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Distance Learning welcomes five new staff members

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In the span of only a couple of months, five new staff members have come aboard the Distance Learning team.

We hope their presence will allow our department to serve you better whether you're designing your exploring online learning for the first time or a certified faculty member. 

Our newest addition to the Instructional Support team, Diana Wu, Ph.D., joined us just this month from Virginia Tech where she served as assistant director for the Office of Instructional Technology.

Diana Wu

Responsibilities in her previous post — assisting faculty and students in incorporating instructional technology to enhance teaching, learning and research — serve her well in her new role as Instructional Designer.

In addition to her experience in instructional technology and support, Diana has also taught in online and face-to-face classrooms, and is skilled in a number of learning systems, tools and course management systems.

Diana graduated from Carson-Newman College with a Bachelor’s in English Literature and Education; in 2008 she earned her Master’s in Instructional Design and Technology from Virginia Tech. Diana earned her Doctorate in Instructional Design and Technology in 2014 from Virginia Tech.

As part of our Administrative team, Dawn Benoit recently made the move from part-time to full-time as Program Manager.

In her role, Dawn strives to support existing programs and to coordinate development of new programs in conjunction with program leaders.Dawn Benoit

She also assists academic program coordinators with course progression and student advising.

Previously, Dawn owned her own business, identifying individual clients’ strengths and personalities to advance their careers, and providing support to business clients through strategic planning and development.

Just as she spent her previous life building up clients, she’s passionate about building our existing programs and adding more online programs so that the University of Louisiana at Lafayette is a key catalyst in helping as many people as possible achieve their personal goals.

“I love that we are helping people grow in their careers, even if they work full time," she says.

Ruth Zhang

Also in administration, accountant Ruth Zhang joins our staff from athletics, where she began in 2014. Ruth brings 20 years of extensive accounting knowledge to her role as Budget Analyst, where she monitors expenses in the academic departments E-Learning Support Funds and analyze opportunities for improvement and investment.

A graduate of the University of Alabama, Ruth expects to earn her Master’s in Accounting from UL in Summer 2018, putting her at the forefront of accounting knowledge and expertise.

Our Communications and Enrollment division doubled with the addition of Retention Specialist Laura Zito and Communications Strategist Hope Aucoin

Laura previously served as the department’s Online Student Support Specialist from 2013 to 2016. In that role, she developed and refined processes and relationships to respond to prospective and current online student inquiries and issues while providing outstanding customer service to students and other internal and external customers.

Laura now provides ongoing support to all students enrolled in online degree and certificate programs, ensuring newly enrolled students transition easily into the online learning environment and create ways to encourage and track student success in online programs and courses.

Laura is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (Political Science, 2001) and brings nearly 20 years of sales, operations and customer service experience, as well as a passion for online student success, to her role.

In the new communications role, Hope works closely with new and existing staff members to inform the University community and beyond of the great things happening and to come in Distance Learning.

Hope Aucoin

Hope graduated from UL Lafayette in 2011 with a bachelor’s in Mass Communications - Journalism, and worked with several local print outlets, including the Daily Iberian and, most recently, The Daily Advertiser, before shifting her focus.

In her role, Hope not only conveys the mission of distance learning, but engages with the community of faculty and students central in the program’s ongoing success.

Find out more about the rest of our team on our Staff page.

Keep up with all things happening in Distance Learning by joining our faculty Facebook group