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Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Award Supports Formation of Office of Digital and Online Learning

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation Award Supports Formation of New Office

Dear Howard University Community,

We are pleased to announce the receipt of a $240,000 award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in support of a Digital Learning Infrastructure and Knowledge Sharing Support grant. This funding will facilitate the formation of the Office of Digital and Online Learning and allow the University to continue developing a centralized online instructional strategy, online courses consistent with that strategy, as well as processes for online program development and implementation. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation considers Howard University a leader among HBCUs in this area. 

Morris Thomas, Ph.D., PMP, current director of CETLA, will serve as the inaugural lead for the newly established Office of Digital and Online Learning in the Office of the Provost. As assistant provost for digital and online learning, Thomas will oversee the selection and implementation of digital learning tools as well as coordinate matters pertaining to online course and degree program development. This new office will also facilitate our efforts to create an effective and efficient digital learning infrastructure that supports the Howard Forward strategic plan. 

Thomas brings more than 18 years of experience in higher education and was recently appointed as a member of the Quality Matters Academic Advisory Council, a nationally recognized organization formed to ensure the quality of online and blended course design. Provost Anthony Wutoh commented that “Dr. Thomas brings significant experience and background in online instruction that will be helpful as the University prepares for expanding our digital learning enterprise and future plans for degree and/or certificate granting programs online.”

Thomas will continue in his present position as director of the Center of Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CETLA). As always, CETLA will continue to carry out its mission of providing instruction for Howard faculty in all teaching modalities as well as the learning management system.

“I am very passionate about digital and online learning and honored to serve Howard University in this capacity,” said Thomas. “Online learning is one of the fastest growing sectors of higher education, and it is imperative to invest in a digital learning infrastructure because it provides the opportunity to increase equity in academic access, flexibility and engagement for current and prospective students, ultimately expanding our reach.”

We look forward to Dr. Thomas’ continued contributions to the University in this additional role.

Excellence in Truth and Service,

Anthony K. Wutoh, Ph.D., R.Ph.,

Provost & Chief Academic Officer