Faculty and Staff

Department Chair | Associate Chair | Program Directors | Staff

Department Chair

Virginia Pilato, PhDVirginia Pilato, PhD, is Chair of the Education Department and Professor. She joined the department in UMUC's graduate school in 2009, having served as a state and national leader in teacher education for many years. At the Maryland State Department of Education for 18 years, she served on national and state committees, held national organization offices, and was a frequent speaker on teacher preparation, quality, and retention. Her interest in innovative teacher education brought her to UMUC, where a new Master of Arts in Teaching (MAT) and Master of Education (MEd) in Instructional Technology spawned technology-rich opportunities for teacher candidates and faculty alike. A three-time graduate of the University of Maryland, Pilato's career includes teaching high school English and speech as well as university reading and special education. She currently teaches reading and multiple literacies in UMUC's MAT program.

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Associate Chair

Datta Kaur Khalsa, PhDDatta Kaur Khalsa, PhD, is the Associate Chair and Director of Assessment for the Department of Education, acts as CAEP/NCATE Coordinator for the Department and also is Professor in the Masters of Education program. She has been involved with administration, program development and teacher training for over 35 years. She holds her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the field of Language, Literacy and Culture and has extensive research and K-12 and Higher Ed teaching experience related to assessment, online education, virtual teamwork, global online communities and cross-cultural communication in multidisciplinary K-12 curriculum.

Program Directors

Warna Gillies, PhDWarna Gillies, PhD, is Program Director of the MAT program. She received her PhD from George Mason University in Educational Leadership. Previously she was employed by the U.S. State Department as an educational specialist based in Frankfurt, Germany. She has significant experience in teacher education and educational leadership and is certified in both secondary science and K-12 school administration. She taught eighth grade science in the public schools and has served as a principal in a PK-12 school. Her publications and research interests focus on action research and educational leadership.

Randall (Randy) Hansen, EdDRandall (Randy) Hansen, EdD, is Associate Professor and Program Director for the MEd program. He has more than 15 years of experience as an educator and administrator. He began his career as an elementary ESOL teacher in Prince George’s County, Maryland, public schools and was also a technology coordinator. Most recently, Hansen served as program director for the Technology in Education, Master of Education program at National Louis University in Chicago. He holds a master’s degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore County, in instructional systems development and an EdD from Pepperdine University in Educational Technology. His current research interests include examining the role of technology in creating active learning, online and blended learning pedagogy; mobile technologies; and online professional development.

Stella Porto, PhDStella Porto, PhD, is Professor and Program Director of the Master of Distance Education and E-Learning in The Graduate School. She has more than 13 years of experience in the leadership, management, delivery, and development of online programs. Porto has spent more than 20 years in higher education, teaching and researching in the fields of e-learning and information technology. She has a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, a MS and DSc in Informatics. She also holds a master’s degree in distance education.

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Deena BrittDeena Britt is an Academic Specialist in The Graduate School, Department of Education at University of Maryland University College. Her position involves working department faculty, and collaborating with internal and external colleagues on various tasks and projects. She has a high volume of work experience, and has served at UMUC for seven years.

Kristin KubikKristin Kubik is Director, MAT Student Support. In her role, she coordinates the field and clinical experiences and provides support and advising for Master of Arts in Teaching candidates. Ms. Kubik is a UMUC alumna and has been with the university for ten years.

Dianne SullivanDianne Sullivan is an Academic Specialist in The Graduate School, Department of Education at University of Maryland University College. In this position she serves students of the department by helping them during the application, acceptance, and enrolling process as well as answering their questions about courses, programs and processes. Ms. Sullivan has been working in the University of Maryland system for sixteen years.  Ms. Sullivan is also a UMUC alumna.

Esercainas ValenciaEsercainas Valencia is the Administrative Assistant in the UMUC Graduate School, Department of Education. He graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2009 and earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. As an Undergraduate, he worked with children in the Baltimore area elementary schools as well as HEAD Start Programs. He plans to pursue his Master's Degree in Counseling in one of the many schools in the state.

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