Conference Speakers - Faculty Sessions

Faculty Speakers

Fawzi BenMessaoud




Dr. Fawzi BenMessaoud
Fawzi BenMessaoud, Ph.D., has been involved in higher education for more than 25 years, serving as an educator, administrator, and director both at the campus and corporate levels. Most recently he was responsible for curriculum design and development for one of the largest post-secondary education companies in North America with more than 100 schools and online programs.

Throughout his career, Dr. BenMassaoud has combined his passion for technology with a keen understanding of learning theory to design and develop sophisticated online and on-site academic programs at the associate’s, bachelor’s, and master’s degree levels. Dr. BenMassaoud has worked with Jack Welch on behalf of Chancellor University to design and develop the Jack Welch Management Institute, an online MBA program. He designed and integrated lab simulation into Information Security System courses online. This project was named one of the 101 Best Practices in Integrating Technology with Higher Education for 2005 by Campus Technology magazine.


Dr. Gary Carlson





Dr. Gary Carlson
Dr. Gary Carlson has had over 42 years of experience in the academic field. In 1970, he became the first special education teacher in a Jr. High School in Omaha. His love for special education and the challenges in the public schools with the integration of youth into the public schools he became a Supervisor for Special Education for the Omaha Public Schools District. Later he would become a Director of Special Education for 33 school districts in Iowa. In 1990, Dr. Carlson became a Campus Director for a business college in Lincoln, Nebraska. Most recently Dr. Gary Carlson was the very first Vice President for Academic Affairs for ITT Technical Institute in the corporate office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was responsible for academic administration and academic leadership for 127 colleges. After 14 years with ITT he retired. Within a short period of time he started gCarlson Inc. a consulting company for higher education colleges and universities.

During the past 42 years Dr. Carlson has been President for a school board, President for the State of Nebraska Council for Exceptional Children, served on many APSCU committees, has worked with ACICS for 21 years as an evaluator, committee member, Commissioner and currently Chair for ACICS.



Gene Haynes
Gene Haynes has Bachelors in Management and an MBA in Business Administration and Technology Management. Since receiving certification as a laughologist in 2011, Gene has focused his mission to increase workplace productivity, improve schools retention and increase individuals’ health through something as simple as laughter.  Gene is currently a College Professor of Business.


Adriene Hobdy
Adriene K. Hobdy is the Co-Founder of Inspired Leadership Institute where she serves as an Education and Leadership Consultant for organizations in the Greater Philadelphia area.  Adriene also serves as the Director of Undergraduate Accelerated Business at Rosemont College in Bryn Mawr, PA. Certified by EMILY’s List as a Campaign Consultant, Adriene previously served as the Assistant Field Director for the Lois Murphy for Congress Campaign (PA-6th Congressional District).
Adriene is currently pursuing her doctorate of education at Wilmington University in New Castle, Delaware.  She holds a Master of Science in budget and finance from Lincoln University and she earned her bachelors degree in political science from Xavier University of Louisiana. Her research interests are faculty development for online learning, curriculum design and instructional strategies.


Tom Leu
Tom Leu, M.S. is a Member of the National Speakers Association and the Distance Learning Department Chair at Rockford Career College in Rockford, IL. With degrees in Psychology and Sociology, Tom specializes in the art and science of “Communichology™” – teaching from the unique vantage point where communication skills and human psychology collide. Tom frequently writes and speaks on topics pertaining to emotional and social intelligences, persuasion and influence, college and career success skills, and eLearning strategies among others.


Gary Meers


Jim Tolbert
Jim Tolbert is the Chief Executive Officer of Education Futures Group, LLC, Vista College.  Vista College is an Associate’s Degree granting institution with campuses in El Paso, Lubbock, Amarillo, Beaumont, and Longview, Texas and Las Cruces, New Mexico.  Vista College has an online division based in Clearfield, Utah.

Previously, Mr. Tolbert was the Chief Financial Officer and a Shareholder of Virginia College.  Mr. Tolbert was the Founder and CEO of Career College Loan Company, a specialty consumer finance company.  Mr. Tolbert has also worked for McKinsey & Company and Morgan Stanley in the M&A Department in London and New York.  Mr. Tolbert is the past-Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Career College Assoc currently APSCU.  Mr. Tolbert has a Bachelor of Science in Economics, summa cum laude, from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania and a Masters of Business Administration from the University of Chicago.