The Office of Distance Learning is committed to putting faculty and students in the best position to succeed. During 2016, the Office was reorganized to better achieve the mission and goals of the Office. As a result, three units emerged within the Office: (a) Administration and Finance, (b) Instructional Support, and (c) Online Student Relations.
Administration and Finance
Luke Dowden, Ed.D., Director
Dr. Luke Dowden joined the University of Louisiana at Lafayette in 2010 and established the university’s Office of Distance Learning. Dowden’s career in higher education began in 2000 as a student affairs professional working with student organizations and transitioned into recruiting adult and online students. During his time at the Consortium for Education, Research and Technology of North Louisiana (CERT), he discovered his true passion, which is creating access for adult learners to postsecondary institutions through innovative course and degree program design and delivery. Dr. Dowden relishes in the chance to meet new people, identify their talents, and use those to build a better system of higher education.
Under Dowden’s leadership, the Office of Distance Learning at UL Lafayette earned the 2013 Online Learning Consortium (formerly the Sloan Learning Consortium) award for Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching. Dowden was also honored in 2014 as the inaugural recipient of the Online Learning Consortium Bruce N. Chaloux Award for Early Career Excellence in Online Education. Aside from creating and implementing the university’s ULearn faculty professional development for online teaching program, significant achievements under Dowden’s leadership include the creation of an electronic course design and certification process, facilitating the development and delivery of new online degree programs, and creation of a suite of EDUTools for online course delivery.
Dowden previously served as the Executive Director for the Center for Adult Learning in Louisiana (CALL) from 2008 - 2013, chaired the Steering Committee for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) in 2015, and currently serves as Vice Chair of the Executive Council of WCET. During 2015, Luke had the opportunity to complete an internship with the UL Lafayette Continuing Education Department and learned how to create and sustain a self-support unit.
Dowden earned bachelor’s in History and a master’s degrees in Adult Education (Northwestern State) before earning his Doctorate of Education in higher education administration in 2009 (Nova Southeastern University) He is a 2010 Graduate of the Penn State Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL). He also is a member of the graduate faculty in the College of Education at UL Lafayette.
Stephen McGoffin, Business Manager and Budget Analyst
Stephen McGoffin joined the Office of Distance Learning in December 2015 as its first Business Manager and Budget Analyst. Stephen is responsible for managing the Office of Distance Learning budgets, advising the Director on all financial matters, coordinating oversight of the distance learning revenue share plan and department accounts, tracking and assisting in evaluation of all contracts with external vendors managed by Distance Learning, and creating and operationalizing pro-formas to manage the cost and revenue of online programs. Prior to joining the distance learning staff, he was a small-business owner for three years and spent time as a consultant with the USDA and Louisiana Small Business Development Center. Prior to this work, he worked as an internal auditor for a respected firm in New Orleans for three years. Stephen holds a Masters of Business Administration from Loyola University of New Orleans and a Bachelor of Science in Management with a Finance concentration from Tulane University.
Mona Rivoire, Assistant Program Specialist
Mona T. Rivoire joined the Office of Distance Learning in the summer of 2011 as an Administrative Assistant 3. Mona tracks all expenditures for the Office of Distance Learning account and all E-Learning Support Fund G accounts. She manages the State Authorization process to ensure UL Lafayette is compliant with the regulations of states in which we have enrolled online students. Mona responds to questions sent to the Office email account and helps coordinate meetings and events.
Claire Arabie, Ed.D, Instructional Support Manager
Claire Pettit Arabie joined the Office of Distance Learning as an Instructional Designer in July 2013. She earned the role as Instructional Support Manager in Fall 2015 and leads a team of staff dedicated to supporting faculty in delivering high quality hybrid and online learning experiences. She is a former UL Lafayette Outstanding Graduate with a B.S. in Mathematics, a Master in Education, and a Doctorate of Education in Educational Leadership. Claire is a hard-working and enthusiastic Ragin’ Cajun with traditional and online teaching experience. She brings her technical expertise in instructional design and curriculum development back to the university.
Under Claire’s leadership, the Instructional Support team works with faculty to create effective and engaging course designs and to provide professional development pathways for faculty to earn one of the required certifications to teach hybrid and online courses at UL Lafayette.
Carey Hamburg, Sr. Instructional Designer
Carey Hamburg is a senior instructional designer in the Office of Distance Learning after previously serving in the role as E-Learning Media Specialist. As a Senior Instructional Designer, he leads projects to improve the functionality of the learning management system, Moodle, and the integration of tools within it. He is responsible to provide timely one-to-one faculty support on challenging hybrid and online course design issues. He excels in supporting positive vendor relations and evaluating project details. Carey also delivers training on EDUTools and Moodle related functions.
His background is in Art and Technology Integration. Carey is a graduate of UL Lafayette and completed an MA in Communication at the University of South Alabama, with a focus in Multimedia Training Development. He has worked in a variety of educational settings as an instructor of both art and technology. Carey enjoys seeing the connections that emerge as educators and students explore the creative and effective possibilities of educational technology.
Carey is also a certified Emergenetics trainer and can deliver that professional development series on thinking preferences to small and medium sized groups. He uses this knowledge to help the Office assemble whole brain teams to plan the best outcomes for projects.
Mike Williams, Instructional Technologist
Mike Williams joined the Office of Distance Learning in January of 2017 as the Instructional Technologist. In this role, Mike works with EduTool vendors and UL Lafayette IT services to ensure the smooth functioning of all instructional tools supported by the Office of Distance Learning. Mike also works with the rest of the Instructional Support Team to support faculty, evaluate instructional tools, and promote technological innovations.
Mike is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars College at Northwestern State University, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts with a concentration in Scientific Inquiry, and also of Southeastern Louisiana University, where he earned a Master of Education degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. In over a decade of work in education, Mike has served as a high school counselor, professional academic advisor, career counselor, and university instructor.
Angela Lee, Instructional Designer
Angela Lee joined the Office of Distance Learning as an Instructional Designer in October 2015. She has experience facilitating professional development and brings a background in online and blended instruction, Moodle administration, and course design. Angela is a graduate of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, earning a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, then continuing on to earn a Master of Science in Instructional Technology from McNeese State University. She has fourteen years in higher education as an instructor and administrator.
Angela looks forward to working with faculty to create quality online and hybrid courses.
Online Student Relations
Laura Gerdes Colligan, Online Student Relations Manager
Laura Colligan joined the Office of Distance Learning in March 2016 as the first Online Student Relations Manager. She is tasked to develop, implement and manage general and program specific marketing campaigns for hybrid and online learning opportunities at UL Lafayette. Additionally, she is to manage the process to produce timely and effective responses to prospective student inquiries and to guide staff in creating and managing content for websites and campaigns. The review of market research provided by the Office’s research partner is another primarily role for her. Having spent 9 years in the Communications Division of the Louisiana Attorney General’s Office, Laura is a public relations professional with extensive experience in communications, website management, marketing, community outreach, program planning, constituent services, student affairs, and media writing. She graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelors of Science and served as Student Assistant Recruiter for the last two years of her undergraduate experience.
Carla Fontenot, Online Student Support Specialist
Carla Fontenot joined the Office of Distance Learning in April 2016 as the Online Student Support Specialist. Her primary role is to effectively assist prospects interested in UL’s online degree programs and to increase enrollment. Carla’s background in sales, operations and customer service places her in the ideal position as first point of contact for prospective online students. Her passion for helping people achieve their goals is apparent upon meeting her. She is a graduate of University of Louisiana at Lafayette (2011).The Office of Distance Learning is committed to putting faculty in the best position to succeed. Contact us with questions and program and course development and design; faculty professional development and certification; eLearning tools and technology; and online student success.