Research Fellows

Research Fellows


Barbara Fedock, Ed.D.


Dr. Barbara Fedock was a former North Carolina teacher and curriculum specialist. She worked at the North Carolina Department of Public Instruction as a secondary English and math consultant, and she was the principal of a virtual early college. Barbara is certified in English 9-12, Middle School Language Art, Reading K-12, Mathematics 6-12, Academically Gifted, Superintendent, and principal. Barbara holds a doctoral degree in educational leadership from Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.  She teaches communication, college algebra, English, and research courses, plus First Year Sequence classes at the University of Phoenix Charlotte campus. From 2012 – 2014, Barbara was a Content Area Chair and Lead Teacher in the College of Humanities and Sciences. She teaches online School of Advanced Studies (SAS) research and residency courses, and she is a doctoral chair. In July of 2012, Barbara received the University of Phoenix Distinguished Faculty Teacher of the Year award for the Charlotte campus. 

Barbara has published and presented the following papers at global conferences: Beyond Best Practices: A New Vision for Online Mathematics Teachers, 2012 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education; Redefining Online Teacher Leadership: Visionary Options for Assessments, 2013 Ed. Media; Rethinking Online Writing and Communication Skills as a Process: Teaching Skills Through Interactive, Learning Style Based Modeling, 2013  Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference; An International Perspective on Mobile Learning, 2013 Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference; Transformational Leadership and Patient Satisfaction: Redefining the Bedside Nurses’ Role, 2013 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education;  A New Best Practice: Online Instructors as Researchers, 2014 Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference;  Peer reviewing: A Tool to Engage Online Students in the Classroom Managerial Process, 2014 World Conference on E-Learning in Corporate, Government, Healthcare, and Higher Education.

Cheryl Burleigh, EdD


Dr. Cheryl Burleigh has been associated with the University of Phoenix since 2008, is a certified advanced facilitator and Lead Faculty Area Chair of Mathematics and Sciences for the College of Humanities and Sciences Bay Area Campus. She is a faculty member for the College of Humanities and Sciences both online and at her local campus. Dr. Burleigh also serves as a Faculty Supervisor for the College of Education.

While working in Silicon Valley as a lead engineer on the AMRAAM and Patriot Missile projects, Dr. Burleigh decided to follow a lifelong dream of teaching the sciences, specifically chemistry at the high school level. While earning her MS in Education and teaching in the classroom of an urban high school, Dr. Burleigh saw the need to increase enrollment of female students in the sciences, specifically the physical sciences. The result, her master’s thesis research project entitled How to Encourage High School Females to Enroll in the Physical Sciences. The findings of her research lead to modifications in career counseling and enrollment practices at the high school which saw a dramatic increase in enrollment of high school females in the physical sciences. Consequently, a significant number of these high school female students pursued and graduated with college degrees in STEM related fields.

Dr. Burleigh’s career focus of fostering and nurturing a love of the physical sciences provided opportunities to work for NASA, develop engaging curriculum for Project ASTRO, STELLAR and other programs besides her own classroom. Dr. Burleigh has been a presenter of science education curriculum and practices and educational leadership for school programs and administrators, state teacher associations, national and international conferences, and on behalf of NASA. Additionally, Dr. Burleigh has been an educator and administrator overseas in Luanda, Angola, on two separate occasions, and Lagos, Nigeria.

As an administrator, Dr. Burleigh has continued to encourage her staff to develop and implement challenging and dynamic STEM related curriculum and programs for each of the schools for which she has had the privilege of serving. Thereby, increasing the rigor and relevance of curriculum to develop deeper critical thinking and deriving relationships between academic and real-world applications in problem solving.

Dr. Burleigh earned her doctorate degree in Educational Leadership-Curriculum and Instruction from the University of Phoenix. She earned a bachelor of science in Chemistry and bachelor of arts in History from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign and a master of science in Education-Curriculum from California State University East Bay. Dr. Burleigh holds teaching credentials in Physical Science, Introduction to Mathematics, Biology, Comparative Political Systems & International Relations and Social Sciences, in addition to credentials for education leadership and administration.

Dale Crowe, Ph.D.


Dr. Dale Crowe has been with the University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies since 2008 and has more than 20 years experience as a consultant in the field of information technology and instructional technology.  His primary role was in the designing, project management, and implementation of voice, video and data network infrastructures and associated curriculum applications for K-12 schools, higher education institutions, museums, corporations, and health care.  Dale has taught and has held administrative positions at two Carnegie classified RU/VH: Research Universities (very high research activity), as well as a research associate in the area of enabling technologies.

 Dale’s education background includes a Masters in Guidance and Counseling from Siena Heights University, a J.D. from Michigan State University and a PhD from Wayne State University in Instructional Technology and Education.  At the School of Advanced Studies Dale primarily teaches research courses for the PhD Higher Education Administration program as well as the practical doctorate programs.  In addition, he teaches Year 1 and Year 3 doctoral residencies. 

 Dale loves flying and holds an FAA Airline Transport Pilot rating.  With over 10,000 hours one of his hobbies is flying war birds including a WWII B-17G bomber.  Dale is married with 3 step grandchildren that he hopes can get interested in flying when they get older.  In addition, they have two Shiba Inu dogs that love to take him hiking on the Pacific Crest National Scenic trail in Southern Oregon.


Employer / Organization: 
University of Phoenix, School of Advanced Studies
Position Held: 

Debbie Ritter-Williams, Ph.D.


Debbie Ritter-Williams, Ph.D. has held a variety of leadership positions in higher education and corporate training and development.


Dr. Ritter-Williams has been associated with University of Phoenix since 2002, when she was the Program Chair for the College of Arts and Sciences for the online campus. More recently, she completed an appointment as Lead Faculty for the School of Advanced Studies that involved leading various projects to enhance quality in the classroom. She currently serves as a Lead Faculty-Writing Coach for ACCESS: Advancing Community, Critical Thought, Engagement, Scholarship, and Success.


Her career has focused on adult education across a variety of venues: for-profit corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. The success of her work has often been aided by her strength in group process facilitation. Before coming to University of Phoenix, Dr. Ritter-Williams led a company-wide implementation of a synchronous online training system for locations across North America.


Dr. Ritter-Williams’ research career began in 1987 with a study of conference-attending behavior sponsored by both the National Association for Student Personnel Administrators and the American College Personnel Association. Her background and experience align with her current research interest in college learners and the challenges they face. She has completed studies on employer tuition-reimbursement programs and adult students’ retention related to socio-emotional needs, and is currently undertaking research on the relationship between meditation and critical thinking, the benefits of degree completion for Hispanic students, and the representation of online learning in social media.


Dr. Ritter-Williams’ work in higher education and leadership has been published in several journals, textbooks, and handbooks. She has held memberships and leadership roles with the American Association of University Women, the American College Personnel Association (Vice-Chair for Research), Carolinas Society for Training and Development (Board Member), and the American Society for Training & Development. She received a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Eastern Illinois University, a master’s in Counseling from Arizona State University, and a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Policies (focus on higher education) from the University of South Carolina. 

Elizabeth Johnston, EdD


Elizabeth Johnston, EdD, is a senior research fellow with the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR).  Elizabeth’s 2016 fellowship focus is exploring participation in online classrooms to find the antecedents for conversations revealing highest levels of meaning construction and dialogic patterns as assessed through frequency and textual content analysis.  Elizabeth is an educator, researcher and artist with extensive experience in K-12 and Higher Education, including 12 years at University of Phoenix®.  Elizabeth brought experience as a faculty member and college chair for secondary education to SAS.

As University of Phoenix faculty, Elizabeth worked as a member of the Global Council (serving the School of Advanced Studies [SAS]) and the Academic Cabinet (serving the entire University). Elizabeth has been a peer reviewer for the Journal of Leadership Studies, Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture and the American Educational Research Association conferences (2011, 2013). Recently Elizabeth accepted an invitation to become an editor for the Media Symposium at the Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture.  Currently, Elizabeth is continuing with the SAS Global Council and serving as co-chair for Criterion 5 (University Governance) preparing for the 2017 comprehensive Higher Learning Commission visit.

As a 2012 recipient of an Office of Scholarship Support grant, Elizabeth collaborated with colleague Anthony Kortens to research SAS doctoral student experiences in theoretical thinking. An article is in review. Other articles have been featured in the Journal of Corporate Citizenship, the Journal of Leadership Studies and the Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture. Conference presentations include the 2013 International Conference on Thinking (ICOT), Qualitative Research in Management conference (QRM, 2014, 2012), Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB, 2009), Narrative, Arts Based and Post Approaches to Social Research (supported by AERA) 2010.  Elizabeth presented multiple workshops at professional organizations in the decades from 1990-2010.

As a K-12 educator, Elizabeth worked as a senior central office administrator, Principal, Director of Assessment, Curriculum, Special Education, and teacher. These experiences included collaborative supervisory and administrative work with faculty members, staff, and administrators, social and regulatory agencies at both K-12 and higher education levels.  For over twenty years (1990-2010), Elizabeth served as an advisor to many school districts and superintendents as an independent contractor for special projects, staff development, and board presentations, where she applied expertise gained in both K-12 and higher education.

Elizabeth earned a doctoral degree in Educational Leadership from Loyola, Chicago, and an MA and BA from Michigan State University in Fine Arts and Education. An Illinois Women and Minorities scholarship supported her doctoral studies. She earned a type 75 administrative certificate in policy development (similar to a Masters degree) from University of Illinois in Champaign. Her interests lie in fine arts and her paintings have shown at regional shows and galleries. She writes a monthly column on painting for the California Watercolor Association.

James Lane, Ed.D.


For more than 40 years Jim Lane has pursued his twin passions as an educator and writer.  He has served as a high school English teacher, district language arts supervisor, assistant principal, and principal.  He has taught a variety of university courses in language arts, humanities, and education. He serves as UOPx dissertation chair and committee member and teaches DOC 722 and 734. He also serves as senior research fellow in the Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research and facilitator of the Professional Responsibility in Education Research Group.


As a free-lance writer he has written more than 100 articles, topics ranging from technical pieces to profiles of national celebrities.  His academic research interests include ethical frameworks, ethical dilemmas, educator codes of ethics, autoethnography, narrative analysis, constructivism, school leadership, school organization, and K-12 curriculum. 


His summary of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001 appears in the Encyclopedia of Middle Grades Education, 2nd edition (2016).  In production is an individual chapter entitled “Narrative of a White Male Principal: An Apologia” for I Am What I Become: Constructing An Identity as a Lifelong Learner, to be published by Information Age.  His academic presentations have focused on ethical dilemmas in school leadership. He is completing an analysis of the teacher codes of ethics of the 50 American states to reflect the ethical guidance that states provide their teachers.  He recently completed a book review of John Goodlad’s memoir Romances with Schools, which will appear in the Fall 2017 edition of the Mid-Western Educational Researcher.  He is currently conducting a narrative analysis of the experiences of beginning teachers.  He has served as a peer reviewer of proposals for the American Educational Research Association Conference and serves as an Editorial Board member and peer reviewer for The Qualitative Report.  He will be presenting a discussion entitled “Phenomenology of Practice: The Application of Hermeneutic Phenomenology in a Case Study of Middle School Infrastructure” at The Qualitative Report Conference in January 2018. Above all, he appreciates the opportunity to share his knowledge and skills with students and colleagues, as well as helping CEITR affiliates achieve their research, presentation, and publishing goals.

Kathleen Andrews, Ph.D.


Dr. Kathleen Andrews has been a faculty member at UOPX since 2005. She is a certified advanced facilitator. After receiving her MA in Psychology from United States International University Dr. Andrews began working with young women who are both pregnant and substance abusers and provided a completely life-changing program. After she received her doctorate also from USIU she transitioned into Industrial Psychology where she worked in consulting areas of strategic planning, process improvement, and leadership coaching. Dr. Andrews has developed numerous psychology courses.

Her experience in the United States at the university level includes professor in statistics, research, family systems, drug addiction, counseling, communication, motivation, and leadership.

She spent 2 years in Israel working for the government there and then 8 years in Romania where she conducted a research project with teenage girls who were orphaned and taught them life skills so they could function independently.

Additionally, Dr. Andrews created an APALearningCenter for a large university and speaks nationally on doctoral research, APA, and graduate level writing.  She edits doctoral projects for format and coherence with university standards. In addition to teaching, she currently works with heroin addicts towards recovery and finds time for her six grandchildren.

Keri L. Heitner, Ph.D.


Dr. Keri Heitner is a research psychologist and writer focusing on service delivery research and program development in education, training, health, mental health, and human services. Dr. Heitner designs and implements needs assessments and program and project evaluations and conducts research on diversity-related topics, ethical and gender issues, and business/entrepreneurship. 

Dr. Heitner holds a BA from Stony Brook University, an MA from the New School for Social Research and the MPhil and PhD from The City University of New York Graduate School and University Center. Dr. Heitner teaches research, residency, and dissertation classes in the School of Advanced Studies and chairs and serves on doctoral dissertation committees. She is also a research subject matter expert for curriculum development. Dr. Heitner has served as lead researcher on several projects for the Apollo Research Institute. A Delphi study on the definition of success in diversity initiatives was partially funded by a grant from APA Division 13 and published in the Consulting Psychology Journal: Research and Practice

She also presented a paper, The Rhetoric of Gaydar Research, at the 4th Annual Making Diversity Interventions Count International Conference. Dr. Heitner is the lead author, with Dr. Kenneth Sherman, of a recently published peer-reviewed textbook, Dissertation Field Guide. Dr. Heitner is on the editorial board of the Journal of Leadership Studies (JLS) and the Journal of Psychological Issues in Organizational Culture (JPOC) and a peer reviewer for these and other journals.

Louise Underdahl, Ph.D.


Dr. Louise Underdahl earned the BA in English Literature at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) followed by the MSLS, MPA, and PhD at the University of Southern California.  She served UCLA from 1978 to 1992, UCLA Health Risk Management from 1992 to 2017, and University of Phoenix Online since 2004.  She is currently lead faculty area chair for University of Phoenix School of Advanced Studies Doctor of Health Administration program; her research interests focus on work attitudes.

Louise Underdahl, PhD, MPA, MSL


Louise Underdahl, PhD, MPA, MSLS earned the BA (English Literature) at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) followed by the MSLS, MPA, and PhD at the University of Southern California.  She served UCLA from 1978 to 1992, UCLA Health Risk Management from 1992 to 2017, and University of Phoenix Online since 2004.  She is currently Doctoral Instructor for the College of Doctoral Studies ACCESS program and also an active participant in University of Phoenix Research Hub activities.  Focusing on work attitudes, she is Center for Educational and Instructional Technology Research (CEITR) Research Fellow and reviewer for the CEITR Dissertation to Publication Workshop, volunteer research associate for the Global Institute of Experienced Entrepreneurship, recipient of the University of Phoenix 2018 Faculty Excellence Award, and leads collaborative research on promoting entrepreneurial success.