Julian Alvarez III
As Labor Commissioner, Julian Alvarez represents the interests of more than 13 million Texas workers with respect to TWC services and ensures that their concerns are considered in all Commission actions.
Prior to his appointment, Commissioner Alvarez served as president and CEO of the Rio Grande Valley Partnership fostering relationships and coordinating programs to advance regional economic development and employment opportunities. He also served as a Texas regional director for the U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchinson advising on legislative and policy issues related to South Texas. Prior to that, Alvarez served on the South Texas Drug Task Force as a state trooper for the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). After his service with DPS, Alvarez inspired stewardship and leadership as the director of college information for Texas State Technical College in Harlingen.
Commissioner Alvarez earned a Bachelor of Science in secondary education from Texas A&I University in Kingsville.
Parminder K. Jassal
Her experiences are driven by cutting-edge gigs at Fortune 50 companies such as at Ford Motor Company, Atlantic Richfield Oil Company, and Lucent Technologies along with co-founding start-ups like Technology Solutions and Consulting, Bombay House Restaurant, and East Indian Trading Cafe. Prior to the Institute for the Future, Parminder was named Founding Executive Director of ACT Foundation in 2012. She oversaw the organization’s unique role as an operating foundation, strategic investor, and incubation partner in support of the New Learning Economy and Rise of Working Learners (published).
Dr. Jassal previously served as a program officer supporting postsecondary success for low-income young adults at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. At Gates Foundation she helped design and scale a college-operating model titled “Pathways to Credentials and Careers” and led the “Learn and Earn” movement among employers and education providers. Having lived in three countries, fluently speaking three languages, and having worked and served on boards across the globe; Parminder’s life itself reflects the world economy. Born in London, she graduated from high school in India and is a product of public higher education in the United States.
Judy L. Arriaga
Previously, Alex was a technical advisor and chief of behavioral studies in the Air Force Research Laboratory and deployed to Afghanistan, where he was awarded a Bronze Star and worked for the senior U.S. and NATO commander. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., he worked for over 10 years as an IT and research and development (R&D) program manager for space-related systems in the Air Force and several national agencies. He is also a certified Program Management Professional (PMP).
Annie Biggs, Texas OnRamps Senior Project Manager, has 5+ years of experience in higher education administration, with particular expertise in project management, student leadership development, and large-scale programming. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Mercer University in Macon, GA, and Master’s Degree at The University of Texas at Austin.
Bob Collins is the Vice President of Financial Aid at Western Governors University (WGU). In the late 1990’s, Collins was the Acting Director of Financial Aid at the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a consultant for WGU in the very early stages – before the first students enrolled. Collins has 35+ years of experience in student aid administration and was a member of the Higher Education Committee of 50 as a national thought leader on higher education policy; participated on numerous negotiated rulemaking committees; and actively engaged in the Distance Education Demonstration Program with the US Department of Education, circa 2000.
Dr. Ann Crawford has earned the following degrees: Ph.D., Texas A&M University (2002); MS(N), University of North Dakota, 1992; BSN, University of North Dakota, 1982. She has served as Professor, College of Nursing, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor, Belton, TX, 1996-present. Dr. Crawford has served in the United States Army, Reserve Component-Current Rank Lieutenant Colonel (LTC), 1993-present. She is also a Registered Nurse, Emergency Department and Critical Care; Kings Daughter’s Hospital/Scott & White Hospital. 1995-present.
Dr. Han has helped launch the first Competency-based Education online program, Accelerated Programmer Training, and the first Baccalaureate hybrid program, RN-to-BSN, for Austin Community College.
He holds a Ph.D. in Literature, Theology and the Arts from Glasgow University and has taught in a variety of Higher Education disciplines. By credit hours, Dr. Heit has over 25 years experience and has graded more than 30,000 papers (yes, he counted!).
During his time in the classroom, Dr. Heit saw limits in his ability to help students consistently improve their writing. So, in 2014 he left academia and founded Ecree, a technology company that specializes in a proprietary, interactive writing tool for students and teachers.
Dr. Heit is on a mission to nurture a generation of better writers and thinkers with widespread access to easy and adaptive writing software. With the Ecree technology, he’s found way to provide consistent, timely, and quality feedback to students ensuring they develop lifelong skills for success.
Nicholas Hinojosa serves as an instructor and Assistant Program Chair for the South Texas College Computer Science Department. As a Quality Matters (QM) certified Peer Reviewer, Mr. Hinojosa guides the CS department in developing online courses that adhere to the highest standards. He has an Associate of Science in Mathematics, a Bachelor of Applied Technology in Computer and Information Technologies, Master of Science in IT, and certifications in networking (Cisco) and cybersecurity (SANS/GIAC). Mr. Hinojosa teaches competency-based education courses on various subjects in computing. Additionally, he has taught online and traditional courses in programming, networking, web development, and database management.
Lieutenant Colonel Kulpa holds an education degree in Applied Learning and Development from the University of Texas, and an MBA from Touro University. Prior to serving in his current role, Lieutenant Colonel Kulpa has served as a flight instructor, managed the Air Force’s Undergraduate Flying Training program training, and worked in flight training curriculum development.
Frank C. Lee
- Mississippi State University (2004-2005)
- Carson-Newman University (2006-2009)
- University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) (Summer 2013)
- Namseoul University (Fall 2014 – Sabbatical)
- Fairmont State University (2009-2015, Tenured Associate Professor & IBM Coordinator)
The summary of his recent academic and professional activities include:
- MSIS Program Coordinator & Director, 2016 – Present
- IBM Academic Initiative Coordinator, 2013-2015
- Chair, Fairmont State University VP/CIO Search Committee, 2014
- Editorial Review Board, Journal of Computer Information Systems, 2012-Present
- Editorial Review Board, International Journal of Web-Based Learning and Teaching Technologies, 2015-Present
- Certificate of Completion of QM Peer Review Course
- Certificate of Completion of Applying the QM Rubric
Michael Manning was Executive Director of Experiential Learning Programs for Apex Outcomes Consulting, LLC. located in Scottsdale Arizona. In this role, Michael was responsible for creating partnerships with educational administrators and faculty from high schools, community colleges, and universities to develop and launch new programs focused on critical thinking. Prior to joining Apex Outcomes, LLC, Michael was Special Advisor to the Associate Dean of Student Entrepreneurship and Innovation at Arizona State University (ASU). At ASU, Michael collaborated with faculty, advisors, and senior administrators across 4 ASU campuses to develop course curriculum and workshops focused on critical thinking and communication. Michael co-taught a graduate class for PhD students entitled “Theory2Practice.” He was also enrolled in the Doctorate of Leadership and Innovation Program at Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU until his move to Texas for family reasons.
leadership. Exploring opportunities for inclusivity in education is the primary focus of her ongoing research and studies. She is passionate about creating opportunities for all students to be successful in today’s fast-paced world by focusing on designing
dynamic curriculum that meets the needs of individual learners.
Prior to joining UTSA, Dr. Mitra worked as an educational technologist with a focus on testing, training, prototyping, and curating innovative methods of content delivery in new platforms and applications. Her contributions in these initiatives focused on identifying gaps and driving agile innovation.
Judith has served in a variety of roles at the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, including Director of Innovation and Project Director for OER. She also was founding Executive Director of the Institute for Competency-Based Education at Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Prior to shifting her career focus to the broader landscape of policy and practice in online education and alternative learning models, Judith enjoyed a fifteen-year career as a professor and department chair, teaching at such schools as the University of Arizona and University of Missouri.
Judith holds a Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.
George Swindell is a Faculty member for the Texas A&M University – Commerce TAB CBE Organizational Leadership program. George has a M.S. in Applied Mathematics and another in Clinical Psychology. He has been teaching Math and Psychology for over seven years. George has been working with the TAB CBE Organizational Leadership program for three years teaching math and psychology core curriculum.
Jorge Valenzuela is a tenure-track Criminal Justice Faculty and CJ campus coordinator at the El Paso Community College where he delivers instruction on-ground and on-line modalities. He ventured into the field of education after 31 years of police work. He is a firm believer on the potential for on-line education for nontraditional students and has taken advantage of innovative pedagogical tools to enhance the learning experience.
Emily Wade, Texas OnRamps Associate Director of Enrollment, Operations, and Technology, has 15 years of experience in higher education administration, with particular expertise in research, counseling, project management, and program planning and evaluation. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree at Trinity College in Hartford, CT, and Master’s Degree at The University of Texas at Austin.