Meet the UMKC Online team

University of Missouri - Kansas City

Devon Cancilla, PhD

Vice Provost for Online Learning
Devon A. Cancilla is the Vice Provost for Online Learning. His team provides instructional design support for the development of online and traditional courses and coordinates UMKC’s activities toward state authorization of its online programs. Prior to coming to UMKC, Devon served as Dean and then Associate Provost for Learning at American Sentinel University, a fully online institution. Devon was also an Associate Professor of Environmental Science and Director of Scientific Technical Services (SciTech) at Western Washington University (WWU) where he led the development of the Integrated Laboratory Network (ILN), an online laboratory initiative funded by the National Science Foundation. Devon has received both the Sloan-C (now OLC) Outstanding Achievement Award for Online Education and an Effective Practice Award for his research into the development and use of online laboratories. He attended the University of Iowa, where he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees, and UCLA, where he received his doctorate in Environmental Health Science. Devon’s current research interests relate to the use of analytics in the design and development of online courses.

Molly Mead, PhD

Manager, Information Technology
Molly Mead, Ph.D., has been an Instructional Designer for UMKC since March 2011. Molly has Quality Matters and Online Learning Consortium certification in online teaching and learning. Prior to that, Molly worked for the UMKC School of Education and the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education for over 20 years in a variety of roles related to the educational use of technology. Molly has researched and provided instruction in the use of tools such as electronic whiteboards, student response systems, learning management systems and social media applications. Molly teaches several online graduate courses for the School of Education related to the selection, use and assessment of educational technology. Molly is also the co-founder and past President of the Kansas City Metropolitan Area Educational Technology Network, serving over 32 school districts, universities and other organizations.

Melissa Messina, M.L.S.

Instructional Designer
Melissa Messina is the accessibility lead for UMKC Online and provides consultations and trainings to faculty and staff. An experienced online instructor, Melissa has developed and taught graduate courses in web design, advanced metadata applications, information organization, and cataloging for Emporia State University’s School of Library and Information Management since 2011. Before joining UMKC Online in 2015, Melissa worked as a research associate for the Institute for Human Development, a University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, where she served as technical chair for an NSF-sponsored national think tank and managed digital grant initiatives that met industry standards for accessibility and user experience. In addition to multimedia certification from Portland State University, Melissa holds a BA in English from Cornell College, an MLS from Emporia State University, and she is Quality Matters and OLC certified.

Lara Mabry, M.S.

Instructional Designer
In addition to conducting trainings and mentoring faculty in building online courses, Lara specializes in the assessment of learning in online courses using Blackboard Analytics. Prior to coming to UMKC, Lara taught face to face, online, and blended courses in clinical laboratory sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. Lara has disseminated her research in mobile learning at regional and national conferences and is currently pursuing a PhD in Health Related Sciences with a focus in education from Virginia Commonwealth University. Her dissertation research involves the development and assessment of a mobile app evaluating critical thinking skills in a health professional program. Lara holds a BS and MS in Clinical Laboratory Sciences from Virginia Commonwealth University in addition to certifications as a Medical Laboratory Scientist (MLS) and Specialist in Hematology (SH) from the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP). She is also certified by Quality Matters and OLC in online teaching and learning.

Jennifer Sackhoff, M.A.

Instructional Designer
Jennifer Sackhoff is dedicated to fostering supportive learning communities that engage learners to actively contribute to the educational environment. Prior to joining UMKC Online, Jennifer worked at Baker University’s Graduate School of Education as the assistant director of academics. In her role at Baker, she developed curriculum and conducted strategic planning for programs. Additionally, she facilitated instructor trainings in course design and ensured courses met accreditation standards. Jennifer has taught online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses in composition, women’s literature, and African-American literature for Baker University, Park University, and Emporia State University. Jennifer earned a minor in ethnic and gender studies along with both her B.A. and M.A. in English from Emporia State University. Jennifer is Quality Matters OLC certified in online instruction.

Nicholas Liddeke, M.A.

Instructional Technologist
Nicholas Liddeke is an experienced Instructional Technologist at UMKC. A recent alumnus, Nicholas developed new media campaigns, produced national and regional television and radio commercials, and created dynamic production systems for a local marketing company before returning to UMKC to join the Online team. A passion for education led him to pursue a Masters in Curriculum and Instruction, creating a bridge between the best pedagogical practices and media production capabilities. Nicholas is Quality Matters and OLC certified in online instruction.

Brandie Elliott

State Authorization Compliance Officer
Brandie Elliott is the State Authorization Compliance Officer and the Executive Staff Assistant to Devon Cancilla, Vice Provost for Online & Distance Learning. In her role as State Authorization Compliance Officer, Brandie submits applications for authorization of UMKC’s online degree programs in other states and ensures that UMKC’s online degree programs are in compliance with the various states’ rules and regulations. Brandie also maintains Dr. Cancilla’s calendar and makes travel arrangements. Prior to arriving at UMKC in 2012, Brandie worked in the Office of the Provost at the University of Kansas. She has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology as well as a bachelor’s degree in Communications Studies with an Emphasis in Journalism from Fort Hays State University. In her spare time, she enjoys travel, writing, and photography.

Lauren Mathiott, M.S.

Instructional Technologist
Lauren Mathiott joins us as the newest Instructional Technologist at UMKC. Lauren previously worked at the University of Kansas Medical Center with the department of Teaching & Learning Technologies. While at KUMC, she supported faculty with Blackboard, Adobe Connect and Second Life. She holds a BS in Interactive Digital Media: new media from Northwest Missouri State University, and an MS in Educational Technology from the University of Central Missouri. She is passionate about online learning, ethics and student engagement. Lauren is Quality Matters certified. Lauren is also involved Colleague to Colleague and on the steering committee for the Summer Institute of Distance Learning (SIDLIT) conference. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling and refinishing furniture.

Julie Hartwell, MLIS

Instructional Design Librarian
Julie Hartwell is the University Library Instructional Design Liaison. Julie has been supporting and implementing educational technologies in both K-12 and higher education since her move to Kansas City in 2012. With a Masters in library science, Julie is passionate about unfettered access to information and sharing educational and scholarly content. She has served on an open access committee and instructed online and face-to-face information literacy classes. She recently completed a year long term as a mobile app reviewer for the National Network of Libraries of Medicine. Julie is active in Colleague to Colleague, a local instructional technology organization and currently a co-editor for the C2C Digital Magazine. Julie holds a BA in Communication Studies and Political Science and a MLIS from the University of Iowa. Julie is Quality Matters certified.

Torie Wynn, M.A.

Instructional Designer
Torie Wynn has worked as an instructional designer since 2015. Before coming to UMKC, she served as Senior Instructional Designer at Wichita State University where she transformed the instructional design training model used at WSU while supporting faculty, staff, and students with online programs, Blackboard assistance, and accessibility. Torie has also worked as an Instructional Design and Video Consultant for various institutions including St. Mary’s College of California, Ft. Scott Community College, and KU Med. Torie has taught online, hybrid, and face-to-face courses in Social Media, Business Writing, Composition, and American Literature. Torie is a Quality Matters Master Reviewer and holds both BA and MA in English Language and Literature from WSU. She is passionate about creativity in course design and training resources. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking and weightlifting.