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.
George L. McLendon, Provost for Rice University
George L. McLendon was dean of the faculty of Arts and Sciences at Duke University, a position he assumed in July 2004. He was also professor of Chemistry and professor of Biochemistry and Experimental Cancer Therapeutics in the School of Medicine. In July 2008, he was also named dean of Trinity College, the undergraduate administrative unit of Arts and Sciences. Dr. McLendon was previously the R.W. Moore Professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University. A Texas native, he received his BS from the University of Texas at El Paso in 1972 and his Ph.D. from Texas A&M in 1976. He also taught at the University of Rochester, where he was the Tracy H. Harris Professor of Chemistry and professor of Biochemistry in the School of Medicine. McLendon’s research is focused on inorganic and physical biochemistry. He has published over 200 peer reviewed papers and received national research awards, including the American Chemistry Society Pure Chemistry Award, the Eli Lilly Award in Ecochemistry, Sloan Dreyfus Award, and Guggenheim Fellowships. His publications range from solar nanotechnology to cell death pathways. His most recent research has direct implications for the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other diseases. He has been involved in launching several biotech startups, including Tetralogic Pharmaceuticals.
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 CEO for STEMscopes, and now 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.
Andrew Ginakis, Managing Director
Andrew joined the Rice team to manage the elementary portion of STEMscopes, leading the development of curriculum components at the elementary level and incorporating teacher feedback to continuously improve the program. Subsequently, he became director of STEMscopes where he now oversees the design and implementation of kindergarten through twelfth grade curricula through STEMscopes. Prior to joining Rice, Andrew taught 3-5 grade in Port Houston Elementary in Houston Independent School District. Andrew is also a Rice Owl, having received his MBA from the Jones Graduate School of Business.
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.
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.