STEMscopes, OpenStax College, Connexions, and Learning Machines Lab are brought to you by a team of open education professionals dedicated to increasing global access to high-quality learning materials for students and teachers. RDLS resides in the Office of the Provost at Rice University and is governed by the Rice Board of Trustees.
Caroline Levander, Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives of Rice University
Caroline Levander is the Vice Provost for Interdisciplinary Initiatives, Carlson Professor in the Humanities, and Professor of English at Rice University. She is a celebrated author and is currently writing Laying Claim: Imagining Empire on the U.S. Mexico Border (Oxford University Press) and Where Is American Literature? (Wiley-Blackwell’s Manifesto Series). Her research revisits long-standing critical assumptions about territory, geography, nation and textuality that have tended to shape the study of American literature. Using a wide range of archival and literary sources, Levander explores how the writing of prominent Americans as well as those historically disenfranchised within the United States—women, children, and racially diverse citizens—reconstitutes conceptual frameworks of nation formation and literary heritage. Most recently her research has focused on the geographic and temporal parameters of American literature. Within the RDLS, Caroline works to ensure the center collaborates and shares the fruits of its labor with the rest of the university.
Richard Baraniuk, Director
Dr. Baraniuk founded Connexions in 1999 to make high-quality educational content available to anyone, anywhere, anytime for free on the web and at very low cost in print by inviting authors, educators, and learners worldwide to "create, rip, mix, and burn" textbooks, courses, and learning materials from its global open-access repository. E ach month, Connexions’ free and open-source educational materials are used by millions of people from nearly 200 countries. Through his research in machine learning, he is working to enhance the OpenStax College textbooks and STEMScopes curriculum with personalized learning features that optimize each student's learning experience based on each their background, context, and learning goals.
Reid Whitaker, Executive Director
Reid Whitaker received his doctorate in Educational Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and holds a Masters degree in Education from the University of St. Thomas. As a member of the Teach for America corps, Reid began his teaching career as a science teacher for the Houston Independent School District. Reid’s broad perspective on education is a result of serving HISD as a science specialist, and then as Principal for Port Houston Elementary. While Principal, Reid also held the position of associate director for Rice University’s Center for Education, where he first developed the curriculum Web site that would become STEMscopes. In his role of CAO for Accelerate Learning Inc., which owns STEMscopes, and as Executive Director of RDLS, Reid continues to develop meaningful, hands-on science curricula.
Daniel Williamson, Managing Director
A Rice University graduate and longtime Connexions team member, Daniel now manages the day-to-day operations of OpenStax College and Connexions using his extensive experience in academic e-publishing to guide content development, technology integration, and overall project coordination. He has overseen the creation, editing, and maintenance of nearly 2000 open educational resources accounting for a total online viewership of over 4 million. In 2009, Daniel founded UniqU, LLC where he served as the Chief Operations Officer of the company which provided e-publishing and knowledge capture solutions for organizations across the United States. In 2010, Daniel was honored to serve on a panel of education experts at the World Bank Group's Global Youth Summit where he advocated for the use and adoption of open educational resources as a means to alleviate the significant financial burden of education.
Beth Cassidy, Director of Finance and Operations
Beth Cassidy is the Director of Finance and Operations. Prior to her current position, Beth worked with numerous entities as a senior associate at a local public accounting firm specializing in not-for-profit organizations. In addition, her past experience at an international accounting firm gave her hands-on experience across diverse industry sectors including energy, manufacturing, and higher education. Beth is a graduate of the University of Houston’s Bauer College of Business where she earned a BBA in Accounting and a MS in Accountancy. Beth has previously volunteered with the Houston SPCA and has served as a mentor for students interested in the nonprofit sector with MBA Women International, formerly National Association of Women MBAs.
Virginia Snodgrass Rangel, Associate Director of Research
Virginia joined Rice in 2012 to become the Center's Associate Director of Research. She graduated from The University of Texas at Austin with her Ph.D. in Education Policy and Planning, where her research interests including educational data use, organizational theory, and school choice. Before graduate school, Virginia taught English as a foreign language classes in southeastern Brazil, and then taught adult English as a second language classes in Washington, D.C. She also was a 4th grade bilingual teacher in the Austin Independent School District, where she was chosen as the Teacher of Promise at her school, Mary Jane Sims Elementary School. Virginia has a B.A. in International Studies from Middlebury College in Vermont, as well as a M.A. in Political Science from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research has appeared in the American Educational Research Journal, Educational Policy, The Urban Review, and The Journal of Learning Analytics. Currently, she is the Principal Investigator on a recently-awarded National Science Foundation grant.
Meredith Allison, Administrative Assistant
A graduate of Rhodes College, Meredith received her Masters degree in English Literature at the University of Houston while teaching first year composition. Meredith supports the RDLS in its day-to-day operations, providing coordination and communication between the projects housed in RDLS, and the wider Rice community.