In the last two decades, we have witnessed a shift in the landscape of higher education. Profound changes in technology have changed the ways today’s students and faculty study, connect with colleagues and friends, write papers, conduct research, and learn. When our students graduate, they are moving into careers that have been shaped by many of the same technological forces.
Although the technology has changed, we still expect our students to be flexible and innovative thinkers, to know how to collaborate with others, to write and communicate effectively, and to be upstanding citizens and leaders who will change the world.
James W. Pennebaker, Executive Director
As Executive Director of Project 2021, Pennebaker leads the development of next-generation undergraduate programs through course design, technology integration, and rigorous evaluation. Under Pennebaker’s leadership, Project 2021 will introduce novel small and large classes — both online and in person — that will further the reputation of UT Austin as a leader in higher education.
Pennebaker is a leader in changing the undergraduate classroom experience to meet the demands of the 21st century, and is an advocate of using research to measure the effectiveness of teaching methods in the classroom. He earned his Ph.D. from UT Austin in 1977 and returned as a faculty member in 1997. He has since established himself as an innovative and respected educator and researcher.
Pennebaker served as chair of the Department of Psychology for nine years. He is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers and is the Regents Centennial Professor of Liberal Arts. The American Psychological Association recently honored Dr. Pennebaker with their Distinguished Scientific Award for the Applications of Psychology. Author of more than 300 scientific articles and nine books, he is one of the most cited researchers in the social sciences.
Hillary Hart, Director, Faculty Innovation Center
Hillary Hart is the inaugural director of the Faculty Innovation Center (FIC), a cornerstone of Project 2021. The FIC is a major player in developing at UT Austin a solid infrastructure that supports innovative and research-informed educational models to optimize student learning and engagement. The FIC oversees the Curriculum Redesign initiative, sponsors research-based instructional practice sessions for faculty and graduate students, and oversees Project 2021 Innovation grants and fellowships. The Center serves as a hub for information and opportunities related to innovating education on and beyond the campus.
As Distinguished Sr. Lecturer in Engineering Communication at UT Austin, Hart has taught graduate and undergraduate courses in environmental and risk communication, technical communication, and the social impact of technology. She was an early leader in developing online modules to teach engineering and research ethics.
Hart came to UT Austin in 1987 and has served the University community in many capacities, including as chair and then secretary of Faculty Council and as subcommittee chair of the Gender Equity Council. She also served as president of the international Society for Technical Communication in 2011-2012. UT Austin recently honored Hart with the 2015 Civitatis award.
Jane Huk, Director, Research and Measurement
Jane Huk joined Project 2021 in January 2017 as Director of the Research and Measurement (RAM) Unit. This team is responsible for enabling Project 2021’s strategic use of data to improve undergraduate education at UT Austin. To this end, the RAM team is systematically collecting and analyzing quantitative metrics that will guide the development, implementation, and ongoing evaluation of policies, courses, degree plans, instructional methods, and programming.
Huk came to UT Austin in 2004 as faculty in the Department of Psychology. She then entered the private sector, managing data analytics initiatives for a wide range of industries. She returned to UT, and most recently headed Data Reporting and Analysis for the College of Natural Sciences before coming to Project 2021.
Huk earned her undergraduate degree in psychology at Southern Methodist University, and her Ph.D. in psychology from Stanford University.
Phil Long, Chief Innovation Officer
A widely respected leader in innovative technologies and techniques in education and learning at UT Austin, Phil Long joined the executive team as the Chief Innovation Officer.
Long is responsible for ensuring Project 2021 maximizes the effective role of technology to help accomplish the initiative’s goals to evolve undergraduate education.
Long is also a clinical professor in Educational Psychology, and in the School of Information. He provides leadership to the university’s strategy for technology-enhanced learning, including UTx, the local implementation of the edX MOOCs, the UT learning analytics initiative, and the design of learning environments
Long earned his undergraduate degree in psychobiology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, and his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University.
Jamie Southerland, Chief Business Officer
Jamie Southerland joined the Project 2021 executive team in February 2016, coming from his most recent post as Associate Vice President for Shared Services and Business Transformation.
In his role as Chief Financial Officer, Southerland is responsible for ensuring Project 2021 meets its lofty goals with maximum effectiveness and efficiency.
Southerland has served the in various roles since joining UT Austin in 1991, and brings more than 20 years of experience in higher education administration to his new role. He began his UT career as an internal auditor, then moved on to serve as Special Assistant to the Vice President for Business Affairs, and later became the Assistant Director for Business Affairs for the Charles A. Dana Center. He then spent nine years in the College of Liberal Arts as Associate Dean for Business Affairs where he was responsible for managing an annual budget of $135 million, and for directing the human resources and administrative staff.
Southerland earned his undergraduate degree in accounting from Texas A&M University, and his master’s degree of professional accounting from UT Austin. He has been a Certified Public Accountant since 1993.
Joe TenBarge, Chief Production Officer and Director, Development Studio
Joe TenBarge has served as Director of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services at UT Austin since 1998 and as Assistant Dean for IT and Facilities in the College of Liberal Arts for more than a decade.
TenBarge has led dozens of new building and renovation projects, and he has championed efficiency, cost control, and the full integration of teaching technology in the university’s capital projects. He sits on a number of campus technology policy task groups and has served as chairman of the University Technology Classroom Committee since 2000. He has led the installation of teaching technology in classrooms throughout campus.
As Director of Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services, TenBarge has assisted faculty in completing over 200 technology projects, ranging from open-source online learning materials to fully realized live online courses. He was a principal architect of the audio and video facilities, which are optimally designed for web broadcasting, podcasting, and a wide range of digital production, and which form the core of the Project 2021 Development Studio.
Stephen Walls, Director, TEXAS Extended Campus
As Deputy Director of the TEXAS Extended Campus, Stephen Walls leads the diverse units at UT Austin that provide high quality education to non-degree seeking students, including the fully online UT High School, University Extension, Testing and Evaluation Services, Center for Professional Education, Petroleum Extension, Informal Classes, Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, AP Summer Institutes Road Scholar, and the Thompson Conference Center. These programs allow students greater opportunities to advance academic, personal, and professional goals, utilizing the resources and expertise at UT Austin.
Walls has a distinguished career in business and academia with a combination of experiences across marketing, technology, and education. He completed his Ph.D. in Educational Psychology and his MBA at the University of Texas, and his BBA in Marketing at Texas A&M University.
Walls holds an appointment as a Senior Lecturer in the Marketing Department in the McCombs School of Business, where he continues to teach courses on Marketing Principles, Brand Management, Digital Marketing, and Design Thinking within undergraduate and masters programs. He has received a number of teaching awards since joining the faculty in 2002. His industry experience includes marketing, human resources, and technology management positions at Dell, Vignette, ibooks.com, American Airlines, and Walmart.
Toni Wegner, Chief Operating Officer
Toni Wegner joined the Project 2021 team in May 2016, coming from Harvard Business School in her previous roles as the Managing Director of Research Administration and Intellectual Capital, and Director of Research Computing Services.
As Chief Operating Officer, Wegner will focus on developing ways to measure gains associated with different teaching strategies. She will also coordinate the development of online, experiential, and other experimental educational methods across different levels of the university.
Wegner was an award-winning faculty member at The University of Virginia for ten years before moving to Harvard Business School. Her roots are in Texas; she received her undergraduate degree from Trinity University in San Antonio and her Ph.D. in Social Psychology from UT Austin.
Cherye West-Tucker, Administrative Services Officer
Serving the university in critical administrative roles since 1979, Cherye West-Tucker serves as the administrative contact for the office and assistant to Dr. Pennebaker. She has worked on administrative, research, and academic units throughout her 35-year career at UT Austin. She most recently worked in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost.
West-Tucker earned her undergraduate degree in music and her master’s degree in education from Austin College in Sherman, Texas.