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2024 Spring Innovation Series Event

LSU campus

"The 60-Year Curriculum:” A New Metaphor for Teaching and Learning

Monday, February 26, 2024 from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
LSU Lod Cook Conference Center; 3848 W Lakeshore Dr, Baton Rouge, LA 70808

Times are changing in the blink of an eye, but with it come incredible opportunities for higher education like never before. The 60-year curriculum, a phrase coined by Dr. Gary Matkin (dean of the Division of Continuing Education and Vice Provost of the Division of Career Pathways at the University of California at Irvine) highlights the crucial need to prepare people to have a lifelong series of careers. We are in an era where higher education can and needs to be a lifelong companion in this learning, whether that is offered by continuing education units, 2-year institutions serving diverse age groups, or 4-year research institutions. The change opens the doors for innovation and access: classrooms that welcome all ages, new and engaging ways to learn, and a fresh look at when in life we might decide to go to college. Come hear from our great line of speakers on what our today and tomorrow holds for learning at every stage of life!

Hosted by the LSU Online & Continuing Education (OCE) team, the “Innovation Series” provides the LSU community with opportunities to initiate conversations through exploring new developments, trends, and best practices in the realm of online and continuing education. These events aim to:

  • promote a culture of innovation and transformational change

  • explore and discuss trends in higher education and their impact on LSU

  • ensure the delivery of quality online educational experiences that meet our learners' expectations

Our upcoming Innovation Series event is scheduled for Monday, February 26th from 8:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the LSU Lod Cook Conference Center.

If you have any questions regarding the event, please contact Hala Esmail at

Event Recording

Click on the ^ icon at the bottom of the video player to view the Table of Contents and navigate to a specific session. You can use the toggle buttons in the top right of the video player to watch the recording in a different format (e.g., picture-in-picture, side-by-side, switch the video and slide view).

Event Agenda


8:30-9:00 a.m.



In front of Noland Ballroom

9:00-9:15 a.m.

Welcome & Opening Remarks


Noland Ballroom

9:15-10:15 a.m.

Keynote: The Future is Global


Noland Ballroom


Dr. Fanta Aw

Demographic shifts, globalization, digital transformation, and world crises are reshaping higher education. This keynote will highlight the major global forces at play and the opportunities for higher education teaching, learning and student success and outcomes in an increasingly interdependent world.

10:15-10:30 a.m.


(Coffee & Tea)

10:30-11:30 a.m.

Beyond Degrees: Microcredentials, the Workforce, and a Future-Proof Education


Noland Ballroom


Dr. Luke Dowden

Join us for a dynamic presentation on the intersection of microcredentials, higher education, and workforce development. We'll examine the changing landscape of adult learning, delve into innovative credentialing initiatives, and uncover opportunities for universities to play a vital role in building a talent pipeline for a variety of industries. Discover impactful partnerships, explore business engagement models, and hear how a learner-centered approach can empower lifelong learning.

11:30 a.m.-12:45 p.m.



Noland Ballroom

12:45-1:45 p.m.

Navigating Lifelong Learning: The Crucial Role of Higher Education in Workforce Development (Panel Discussion)


Noland Ballroom


Lisa Verma, Senior Director, Professional Development & Community Programs; LSU Online & Continuing Education


  • Karen Carey, Founder/Lead Systems Strategist; Structure Over Chaos, LLC
  • Dr. Schuyler Jarrow, Director of Learning & Development; Entergy
  • Robert C. (Chris) Newton, Manager of Workforce Development and Training; Cajun Industries Holdings, LLC
  • Stacey Thibodeaux, Owner/CEO/Managing Partner; EcoScience Resource Group, LLC

In an era where the landscape of work is continually evolving, understanding the pivotal role of education in acquiring and refining skill sets is more crucial than ever. Join us to hear from a panel of industry professionals, each representing diverse sectors, as they share their valuable insights on how higher education can impact and ultimately shape lifelong learning opportunities for workforce development. Through a thought-provoking discussion, attendees will gain a deeper understanding of the various avenues through which education, both formal and informal, contributes to professional growth and development.

1:45-2:00 p.m.

Closing Remarks

2024 Spring Innovation Series Speakers

Dr. Fanta Aw

Dr. Fanta Aw

Executive Director and CEO, NAFSA: Association of International Education

Fanta Aw, PhD, is a transformational leader in international and higher education administration. She currently serves as the Executive Director and CEO of NAFSA: Association of International Education, having previously held its presidency from 2013 to 2016. NAFSA is the world’s largest membership association dedicated to the advancement of international education and exchange.

Dr. Aw is dedicated to addressing pivotal issues. She often serves as a keynote speaker sharing her expertise on various topics including internationalization; international educational exchange; diversity, equity and inclusion; women in leadership; global trends; geopolitics; public policy; and immigration. Dr. Aw is also a champion for innovation and transformation in the realm of higher education. She speaks to the importance of humanity coexisting with AI and the social responsibility of educators in preparing and nurturing the next generation of empathetic leaders.

Dr. Aw dedicated over three decades to American University (AU) in Washington, D.C., where she earned a BS in accounting, an MA in public administration with a specialization in organizational development, and a PhD in sociology with a focus on international education, social stratification, and transnational migration.

During her extensive tenure at AU, Dr. Aw held several leadership positions, including the Vice President of Undergraduate Enrollment, Campus Life, and Inclusive Excellence. She has been recognized as an award-winning lecturer while holding the title of Hurst Senior Professorial Lecturer at AU's School of International Service. In 2023, her significant contributions to AU were honored with the Neil Kerwin Alumni Achievement Award. Dr. Aw also actively participates as a member of the Global Advisory Board of Times Higher Education and has previously chaired the ETS TOEFL board.

Originally from Mali, West Africa, Dr. Aw has lived in both East and West Africa as well as the United States, gaining a broad and diverse cultural perspective. Her passion for global experiences has led her to explore nearly 60 countries. Her knowledge has been acknowledged by major global media outlets, such as CNN, Agence France Press, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Chronicle of Higher Education, National Public Radio, Middle East Broadcast Corporation, Washington Business Journal, WAMU, Washington Diplomat, and China Daily.

Dr. Luke Dowden

Dr. Luke Dowden

Chief Online Learning Officer, Alamo Colleges District

Dr. Luke Dowden is the Chief Online Learning Officer for the Alamo Colleges District. Through Alamo Colleges Online, he leads and supports capacity-building initiatives at all five community colleges so each may gain a greater market share of online learners in San Antonio and South Texas. He joined the Quality Matters Board of Directors in 2021 and is a  current member of the QM Board’s Executive Committee, serves on the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s Learning Technology Advisory Committee, and is a member of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) Council for Credential Innovation Leadership. He is an Executive Council member for the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET). Dr. Dowden has been honored four consecutive years by either the Emerging Leaders Program as a Trusted Leader (2019, 2020) or by Alamo Colleges Academy for Leadership Success (ALAS) as an Essential Leader (2021, 2022). In May 2022, Dr. Dowden was honored as one of three recipients of the new Excellence in Leadership Practice Award from the 2022 Emerging Leaders Class.

He was named to the Online Learning Consortium's distinguished Class of Fellows in 2022. Dr. Dowden was honored in 2023 by 1EdTech with a Leadership Award in Digital Credentials.

Dr. Dowden earned a bachelor’s in History and a master’s degree in Adult Education from Northwestern State University before earning his Doctorate of Education in higher education administration in 2009 (Nova Southeastern University). He is a 2010 Graduate of the Penn State and Online Learning Consortium Institute for Emerging Leaders in Online Learning (IELOL).

2024 Spring Innovation Series Panelists

Karen Carey

Karen Carey

Founder/Lead Systems Strategist; Structure Over Chaos, LLC

Karen Carey, affectionately branded as "The Systems Diva®" is on a mission to make business tech less fearful and challenging for small business owners. With an impressive career spanning over three decades in Information Systems & Technology, Karen has been an influential educator for 16 years at the University of Phoenix, teaching in the College of Information Systems & Technology. Her career path has taken her through various roles including that of an IT Director, IT Technology Manager as well as an IT Auditor in the government sector of Louisiana and as an Information Technology Instructor, where she played a key role in nurturing the next generation of IT professionals.

In 2020, Karen ventured into entrepreneurship, founding Structure Over Chaos. This initiative allows her to blend her deep knowledge of technology with her business insights. She focuses on developing efficient back-office systems, formulating digital marketing strategies, and optimizing business processes, thereby enhancing the productivity and profitability of her clients.

Beyond her professional pursuits, Karen is an avid fan of the New Orleans Saints and Southern University Jaguars football teams. She enjoys exploring new destinations, immersing herself in literature, and sampling the offerings of new restaurants, although she prefers sticking to her favorite cuisines. At heart, Karen is a devoted family woman, cherishing her roles as a wife, mother, grandmother, sister, and friend, known for her warmth and approachable demeanor.

Dr. Schuyler Jarrow

Dr. Schuyler Jarrow

Director of Learning and Development; Entergy

SchuyLer Jarrow is currently the Director of Learning and Development for Entergy. In this role, Schuy and her team are responsible for the design and implementation of a broad range of learning and development programs throughout Entergy’s footprint, while also ensuring alignment with the strategic direction of the company.

Prior to her current role, Schuy held various roles within the Talent Management organization such as Sr. Manager of Employee Development and Reskilling, Sr. Manager of Talent Management and Inclusion, Head of Talent Management Operations, Head of Talent Management Programs, Manager of School Relations, and Manager of Training and Development. Within these roles Schuy has lead teams of HR professionals responsible for standardizing recruitment and talent acquisition, crafting talent sourcing strategies that align levels of outreach with hiring needs, co-designing system programs and curriculum, revamping Entergy’s Performance Management system, creating Entergy system core competency models, creating and managing a talent mobility and relocation program, oversight of the pre-employment testing program, as well as standing up a new talent management organization for a newly formed joint venture. Schuy has also held roles within the HR Business Partner organization where she was responsible for providing HR consulting services to the Transition to Competition Group and the West Monroe Telephone Center.

Prior to Entergy, Schuy was an Organizational Development Manager for Piedmont Natural Gas Company in Charlotte, North Carolina and also worked as a Senior Organizational Development consultant for a boutique consulting firm in San Diego, California. As a consultant, she partnered with various Fortune 500 companies within a wide range of industries, including Financial Services, Utilities and Energy Delivery, Technology, Healthcare, Telecommunications, and Real Estate in the areas of organizational development, program evaluation, cultural diversity, leadership development and evaluation, succession planning, competency assessment, and psychometric measurement. Schuy has over 26 years of progressive human resources experiences, assisting a broad base of Fortune 500 companies in both the profit and not-for-profit sectors. She’s earned her SHRM Senior Certified Professional (SHRM – SCP) certification and is a certified HR professional (PHR). She holds a bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Counseling, a master’s degree in Experimental Psychology (emphasis in Quantitative Analysis), and finally a second master’s degree and PhD Degree in Industrial Organizational Psychology. Schuy holds various certifications and has presented at National Conferences on pre-employment testing. In her spare time, she is an adjunct faculty member at the University of Maryland where she currently teaches scholars in the Doctor of Business Administration program. She is a graduate of the New Orleans Regional Leadership Institute as well as Entergy’s Executive Leadership Program at the University of Maryland – Robert H. Smith School of Business.

Robert C. (Chris) Newton

Robert C. (Chris) Newton

Manager of Workforce Development, Cajun Industries Holdings, LLC

Chris, a retired Navy Senior Enlisted Leader, is an HR professional with over 30 years of comprehensive human resource management experience including recruitment, employment, selection, retention, and training and development. He represents Cajun and the construction industry on Construction Education Advisory Committees and has created partnership with High Schools, Technical Schools, Community Colleges, Universities and transitioning veterans providing career employment opportunities in the construction industry along with the development of craft, safety and construction management professionals.

Chris is a special advisor to the National Center for Construction Education and Research (NCCER) Build Your Future (BYF) campaign and he holds a seat on the Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc National Committee for Workforce Development. Chris graduated Columbia College with a Bachelor’s Degree, Tulane University with a Masters Degree in Liberal Arts and Louisiana State University with a Masters Degree in Construction Management.

He has two daughters whom he spends his off time with traveling and playing sports.

Stacey Thibodeaux

Stacey Thibodeaux

Owner/CEO/Managing Partner; EcoScience Resource Group, LLC

Stacey Thibodeaux is a graduate of LSU and is a founding member and the CEO of EcoScience Resource Group. EcoScience provides Innovative Advanced Process Training Systems to the refining and chemical industries worldwide. In their 25 years in business, they have provided services to every ExxonMobil Refinery in the world and over half of their Chemical Facilities. They have also provided services to many other Majors such as Shell, Marathon Petroleum, TotalEnergies and Valero including writing key corporate standards for procedures and operating manuals that these companies use to run their businesses company-wide. Headquartered in Baton Rouge, EcoScience employees over 100 Technical Writers, Technical Specialists, and Visual Artists.

Event Photos