assistant to the President of Brown University. In this role, Dr. Rodriguez-Farrar ensured the effective functioning and oversight of the Office of the President and also served as a liaison to various dignitaries, public officials as well as to senior administrative, faculty, staff and student organizations.

    Dr. Rodriguez-Farrar has considerable experience in higher education having worked as Assistant Director for Education at Brown University’s Harriet W. Sheridan Center for Teaching and Learning, Research Associate at Harvard Business School, and Project Manager at Harvard University’s Center for Education Policy Research, Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Institute for Education Management, and the National Bureau of Economic Research. She was elected President of the Brown University’s Alumni Association and served as a Trustee on the Corporation of Brown University.

    Dr. Rodriguez-Farrar is co-author of numerous Harvard Business School Case Studies and Teaching Notes. She also has received numerous education honors and awards including the Presidential Award for Excellence in Teaching at Brown University, the Samuel Milton Nabrit Fellowship, and the Charles H. Smith Fellowship.

    Dr. Rodriguez-Farrar holds a master’s degree and doctorate in Art History from Brown University and an Ed.M from the Harvard Graduate School of Education. She completed her Ed.D. in Higher Education Policy and Leadership at the Harvard Graduate School of Education in 2013.


    Pete Wheelan
    Mr. Pete Wheelan serves as the Chief Executive Officer of InsideTrack, Inc.

    Recently named by Fast Company as one of the 10 most innovative Education companies in the world, InsideTrack works with colleges and universities to improve student and institutional success. InsideTrack’s one-on-one student coaching, process expertise, analytics and technology have been proven to increase graduation rates by an average of 15 percent and to enhance the overall student experience.

    Before joining InsideTrack, he served as Chief Operating Officer and Chief Revenue Officer of Blurb, Inc. He was a strategy consultant of The Boston Consulting Group. He has dedicated his career to leading mission-driven, high growth companies focused on helping individuals live up to their full potential. He has worked in both business development with Rand McNally & Company, and corporate law with Mayer, Brown & Platt in Chicago and Baker & McKenzie in Buenos Aires, Argentina. He built his own adventure travel company. He served as Chief Operating Officer of Unexplored Travel Network. He co-founded Adventureseek.com and served as its Chief Executive Officer. He served as Senior Vice President, Strategic Marketing and Business Development for Lonely Planet Publications, then the world’s largest independent publisher of travel content. His first Blurb book: A Retrospective: The First 12 Months in the Life of a Rambunctious Little Mugget Named Luke.
    Mr. Wheelan serves as a Director of InsideTrack, Inc. Mr. Wheelan has a B.A from Dartmouth College, an M.B.A from Kellogg Graduate School of Management, and a J.D from Northwestern Law School.


    Jay Tucker
    Chief Marketing Officer & Head of Programs

    Mr. Jay Tucker is a marketer, educator, and technology leader with over 20 years of experience in the technology, academic and entertainment sectors. At CTM, Jay is responsible for communicating the Institute's vision, thought leadership, educational offerings and major events to consortium members and the larger community. Tucker also handles CTM's forums and programs, including the semi-annual Executive Roundtable.

    In fall 2012, Jay launched Silicon Beach @ USC, a two-day event featuring a venture competition and a conference focused on innovation, investment, and new ventures related to technology and digital content. In 2010, Jay re-launched the Advanced Management Program, CTM's flagship five-day educational experience for rising leaders. Jay also helped to co-author the strategic plan for the Marshall School of Business.

    Previously, Jay spent over 10 years building out network infrastructure, developing websites, managing IT support and teaching students and educators to use interactive media. He has taught courses on technology management, technology convergence, digital media, and media literacy to professionals at corporations and non-profit organizations. Jay also speaks at academic and industry events, covering digital technologies and media, technology start-ups and other topics.

    Jay holds an MBA in Marketing & Media Management from the UCLA Anderson School of Management, an MA in Instructional and Learning Technologies from Columbia University, and a dual Bachelors degree from Stanford University in Political Science and African & Afro-American Studies. He resides in Santa Monica, CA.

    Aragon Burlingham
    Mr. Aragon Burlingham is the Founder and President of the We Teach Science Foundation.

    We Teach Science was formed in 2008 to inspire K-12 students to excel in math and science. The foundation runs a number of education-based programs currently in California and Texas. The core program is the Remote Tutoring and Mentoring (RTM) program, where they connect Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) professionals with students for regularly scheduled mentoring sessions. The long term goal is to work with all K-12 children in the US that require assistance to excel in math and science and education

    Aragon has spent the past decade in Silicon Valley in executive management positions at a diverse range of companies taking products from concept to production. He has a multidisciplinary engineering background, touching on fluid mechanics, structures, controls, and mathematical modeling.

    Throughout his college education and career, Aragon has worked with local schools in a volunteer capacity focusing on Math and Science education. Aragon switched careers in early 2008 to focus on his life long passion to enhance the math and science learning experiences of children. After spending an invaluable six months volunteering with the Pacifica School Volunteers, he decided to launch the We Teach Science Foundation to empower every engineer and scientist to help math and science teachers and students in their local schools.

    Prior to forming the We Teach Science Foundation, Aragon served as President of D2M, a product design consultancy. Preceding D2M, Aragon was Director of Operations at Speck Product Design, where he managed engineering operations in the Palo Alto and Shanghai offices. Aragon spent six years at RoboToolz, a manufacturer of laser-based measuring tools for the construction industry, managing R&D operations for products from concept development through design and transition to production in China.

    Aragon has a Master of Science in Aeronautics & Astronautics from Stanford University, and a Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from the University of Southern California.

    Paul Finkle, CMC, SPHR
    Mr. Paul Finkle is the President & CEO of SharedHR.

    Paul Finkle founded SharedHR as an HR consultancy in 1980. Over his 30-year career in management consulting, Paul has served as a senior advisor to thousands of entrepreneurial employers and has personally founded seven startups. Paul has always had an entrepreneurial passion, starting his first business painting houses while in high school. Since then, Paul has founded numerous ventures, negotiated over 300 labor contracts, and continues to serve as an expert witness in employment lawsuits.

    Paul has presented numerous seminars, written extensively in the field, and has lectured at universities including a regular guest lecture series at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Paul has served on the small business committee of the U. S. Chamber of Commerce. He currently serves on the board of The Consortium for Children as well as the advisory boards of several client companies.

    Paul loves to spend time with his wife and children. He can regularly be found in the outdoors, camping, hunting, or fly fishing. He has also lived abroad in both Spain and Argentina.

    Melanie Sperling
    Professor Graduate School of Education UC Riverside

    Melanie Sperling is Professor of Education and Chair of the UCR Graduate School of Education faculty. Her PhD is from the University of California, Berkeley. She combines interests in language and literacy, English education, and classroom practice to study issues of literacy and its development in and outside of schools. Related to these research interests, she teaches courses at the PhD and masters level in the Education, Society, and Culture program of the Graduate School of Education. She works with teachers across the country to improve the teaching and evaluation of reading and writing in classrooms. She has sat on and headed a number of boards in her field, has served as editor of a national journal on research in the teaching of English, and has won numerous awards for her work.

    Dr Sperling holds degrees in Doctor of Philosophy, Education, University of California, Berkeley, Master of Arts, English, San Francisco State University, Bachelor of Arts, English, and San Francisco State University


    Betty Jeanne Taylor, Ph.D.
    Assistant Vice President, Strategic Initiatives

    Betty Jeanne Taylor is assistant vice president for strategic initiatives within the Division of Diversity and Community Engagement (DDCE). Her responsibilities include work with university and school leadership in designing professional development curriculum as well as implementing practices for inclusive environments. Dr. Taylor also assists with university diversity planning and the division’s strategic planning process where she has served in the design, planning, and implementation phases and currently serves on the Campus Culture Council as well as the division’s Research and Best Practices Committee.

    On behalf of the vice president for diversity and community engagement, she collaborates closely with the leadership of the UT Elementary School and the UT Charter School in facilitating initiatives that advance the vision and mission of both schools.

    Her research and professional practice includes work with academic colleges and departments on diversity efforts including development of inclusive classrooms and faculty recruitment and retention initiatives. Dr. Taylor also has served in an advisory capacity for the Gender and Sexuality Center (GSC) since 2007, is a member of the International Office’s Longhorn DREAMers Project, and serves as a mentor for the Texas Hillel Launching Longhorns program. With 15 years of experience in higher education administration, Dr. Taylor has served as an instructor, facilitator, and administrator.

    Prior to joining DDCE, she served as a member of the management team in the Office of the Dean of Students as Director of Greek Life and Education where she also instructed undergraduate courses and conducted research for a national multi-university research project. During her tenure at the University, Dr. Taylor has been recognized for her service and leadership with honors including the Texas Parents’ Association Staff Merit Award and the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors Distinguished Service Award. Dr. Taylor holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration from The University of Texas at Austin. She received a B.S. in communication and a M.S. in higher education from The Florida State University. Her research interests include identity development and intersectionality, inclusive climates, and social justice education.

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    5501 Balcones Dr. Suite 138

    Austin Texas 78731


    San Francisco, California

    1005 Sansome Street, Suite 234

    San Francisco, California 94111