Dr. Belle Wheelan currently serves as President of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges and is the first African American and the first woman to serve in this capacity. Her career spans over 30 years and includes the roles of faculty member, chief student services officer, campus provost, college president and Secretary of Education. In several of those roles she was the first African American and/or woman to serve in those capacities.
Dr. Wheelan received her Bachelor's degree from Trinity University in Texas (1972) with a double major in Psychology and Sociology; her Master's from Louisiana State University (1974) in Developmental Educational Psychology; and her Doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin (1984) in Educational Administration with a special concentration in community college leadership.
She has received numerous awards and recognition including four honorary degrees; the Distinguished Graduate Award from Trinity University (2002), and from the College of Education at the University of Texas at Austin (1992); Washingtonian Magazine's 100 Most Powerful Women in Washington, DC (2001); the AAUW Woman of Distinction Award (2002); the Suanne Davis Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development's Distinguished Lecturer Award (2007); the John E. Roueche National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development's International Leadership Award (2010); and the AACC Leadership Award (2011).
She holds and has held membership in numerous local, state and national organizations including Rotary International; Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; the American College Testing, Inc., board of directors; American Association of Community Colleges' board of directors; the Lumina Foundation for Education, board of directors; and the President's Round Table of the National Council on Black American Affairs.
Dr. Wheelan attributes her success to hard work, endurance, tenacity, and being in the right place at the right time. She recognizes that prayer and support from family and friends make anything possible.
Dr. Wheelan is the mother of an adult son named Reginald.
Dr. Vance Burgess provides direct management and oversight of both the Academic Technology Center (ATC) and Division of Continuing Education. Through collaboration with his colleagues, Vance develops strategies, procedures and resources to achieve ATC, Online Campus and Continuing Education goals and objectives. Dr. Burgess is the primary point of contact for the UWF Online Campus and monitors all of the data for online student growth, retention, and support services satisfaction as well as designing and implementing a coordinated online marketing and student support system that attracts prospective students and improves satisfaction for UWF's fully online students (30% UWF FTE; 22% UWF students are online-only).
Vance collaborates with campus offices and academic departments on current issues such as the new USDOE State Authorization requirements for out-of-state online students. This year Dr. Burgess created a new OPS position and staffed it with an outstanding new employee, Cathi Churchwell who directed the new state authorization process to a point where UWF is fully authorized in 36 states and the District of Columbia; has partial authorization in 11 states; and pursuing authorization in the last three states. All this was accomplished in 9 months with less than $3,000 to states expended thus far.
Cathi Churchwell is a retired U.S. Department of Defense administrator and U.S. Department of Justice Supervisory Legal Assistant, Cathi Churchwell has held the position of Distance Learning State Authorization Program Specialist with the Academic Technology Center (ATC) at the University of West Florida since November 2011.
In approximately 9 months and for just under $3,000, UWF has been successful in obtaining authorizations or exemptions in 37 states/DC, conditional approval in 11 states, and is not planning to pursue authorization in the final three states at this time. Due to UWF's success with this program, Cathi occasionally provides assistance for navigating state authorization to other institutions in the Florida State University System (SUS).
Cathi is also a volunteer at WUWF, a Public Media Station, for the Sightline Program, a daily reading service for the visually impaired.
Cathi and her husband Marc, a retired U.S. Navy submariner who is currently the Director of the Military Veteran Resource Center at UWF, are passionate about supporting military active duty members, veterans and their families. They have two adult daughters, Sarah (Mike) of Philadelphia, TN, and Erin (Chris) of Atlanta, GA. They also have two rescued canine babies, Molley and Spencer. Marc and Cathi enjoy traveling, camping, fishing and bike riding.
Dr. Carol A. Berry, a native of New Jersey, was selected as the Director of the Defense Activity for Non-Traditional Education Support (DANTES) in April 2010.
Dr. Berry received a baccalaureate degree in Biological Sciences from Hofstra University in 1978, a Master of Science degree in Education from Hofstra University in 1979, and a Doctor of Education degree from Regent University in 2006.
From 1979-2003, Dr. Berry served as a Education Services Specialist with the Navy's Voluntary Education Program, where she was in charge of education programs in Keflavik Iceland, Norfolk and Virginia Beach VA. An innovator, Dr. Berry is responsible for a number of process improvement projects that have become standard throughout the Navy's Voluntary Education Program. Of significant note was the development of an INTERNET needs assessment survey and analysis program that has become the standard for all Needs Assessments in the Navy.
In September of 2003, she assumed the reins as the Southeast Regional Director, Navy College Programs. She oversaw the management and execution operations in Navy College Offices throughout the southeast quadrant of the US, including those in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, Guantanamo Bay Cuba, Mississippi, Maryland, Washington D.C. and Louisiana.
Dr. Berry received the Department of the Navy Award for Meritorious Civilian Service for her contributions to Navy Voluntary Education Services, while serving at NAS Norfolk. She was awarded the Kenn Smith Award for Navy Campus Excellence - Educator of the Year, and has been recognized with numerous awards and letters of commendation for outstanding performance and innovative projects. She was recently awarded the President's Award at the Virginia ACME 2010 and named as the Most Notable Alumna by the School of Education, Regent University.
Her professional affiliations include Past President, Virginia Advisory Council on Military Education; member of Council of College and Military Educators (CCME), Hampton Roads Voluntary Education Advisory Group, the American Counseling Association, Military Educators and Counseling Association, National Career Development Association, and National Employment Counselors Association.
She has served on a number of Task Force projects at various levels of the DoD and Navy, including - DOD Principles of Distance Learning, DANTES Education Services Advisory Panel, MIVER Program Task Force, Navy Voluntary Education - Navy College Team 2000, Navy College Program (NCP) Advisory Board, Hampton Roads Voluntary Education Advisory Group - serving as Chairperson and as chair for the Strategic Planning and Library & Technology Sub-Committees, and the Electronics Curriculum Advisory Committee for Tidewater Community College.
A published author, she has written several articles in professional publications and has published her dissertation titled "The Assessment of Learner Autonomy and Persistence in Adults Enrolled in Online Courses". She has authored numerous articles for local and base newspapers concerning various education related topics, programs and services provided through the voluntary education programs.
Dr. Berry has been a regular presenter at the DoD Worldwide Conferences and other professional settings. She has been cited in "Remembering those who have made a difference in United States Military Voluntary Education"; by Dr. Clinton Anderson, published July 2006.