Faculty Collaboratives Project

Overview of the Project


Texas is one of five states (along with CaliforniaIndianaUtah, and Wisconsin) participating in the first phase of the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ (AAC&U) Faculty Collaboratives project.

The project is being led by LEAP Texas and is sponsored by AAC&U, with funding from the Lumina Foundation and is focusing on creating a state-based, faculty-led “innovation hub” dedicated to advancing curricular reforms that lead to deeper student engagement, and higher retention and graduation rates.

The Faculty Collaboratives project aims to:

Faculty and Assessment Fellows


The Texas Hub brings together experienced educators passionate about enhancing the student learning experience.

The project Director and five LEAP Fellows are working to make a number of proficiency initiatives more accessible, meaningful, and informative for Texas faculty and academic staff. Here you can find out a little more about our fellows and also learn about their recommendations for visitors to the Great State of Texas.

    • DR. LORAINE PHILLIPS, Texas State Liaison
      Loraine is Assistant Vice Provost of Institutional Effectiveness and Reporting at the University of Texas at Arlington, and Chair, LEAP Texas. Dr. Phillips works with faculty and staff to lead institutional effectiveness and accountability efforts. She interprets policies and implements practices of the University to various constituents, including accreditors, the State, and the University of Texas System. She works closely with faculty and staff in program and general education assessment, focusing on authentic assessment practices.
      Dr. Phillips currently serves as the first elected chair of LEAP Texas, a voluntary coalition of over 60 Texas institutions, including all six systems of higher education in the State, with the common purpose of strengthening general education in Texas, assessing it authentically, and promoting high-impact practices within institutions across the State. Her State service also includes participation on the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee commissioned by The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).
      Prior to her role at The University of Texas at Arlington, she was Director at Texas A&M University, where she worked with faculty and staff on assessment initiatives, serving on the Core Curriculum Committee of the Faculty Senate, among others.
      Dr. Phillips earned her Bachelor degree from Indiana University and a Masters degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree from Texas A&M University, with an emphasis in literacy and higher education administration. She is a certified mediator.

      “Visitors to the Great State of Texas should plan to stop by the “little creamery in Brenham” and taste Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla!”

    • DR. DOYLE CARTER, Faculty Fellow
      Doyle serves as a Professor of Kinesiology and Director of the Center for Community Engagement at Angelo State University.  Doyle has served as a department chair, college dean, and chief academic officer after beginning his career as a public school teacher.  In 2010, he was appointed as the Director of the Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) and led ASU’s QEP development process. ASU’s QEP, entitled CONNECT!,was approved in 2013 by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). As Director of the Center for Community Engagement, he now is responsible for implementing the CONNECT! Program, which includes several LEAP principles and strategies. The focus of that work is to assist faculty in designing, implementing, and assessing learning strategies that engage (CONNECT!) students with the campus and community. As director, he was also responsible for developing ASU’s application for the Carnegie Community Engagement Classification. ASU achieved this recognition in January, 2015. He has recently been selected as a member of the Editorial Board for the Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship and as the QEP Lead Evaluator for a SACSCOC member institution in Louisiana.  He is involved in his community though several local organizations.  Doyle currently teaches two undergraduate kinesiology courses, a freshman seminar course, and supervises kinesiology interns.

      “The one thing that visitors to Texas must see is a West Texas sunset.”

    • DR. JENNIFER EDWARDS, Faculty Fellow (@drjtedwards)
      Jennifer serves as the Assistant Vice-President for Student Success and Multicultural Initiatives and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Tarleton State University. She is the 2012 recipient of the Tarleton State University Jack and Louise Arthur Award for Excellence in Teaching, 2011 recipient of the Tarleton State University Barry B. Thompson Award for Excellence in Service Award, and two of Texas A&M University System Student Recognition Awards for Teaching Excellence in 2011 and 2012. Edwards also serves at the executive director of the Texas Social Media Research Institute (a social media initiative based at Tarleton State University).

      “If you are visiting Texas, you must visit downtown Fort Worth. It has something for everyone, food, culture, and fun!”

    • DR. JONATHAN LEE, Faculty Fellow
      Dr. Jonathan Lee, Professor of History, started his faculty career at San Antonio College in fall, 1997. He was a member of the College Board’s Advanced Placement World History Redesign Commission, 2006-2007 and served as Co-Chair of the Social Science Vertical Team as part of the Texas College Readiness initiative in 2007-2008. Dr. Lee spent the last five years overseeing the creation, development, growth, and institutionalization of the Honors Academy of San Antonio College, a two-year academic program open to first year in college students with a 3.25 GPA and College Level Reading and Writing Skills. The program provides an integrative curriculum culminating with a capstone project, faculty and peer mentoring, a full time advisor, and a center for co-curricular and extracurricular activities. He also served on the initial American Historical Association’s Tuning Project which brought together faculty from two and four year public and private colleges and universities to develop common learning outcomes and frameworks for history degrees. He recently worked with the staff of the AHA to organize two conferences that grew out of the project – “Teaching Introductory History Courses in Texas,” the most recent hosted by San Antonio College this past August. Dr. Lee is currently working with the Dean of Performance Excellence to update and oversee the college’s Unit Review process and its methods for defining and measuring Program Outcomes.

      “Visitors to Texas should schedule a day exploring the recently designated UNESCO World Heritage Site – The San Antonio Missions – to learn more about early Spanish colonization efforts in the region. They should especially tour the other four missions south of Mission Valero (the Alamo) and the remains of the irrigation system that allowed these settlements to survive and sustain a small but viable population that would eventually evolve into the great city of San Antonio.”

    • DR. NAKIA POPE, Faculty Fellow
      Nakia S. Pope is the new Director of Academic Assessment and Compliance at UT-Health San Antonio. There, he supports the university’s efforts to integrate assessment into teaching and learning and works with accreditation efforts of all kinds. Previously, he was Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence and an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy and Humanities at The University of Texas at Arlington. A philosopher of education by training, he still writes, publishes, and teaches when he can in that area.

      “Texas is a marvel in many ways, but we love the variety and quality of the food. Whether it’s bar-be-que at Pecan Lodge in Dallas, margaritas on the back patio of Joe T. Garcia’s in Fort Worth, breakfast tacos in San Antonio, chicken fingers from Layne’s in College Station, kolaches from a Czech bakery, or even the occasional Whataburger, there is very good food everywhere you go.”

    • DR. JEANNE TUNKS, Faculty Fellow
      Dr. Jeanne Tunks is the Director of the Core at the University of North Texas (UNT), and has served in this position since August 2014. During that time, she has worked with many faculty members from across the campus to support the development of signature assignments in the core that apply the VALUE rubrics. She has included UNT in the Intrastate Collaborative with LEAP Texas and the multi-state collaborative with AAC&U. As a LEAP Texas Fellow she plans to continue her work with signature assignment development and include faculty from both UNT and other universities around the state. Her PhD is in Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Research and she enjoys the challenge of such a large curriculum opportunity at UNT.

      “Texas is so large, varied, and open that the possibilities to develop and bring great ideas to Texas is boundless, as is the beauty of the sunsets on the prairies.”

    • DR. TERRY DI PAOLO, Hub Director
      Terry serves as Dean of Distance Education and Student Success at Dallas County Community College District’s LeCroy Center. He moved to Texas three years ago having spent nearly a decade working as an academic at the UK’s Open University (he still struggles with saying “y’all” and “schedule”). He’s a specialist in online learning and teaching and his research/publications cover aspects of distance learning, international credit and qualification systems and more than a passing interest in the sociology of higher education. Terry has worked for Dallas County Community College District for nearly two years on a range of projects covering online curriculum and the technological aspects of assessment where his work has been recognized with a 2014 District Innovation Award.

      “This trumped Dallas Art Museum as my one recommendation for visitors to Texas – you need to stop off at RoundRock Donuts just north of Austin!#BestDonutsInTheWorld”

    • DR. LARRY KING, Assessment Fellow
      Dr. Larry J. King is the director of the Office of Student Learning and Institutional Assessment, and a professor of Communication at Stephen F. Austin State University (SFA). Dr. King also serves as the vice chairperson of LEAP Texas, and was a member of the Undergraduate Education Advisory Committee during the development of the new Texas Core Curriculum. He chairs the Core Curriculum Assessment Committee at SFA, serves as a member of the Core Curriculum Advisory Committee, and provided leadership for the development and implementation of SFA’s plan for assessment of the core. He is an Institutional Effectiveness evaluator for the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges. Dr. King has also served as president of the Faculty Senate at Lamar University, chair of the Faculty Senate at SFASU, and state president of the Texas Association of College Teachers. He has held full-time faculty appointments at Olivet Nazarene University, Lamar University, and Stephen F. Austin State University.

      “I am a BIN (Born in Nacogdoches). My family came to the “Oldest Town in Texas” in the 1830’s. One of my ancestors was named General Houston King. Yes, his first name was General.”

    • DR. CHRIS DUKE, Assessment Fellow
      Chris serves as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Accreditation and Assessment at San Jacinto College for which overseeing the annual, college-wide general education outcomes assessment project is a primary responsibility. Dr. Duke has worked closely with faculty to implement full-scale, course-embedded LEAP-based assessment of general education outcomes across all core courses. The 2014-2015 project collected 29,900+ student documents; 1,646 documents were sampled and assessed three by a group of 175 faculty evaluators against three VALUE rubrics following over 650 hours of rubric calibration. Dr. Duke has experience calibrating and facilitating the use of 10 different VALUE rubrics and has lead the development of LEAP-based rubrics for Personal Responsibility and Social Responsibility. His other responsibilities at San Jacinto College include curriculum development and maintenance, program learning outcomes assessment, administrative outcomes assessment, program review, and survey research. Chris has also taught as an adjunct for almost ten years during which the online version of his course was recognized by both Quality Matters and the Blackboard Catalyst Award. Dr. Duke’s formal training is in instructional design (M.A. University of Houston Clear Lake) and educational psychology (Ph.D. Texas A&M) with an emphasis on educational assessment, learning technology, and learning theory.

      “Visitors to Texas could spend a morning in the Houston Museum District, enjoy a picnic lunch in Hermann Park, visit the Houston Zoo in the afternoon, eat dinner in the Heights, and finish the day off with a performance in the Theater District; on their way home, they should be sure to drive through a few old, small Texas towns tucked away in the piney woods.”

Past Fellows


  • DR. MAUREEN (MO) CUEVAS, Faculty Fellow
    Mo serves as Associate Professor of Social Work and Director of the Worden School of Social Service at Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. She also serves as the BSW Program Director. Her primary research interests include distance learning and its effectiveness, cultural competency, first year programming and the scholarship of teaching and learning. Her work has appeared in several journals, including the Journal of Teaching in Social Work. the Journal of Learning Communities Research, Advances in Social Work, and The Mentor: An Academic Advising Journal. Prior to her work at OLLU, Mo was at West Texas A&M University in Canyon. There she was Director of the Teaching Excellence Center as well as the Coordinator for the First Year Seminar program. Mo and her family are enjoying exploring San Antonio after living for 12 years in the Texas Panhandle and enjoy all the museums, eateries, history, culture and especially the River Walk in their new home.
  • DR. LANA JACKSON, Faculty Fellow
    Lana serves as Professor and First-Year Experience Department Chair at Amarillo College. She also serves as Title V Director focused on course re-design of developmental education and general education courses focused on improving student success. She has served as director of Amarillo College’s Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) from which emerged the College’s First-Year Seminar that helps establish a learning framework for first-year students. She also serves in a leadership capacity for TransitionTX, a progression-to-college effort of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) which features the use of peer mentors in key services across student life and academic affairs. In addition, she developed and implemented the FYS Instructor Certification process which has been implemented as a train-the-trainer model across Texas community colleges.