UAB has named Martha Warren Bidez, Ph.D., director of the new Office of eLearning and Professional Studies, which launched uab.edu/online in May.
Bidez, an internationally renowned biomedical engineer who has served as professor and director of the Advanced Safety Engineering and Management graduate track in the UAB School of Engineering, had served as interim director of the Office of eLearning and Professional Studies since the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees established the office in February, 2013.
“Dr. Bidez’s proven success and expertise has built a strong foundation for this office, and she is absolutely the right leader to maximize the long-term potential of this important initiative,” said UAB Provost Linda Lucas.
Through her appointment, Bidez will address changing paradigms in education. The Office of eLearning and Professional Studies will give traditional students and non-traditional, niche populations access to diverse opportunities via technology in the digital age.
“My focus will be to keep UAB at the forefront of online learning,” Bidez said. “The proliferation of, and unprecedented access to computers and mobile devices, and the speed at which information can now be shared as a result of faster high-speed Internet connections, provide UAB and our students a great opportunity.”
The Office of eLearning and Professional Studies collaborates with deans across schools and provides support to all departments and faculty to ensure that UAB’s online offerings meet national best practices as measured by a comprehensive quality standard vetted by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It will deliver greater access to programs while improving their quality and increasing revenues to continue UAB’s growth trajectory.
Through the office, Bidez will provide campus-wide leadership in four critical areas: administer quality assessments of online educational programs for continual improvement; develop new, innovative online programs which serve untapped, niche markets and produce increased enrollment and new revenue; identify existing UAB courses and programs which can serve largely untapped, niche markets, and guide their conversion into online delivery formats; and develop a robust portfolio of new, unique, professional study opportunities for non-degree seeking adults, which will provide a new source of revenue for UAB.
“This office and this appointment exemplify UAB’s commitment to being the preferred academic medical center of the 21st century,” Lucas said. “This office makes UAB accessible to more students and will improve education outcomes.”
Bidez, who has had success with a first-of-its-kind engineering master’s degree program with a safety focus offered online at UAB, has nationally-recognized start-up, entrepreneurial success in both industry and higher education. She has significant experience in traditional and online teaching at graduate and undergraduate levels. Bidez has a first-hand understanding of faculty concerns and needs, as well as barriers to online success.
“I am excited and honored by the opportunity to help UAB build upon its historical successes in online learning to reach the next level of excellence and growth,” Bidez said.