Balfour named new director of Office of Online Learning

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Following a national search, Stephen P. Balfour has been named director of the University of Georgia Office of Online Learning. Balfour will begin his new position on Feb. 1.

Balfour will provide the leadership for the Online Learning and 10 full-time staff to improve development and delivery of high quality undergraduate and graduate courses and degree programs for academic departments. UGA currently has two undergraduate online degree programs, 16 online graduate degree programs, and more than 700 online courses.

“Dr. Balfour has been on the forefront of the latest technology and pedagogy in his teaching and research roles at Texas A&M University and therefore has a big picture view of how online learning should connect with today’s students,” said Rahul Shrivastav, vice president for instruction. “He brings the vision that the Office of Online Learning needs to advance and compete in a global online academic market.”

Balfour has held teaching, research and administrative positions at Texas A&M University for 24 years, most recently serving as the director of Instructional and Research Computing in the College of Liberal Arts, an office that he built from the ground up. His office supports instructional and research computing for the College of Liberal Arts, providing strategic planning, project management, and development services for online programs and courses. Balfour also serves as a consultant for grants and contracts involving technology for both instruction and research. He authored the Liberal Arts Online Course Creation Guide and served as project manager in building Texas A&M’s first Lightboard technology to enhance distance learning.

“UGA has done excellent work to build online graduate programs, create a pipeline for undergraduates to get a BBA, and help undergraduates complete their degrees more quickly with online courses and programs,” said Balfour. “Building on UGA’s strengths, I’m looking forward to working collaboratively with the talented team in the Office of Online Learning and with UGA schools and colleges. Together we can help elevate student learning, engagement, and research in online courses, as well as increase graduate enrollments and enhance workforce development.”

Balfour earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in psychology, as well as a doctoral degree in cognitive psychology, all from Texas A&M University. He has served as principal or co-principal investigator on several projects for the US Department of Defense and served on numerous university and system-wide committees on technology and online learning. Balfour also has published articles and book chapters on technology, teaching and assessment.

The University of Georgia launched the Office of Online Learning in July 2012. As a unit of the Office of Instruction, the Office of Online Learning has a mission to provide campus-wide organization, leadership, development, marketing, and support for UGA online learning courses and programs.