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Aug 17, 2021 2021-08 Accountancy Business Administration Faculty Finance

Means joins Gies Business as Chief Learning Officer

A proven leader and innovator, Tawnya Means has joined Gies College of Business as Assistant Dean for Educational Innovation and Chief Learning Officer. Means brings two decades of experience furthering the teaching and learning goals of colleges and universities across the country. Most recently, Means spent the past four years as assistant dean and director of the Teaching and Learning Center at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Business.

Means will direct all strategic teaching and learning initiatives within Gies Business, including managing and directing the strategy in graduate and undergraduate teaching, lifelong learning, and the teaching professional development for faculty and staff.

“My entire career has been driven by my passion for and commitment to student success, and those goals align perfectly with all we are working to achieve at Gies College of Business,” said Means. “I have a deep love of learning and a desire to develop the same in our students. We can accomplish that by creating experiences that challenge our students, opportunities to develop their leadership capabilities, and programs that promote critical thinking and decision-making.”

Over the past four years at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Means has provided strategic leadership in the areas of teaching and learning. Prior to that, she served as the director of the Warrington College of Business Teaching & Learning Center at the University of Florida from 2007-2017. There she led a team of professionals focused on designing, developing, and implementing courses for the school’s online MBA program. In addition to her administrative roles, she has taught online, blended, and face-to-face courses at the University of Nebraska, the University of Florida, and the University of Missouri. She has also facilitated more than 20 seminars in the US, and internationally for AACSB on online and blended education.

“There’s no better person than Tawnya to help us continue to elevate our teaching and learning capabilities here at Gies College of Business,” said Associate Dean and EY Professor Brooke Elliott, who oversees the strategy for Gies’ online programs. “Tawnya brings a proven track record of strategic planning, bold action, and powerful leadership, which she has put into practice at universities across the country. I have no doubt she will help us build upon our success in developing highly engaging, impactful teachers and delivering a life-changing business education that breaks down financial and geographic barriers.”

Gies College of Business is a proven innovator in both residential and online education and steadfastly pursues its land-grant mission to provide access to Illinois and to the world. Gies offers eight undergraduate majors and a fully online business minor that enrolls more than 1,200 students. Additionally, Gies provides six strong residential graduate programs and three fully online graduate degrees that are enjoying record demand and explosive growth. Launched in 2016, Gies’ online MBA (iMBA) has grown to more than 4,000 students and was recently named the #1 biggest business school innovation of the decade by Poets&Quants. Gies also offers an online master’s in accounting, an online master’s in management, and is building out a full suite of non-degree programs and credentials.

“I have seen countless examples of the impact that education can have on an individual and their entire family tree given access and support,” said Means, who earned her PhD in Information Science and Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri-Columbia. “I also believe that educational institutions, especially those with the land-grant mission like the University of Illinois, have an obligation and a calling to expand educational access to all. This has all set the stage for my lifelong journey to seek for and to create educational opportunities for others, and I’m looking forward to continuing that pursuit at Gies.”