McMillan named director of distance learning

by John Keenan, UNMC strategic communications | October 19, 2020

Image with caption: Analisa McMillan

Analisa McMillan

Analisa McMillan, PhD, has taken more than 55 online classes in her academic career -- some, she said, better than others.

Now, Dr. McMillan will work as a liaison between UNMC and NU Online as the newly appointed director of distance learning at UNMC.

Dr. McMillan will replace Jan Tompkins, assistant dean for diversity and inclusion in the UNMC College of Allied Health Professions, who held the role for many years.

In her new role, Dr. McMillan, who has been at UNMC for more than eight years, will work with NU Online to facilitate communication around program development, compliance, marketing, recruitment and grant opportunities for the UNMC Colleges of Allied Health Professions, Nursing and Public Health, as well as the Munroe-Meyer Institute.

NU Online is a universitywide initiative to increase access to education for Nebraska residents and people throughout the world. NU Online brings together the online programs offered by the four campuses of the University of Nebraska into one comprehensive website and strategy.

Dr. McMillan will help faculty and colleges explore the creation of new online programs, distance learning initiatives and grant opportunities that are available to UNMC through NU Online.

"Not everyone is aware of what NU Online does for us," she said. "The program is here to support the campus's online initiatives. We want to get this information out, so everyone understands how to take advantage of these programs, initiatives and grants."

Dr. McMillan is an instructional designer and is the director of educational design and development in the UNMC College of Public Health, so she is no stranger to online learning -- her PhD dissertation was on the topic.

"It's a passion of mine," she said. "I want to help our faculty understand the nuances of online teaching and how to teach in a way that brings great success for both the faculty and student in the online environment."

Dr. McMillan said that the switch to remote and online teaching due to COVID-19 has opened some eyes and created opportunity in the area of quality online teaching.

"At some point, you're going to see a big boom in online, because people are going to realize it's easy to just log in to Canvas and do your work -- as opposed to getting in your car, driving to campus, sitting for three hours and driving home," she said. "The digital teaching and learning faculty and students have experienced during this pandemic will help accelerate the option of online learning."

She is excited about the opportunity to strengthen existing online programs and add new ones by leveraging the opportunities NU Online provides.

"The experience of pivoting to remote learning as we did is helpful as we consider new ideas for educational delivery using our online tools," she said.

"Eventually, I'd like to see us move beyond the three colleges and start talking to the College of Pharmacy, College of Dentistry or even the College of Medicine, about online learning techniques they can incorporate in their Canvas courses or hybrid models, or even just help the faculty teaching remotely by sharing best practices and ideas that work well for online learning."


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Megan Brown
October 20, 2020 at 11:54 AM

Congratulations, Analisa! Can't wait to see all that you accomplish.

Jordan Pieper
October 20, 2020 at 9:27 AM


Sonja F. Tutsch
October 19, 2020 at 8:48 PM

Big congratulations, Dr. McMillan!: )

Drissa M. Toure
October 19, 2020 at 11:23 AM

Congratulations Dr. McMillan! Well deserved!

Jessica Semin
October 19, 2020 at 9:45 AM


Peggy Moore
October 19, 2020 at 8:16 AM

Congratulations Dr. McMillan!

Tymaree Sing
October 19, 2020 at 8:06 AM

Congratulations, Dr. McMillian!

Brad Pfeifer
October 19, 2020 at 8:00 AM

Congratulations, Analisa!

Sarah McBrien
October 19, 2020 at 7:46 AM

Congratulations, Dr. McMillan!

Beth Beam
October 19, 2020 at 7:43 AM

Congratulations Analisa! Thanks Jan for your efforts for so many years as well.

Tanya Custer
October 19, 2020 at 7:12 AM

Congratulations Analisa!

Emily McElroy
October 19, 2020 at 7:10 AM

Congratulations Dr. McMillan!

Kara Foster
October 19, 2020 at 7:05 AM

Congratulations, Analisa!!