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Meet Our Staff


Avis Kunz

Assistant Dean, Outreach and Online Education

Avis Kunz: Assistant Dean, Online Education and Outreach

13 Sparks Building
(814) 863-5965

Avis has worked in higher education administration since the 1980s when she was a program director at Colorado Mountain College in Western Colorado. At Penn State, she directed projects at the Institute for the Study of Adult Literacy and was a program planner in Outreach before joining the College in 2003. In her current position, she oversees the College’s Outreach portfolio, including the World Campus and Continuing Education. She has a BA and MA in English and a DEd in Adult Education from Penn State.


Diana Gruendler

Faculty-in-charge of Letters, Arts, and Sciences; Law and Society World Campus programs

13 Sparks Building
(814) 865-0390

Diana, a senior lecturer in English, is entering her thirteenth year at the university. She brings to the position broad experience with online learning and using technology to build community in the classroom. She has collaborated with the library in conducting research on the use of electronic readers and the use of online communities to develop information literacy in students. Diana is the recipient of teaching awards and has been recognized for her commitment to her students. Prior to coming to Penn State, she served in both academic and student services administrative posts in public and private institutions.


Joseph Weeks

Data Analysis and Planning Consultant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 865-0834

Joe supports the unit in identifying strategic priorities and developing and implementing plans, assessing available data to understand the progress of plans in place toward objectives, and designing effective means of shaping and understanding new initiatives. Additionally, he assists College and Outreach partners on matters of scheduling timelines, enrollment future, staffing needs and thresholds, and budget projections. Joe has an MA in English from Penn State and is working toward an MA in Higher Education.


Ryan Fisher

Education Program Associate

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-5483

Twitter:  @rpf5029

Ryan graduated from Penn State with a BA in English and minors in IST and Technical Writing in May 2012. As an undergraduate, Ryan developed a strong portfolio in online learning. He interned as a technical writer for the College of Arts and Architecture’s e-Learning Institute in spring 2012, and co-founded the experimental open-classroom / book club Lector: A Virtual Book Club in spring 2011. His responsibilities include coordinating the scheduling of online courses, managing the portfolio’s finances, and assisting in the development of courses and curriculum for online delivery.


Morgan Sugg

Administrative Support Assistant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 863-3894

Morgan has been with the College of the Liberal Arts for the past two years. Previously, Morgan worked in Communications Arts and Sciences with the Drug Resistance Strategies Project. During her time at Penn State, Morgan has been studying towards a BS in Psychology and looks forward to continuing her education. She is responsible for day-to-day office tasks, managing calendars, and greeting visitors.


Learning Design

Cathy Holsing

Director, Learning Design

Cathy Holsing: Senior Instructional Designer

13 Sparks Building
(814) 863-5965

Personal Website:

Twitter:  @cjholsing

Cathy began the learning design unit in the College of the Liberal Arts in 2002. She now provides leadership and direction to the learning design team by overseeing all aspects of the development and delivery of the college's online course portfolio. Prior to joining the college, she was as a member of the learning design staff at the World Campus and worked for 16 years in the financial industry, including positions designing, developing and presenting a wide variety of employee training and development programs.   She holds a BBA (Bachelors in Business Administration) and an MEd in Information Systems from Penn State.


Lisa Byrnes

Senior Instructional Designer

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-1374

Lisa began her career working as a junior high/high school teacher after receiving her Bachelor of Science Degree in Exercise Science from Penn State. Currently, Lisa works primarily as a course designer and has developed a variety of courses in Philosophy, Political Science, History, Sociology, English, Anthropology, and American and African American Studies. Having experience as both an instructor and a student in an online learning environment, Lisa possesses a unique perspective which drives her work. Lisa holds an MS in Instructional Technology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania.


Brian Smith

Instructional Designer

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-3644

Brian possesses a background in publishing and online learning. He works with faculty in the College and our partners in Outreach to develop courses across a broad range of disciplines, from start to finish. Brian also supports Outreach and Online Education by maintaining the unit’s broad portfolio of online learning resources. He holds an MS in Instructional Technology.



Ryan Murray

Instructional Designer

13 Sparks Building
(814) 865-0833

Ryan helps build and maintain online courses, and provides technical support to instructors and students. Ryan briefly taught middle grades science, and served as a contracting instructional designer for the National Paideia Center at UNC-Chapel Hill. He comes to Penn State with an MEd in Instructional Technology and a passion for problem- and case-based learning.


Roxanne Toto

Instructional Designer

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-3462

Roxanne has supported faculty in the applied use of educational technology in online environments since the early 1990s. Her experience as student, teaching assistant, collaborator, instructor, and designer enables her to partner with faculty to bring their instructional ideas to life. Roxanne holds an MS in Instructional Design and Technology from Philadelphia University and a PhD in Instructional Systems (now Learning, Design, and Technology) from Penn State.


Stephen Tuttle

Multimedia Specialist

Stephen Tuttle: Multimedia Specialist

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-1375

Stephen is responsible for deployment, maintenance, and modifications of the Plone CMS that delivers our online courses. Additionally, he creates and edits multimedia elements in video, graphics, and photography in collaboration with the Learning Design team, and implements custom web applications for interactive course enhancements. Having always been drawn to the arts, Stephen spends his spare time pursuing this interest with wood, photography, and music.


Teri Dreibelbis

Instructional Design Assistant

Teri Dreibelbis: Instructional Design Assistant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-2944

Teri worked for eight years as Webmaster for Penn State’s Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering department before coming to Liberal Arts. As Learning Design Assistant, she provides technical support to students and faculty and aides Learning Designers with the creation and maintenance of online courses. Additionally, Teri is head of the ADA committee in the unit, and networks with other professionals involved with these issues.


Kurt Steele

Instructional Design Assistant

Kurt Steele: Instructional Design Assistant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-3640

Kurt works as an assistant to the Learning Designers. His core duties include building course content as well as providing technical support for those courses. Kurt has a background in Information Technology and worked as an IT Support Specialist at Penn State’s World campus for two years before joining the Filippelli Institute.



Tracy Wallace

Instructional Design Assistant

Tracy Wallace: Instructional Design Assistant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-3431

Tracy assists the learning designers with course content management and providing technical help to users. She comes to the Filippelli Insitute with several years of library/information management, customer/student support, and career services experience. Tracy earned a BA in English from Penn State.



Kristin Bushong

Instructional Design Assistant

Tracy Wallace: Instructional Design Assistant

13 Sparks Building
(814) 867-5861

Hailing from Silicon Valley, technology has always been at the forefront for Kristin, our newest Learning Design Assistant. Kristin has been designing and maintaining web-based and email content for over 10 years, previously working on,, and for other State College area businesses. She enjoys making web content accurate, accessible, and worthwhile for users.

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