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Meet the Miami Online Team

Miami Online (formerly eLearning) ensures that Miami's online and hybrid learning is committed to the same academic excellence that residential students receive. We partner with faculty and departments by facilitating program and course development, promoting best practices for teaching online, and supporting innovative approaches to learning.

Leadership and Administration

Greg Brainard, Senior Director of Miami Online

Greg Brainard has more than 15 years of higher education leadership experience with nationally ranked and recognized universities and 14 years in business ownership of multi-state companies. He has led the way for groundbreaking teaching and learning programs at multiple institutions. Greg has proven leadership in student success programs, quality teaching delivery, higher education operations, and nationally ranked program development, to name a few.

Greg has actively taught undergraduate and graduate courses since 2007 in human resources management, business development and operations, and various other business-focused content areas. In addition, Greg has mentored new faculty at previous institutions and trained thousands of existing faculty members at nationally recognized universities. Greg's passion for higher education student success, distance education teaching techniques, online learning technologies and tools, increased learning administration, and more will support Miami's ongoing mission and vision.

As a husband and the father of four children, Greg strongly believes in family and the importance of education for future generations.

"Develop a passion for learning. If you do, you will never cease to grow." – Anthony J D'Angelo


Kim Cochran, Administrative Assistant

Kim is an enthusiastic and experienced administrative professional. An expert in organization and providing comprehensive support to Miami Online staff. For the past five years, Kim was the Program Associate for the Center for Teaching Excellence. Before that, she worked with Student Health Services. Outside of work, Kim enjoys spending time with her husband and four kids.

"The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched ― they must be felt with the heart." ― Helen Keller

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Kristine Smith, Professional Education Program Lead

In October 2019, Krissy Smith transitioned into the role of Professional Education Program Lead (Micro-credential Program Manager) within Miami Online. After serving 5+ years in the Miami University Regionals Office of Career Services & Professional Development, Krissy has become well-equipped to build relationships across campuses and with businesses in our surrounding communities. Further, she appreciates the importance of preparing and developing students to be specialized and competitive in the 21st-century job market and supports these educational needs. She is honored to bring alternative credential opportunities to Miami University.

Krissy received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of Cincinnati (2011), her M.Ed. in Student Affairs from Miami University (2014), and an MBA from Miami University (2019). She notes that after completing several positive psychology courses in her undergrad, she focused on celebrating strengths and recognized her passion lies in helping people develop and capitalize on their talents.


Learning Design Team

Jenny Culbertson, Learning Designer

Jenny comes to Miami University/Miami Online with a Bachelor's degree from Tiffin University in Business Administration/Marketing. She worked in manufacturing and banking prior to going to graduate school for a Master's in Education. She taught Business and Technology courses for 18 years. It was during this time Jenny realized how much she enjoyed course development and online learning. Most recently, Jenny completed a Master's of Science in Instructional Design & Technology. She has instructional design experience with a private investment company, with the University of Tennessee's office of information technology, and developing coursework for the Air Force.

Through professional experience and education, Jenny has continually refined her skills and discovered new ways to engage learners. Jenny believes that creating optimal user experiences is especially significant in the learning process, for both instructors and students. With targeted course design strategies, proper implementation of learning technologies, and the availability of quality training resources, instructors can focus on course content and student learning. Jenny’s approach to designing and developing learning experiences relies heavily on Bloom’s Taxonomy classifications with an emphasis on cognitivism, constructivism, and social learning theories.

Jenny is a mom to three wonderful young men: Isaac, Ben, and Evan. She is also mom to her two dogs: Rhett & Rufus. Jenny loves the outdoors, especially biking, hiking, and kayaking. Her hobbies are flower gardening, reading (especially historical fiction), baking, and she recently joined the Peloton craze.

Elizabeth Farrar, Learning Designer

Elizabeth Farrar is a Learning Designer with over 15 years of experience working in higher education. She holds a Master's Degree in Education with a focus on Instructional Technology. Before joining eLearning at Miami University, Elizabeth was the Director of Instructional Technology at Austin Community College and the Assistant Director of the Foreign Language Center at The Ohio State University. She has worked in curriculum development as well as classroom teaching.

Elizabeth can offer guidance and training to faculty on effective and efficient instructional solutions based on the latest innovations and research in teaching and learning. She strives to empower all faculty to facilitate engaged, student-centered learning, whether in the classroom or online.

Elizabeth's lifelong learning passion is foreign languages. She has formally studied German, Dutch, and Chinese and has dabbled in Italian, French, Russian, and Spanish self-study.

"Education is not the learning of facts but the training of the mind to think."


Tom Luo, Learning Designer

Tom holds an M.A. in Instructional Systems from the University of Central Florida in Orlando. As a Learning Designer, Tom helps design and develop online courses and works with faculty on integrating technologies into online classes. He is also interested in online learning in global settings. Before joining the Miami Online team in 2009, Tom worked as an Instructional Technologist at the University of North Carolina Asheville.

Outside of work, Tom enjoys sports, hiking, and watching sci-fi movies. Sometimes he can also be found walking with his two sons and their dog in Oxford.

"Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire." – William Butler Yeats 


Michael Stram, Learning Designer

Michael (Mike) is a Learning Designer with a lifelong passion for learning. He holds a Bachelor's Degree of Science in Visual Communications Technology, as well as a Master's of Education in Instructional Design. Prior to coming to Miami, Mike worked as an educator at a non-profit organization devoted to helping people with disabilities build independence and transfer into the working world. This experience helped him find his life goal of building equitable learning experiences for everyone, no matter what their barriers to learning are.

Another one of Mike's many passions is graphic design, which is something he loves to bring to the learning materials he designs. He strongly believes that instructional design and graphic design are all about organizing information in people-friendly ways.

Outside of work, Mike is a proud cat parent to an orange cat named Chalupa. He loves all things nerdy and spends most of his time painting miniatures, cooking, and playing video games.

"Education breeds confidence. Confidence breeds hope. Hope breeds peace." -   孔夫子 (Confucius)

Katherine Marusic, Professional Education Learning Designer

Katherine Marusic has almost twenty years of experience in higher education, in both faculty and instructional design roles.  Experienced in online instruction from a teacher's perspective, she has a passion for designing easy-to-navigate engaging courses which lead to measurable outcomes for the learner. 

Her experience with diverse groups of adult learners allows her to utilize best practices in teaching and learning to create and design courses for various audiences across a wide range of content areas. In her faculty role, Katherine taught a wide range of undergraduate integrated marketing courses including advertising, public relations, and consumer behavior. 

Joining the Miami University Online Learning team is also a homecoming for Katherine, as her undergraduate degree is also from Miami University. With Master's degrees in both Communication Theory and Methodology and in Education, this combination of communication and education skills translates into a unique perspective combining pedagogy with practicality.  

Outside of work, Katherine enjoys spending time with her two children, traveling, and various outdoor activities in the Cleveland Metroparks. One of her new pandemic pursuits was becoming a plant parent to a wide range of indoor houseplants, all of which are still thriving!

"The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character–that is the goal of true education." –Martin Luther King, Jr.

Cyndi Govreau, Instructional Design & Technology Specialist

Cyndi Govreau has worked in higher educations for more than 20 years. Before coming to Miami University, she was the project manager for online learning at a for-profit institution with 28 campuses across the country. She earned her master's degree in teaching and learning fully online.

As an instructional designer, Cyndi can help faculty transform courses into engaged and creative learning opportunities. Working with faculty allows her to share her passion for engaged learning and positively impact each student. We all know that no single approach works for every student, every course, and especially not for every faculty. Cyndi finds what works for you in your course and ensures that it aligns with the learning objectives.


Anthony Jones-Scott, Instructional Design & Technology Specialist

Anthony has worked in higher education for more than fifteen years in various roles at several institutions ranging from small private colleges to large public universities. He has also worked in the Labor movement, the publishing industry, and for a national co-op and outdoor outfitter on both the east and west coasts of the US. In that time, he has taught university courses both online and face-to-face and numerous workshops for faculty and staff.

In addition to undergraduate degrees in Political Science, History, and Psychology, he holds a Master's degree in Curriculum Studies and is completing a doctoral degree.

Anthony enjoys helping faculty explore new ways of teaching that allow them to build upon their strengths and implement innovative techniques and technologies that are proven to support student success.

When not at work, Anthony is most likely found on a local squash court, in a sea kayak on one of the Great Lakes, watching old films, or reading yet another book that convinces him that the world runs on myth and ideology.

"To delve into history entails, besides the grievance of hard work, the danger that in the depths one may lose one's scapegoats." ― Jacques Barzun, The Energies of Art: Studies of Authors, Classic and Modern

Ben Kitchen, Learning Design & Communications Coordinator

Ben is an experienced communications coordinator whose responsibilities include website building, written communication, content development, and technical support. His duties also concern the coordination of design and development processes and overall online operations. Before his current role, he worked in our office as an administrative assistant and contributed to internal marketing efforts. 

Before working at Miami, Ben worked at the University of Texas at Austin's University Writing Center. He has a digital media and journalism background with an undergraduate degree in Electronic Media from the University of Cincinnati. He has contributed to digital marketing agencies, non-profit organizations, and mass media companies.

"The paradox of education is precisely this – that as one begins to become conscious one begins to examine the society in which he is being educated." — James Baldwin

Lisa Sheard, Student Support Specialist

Lisa Sheard joined Miami Online in November 2021. In her role, she'll support student success through technical support, data analysis, and faculty training.

Learning Media Team

Ben Hartman, Video Production Specialist

Ben is one of the video producers on the Miami Online team. He's been working in some facet of video production for the last 15+ years, most of which was spent in Boston, MA. He earned his MFA in Film Production from Boston University. Ben has worked as a video producer, director, cinematographer, editor, teacher, and account manager for various institutions, companies, and projects. Ben joined Miami University in October 2018; he enjoys working with faculty to create engaging and informative video content.

Ben enjoys learning — particularly as it pertains to practical, hands-on skills. As a relatively new owner of an old home with a large established garden and a small flock of chickens, there is no shortage of skills out there for Ben to improve! And, as a father of two small children, he gets to not only facilitate their learning and play but also see their love of learning grow and develop. Beyond that, Ben loves cooking and baking bread. Between the house, kids, and making food, there's not much room left over, but when there is, he tries to keep feeding his appreciation of the cinematic arts.

"Hello, babies. Welcome to Earth. It’s hot in the summer and cold in the winter. It’s round and wet and crowded. At the outside, babies, you’ve got about a hundred years here. There’s only one rule that I know of, babies—God damn it, you’ve got to be kind." – Kurt Vonnegut


Rachel Valerio, Video Production Specialist

Rachel Valerio produces professional-level instructional videos with Miami faculty. As a lifelong learner, she loves learning a little bit about each faculty member’s field and helping harness their passion and express it to their students. Rachel has nearly 15 years of video production experience both within and outside of higher education. Before joining the Miami Online team, she worked for a PBS affiliate in Columbus for several years. Rachel earned dual Bachelor of Arts degrees from the Ohio State University in Film/Video Production and Strategic Communication. She also earned a Graduate Certificate in Interactive Media Studies from Miami University.

When Rachel isn't in the studio or roaming around campus with a camera, she's spending time with her husband, three young children, and Mini GoldenDoodle in Cincinnati. Although a farmer's daughter, Rachel kills every house plant she comes into contact with. Keep your ferns away!

"The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera." — Dorothea Lange


Josh Smith, Post-Production Specialist

Josh Smith studied filmmaking and video production at the Art Institute of Ohio-Cincinnati. He's worked as a Marketing Producer for WXIX and lead the video services department at Prestige AV & Creative Services. He's been recognized with a regional Emmy for his commercial work and has worked with notable brands such as Papa John's, Airheads, P&G, and others.

When he is not working, Josh can usually be found tinkering with technology and spending time with his wife and family. He considers himself a lucky guy who gets to wake up and play every day.

"There is nothing clever about confusion." — William Wyler


Tony Strader, Post-Production Specialist


Philip McDaniel, Videographer & Media Production Associate


Miami Online – Oxford

307 Laws Hall
551 E High St
Oxford, OH 45056
(513) 529-6068