One of OTC’s newest hires hails from a university just down the street.
Dr. Julie Coltharp – Drury’s former Director of eLearning – is OTC’s Dean of Online and Faculty Development. In her new role, Dr. Coltharp oversees the college’s growing online program. She also provides guidance and leadership to OTC’s faculty development efforts.
Dr. Coltharp says one of her biggest goals as dean is to establish a faculty teaching and learning center.
“OTC Online currently provides instructional support, course design and program development services to faculty, but we plan to centralize and build on that to provide even more professional development for them,” she explained. “Now that nearly every course employs some sort of online component, the faculty teaching and learning center will serve all faculty whether they teach seated, hybrid or online courses.”
In addition to honing faculty development opportunities, Dr. Coltharp will also focus on refining OTC Online’s instructional support services for students.
“OTC currently has a robust system of support for online students, but we want to ensure they understand and take advantage of all the resources available to them,” she said.
If Dr. Coltharp had one piece of advice to share with first-time online students, she said it would be to ask questions early and often.
“Get with your instructor. Call or email the OTC Online office,” she said. “The sooner you ask for help, the better. There’s a fallacy out there that perpetuates the idea that online courses are easier than seated courses. But, once you fall behind in an online class, it can be difficult to catch up.”
Before coming to OTC, Dr. Coltharp served Drury University as the Associate Director of Online Education, the Associate Director of the College of Continuing Professional Studies and the Director of eLearning. She says she’s worked in online education since the platform’s infancy in the early 2000s.
“The great thing about online learning is that you can bring the education to the students – wherever they are no matter what stage of life they’re in,” she said. “And that’s always been the most rewarding aspect of my job.”
Dr. Coltharp’s career in higher education began at her alma mater, the University of Arkansas. She worked in the university’s College of Continuing Education department as a program coordinator. After that, she served as the Director of the Southeastern Conference Academic Consortium before accepting her first position at Drury University as the Associate Director of Online Education.
While a student at the University of Arkansas, Dr. Coltharp earned her bachelor’s degree in marketing management, her master’s degree in vocational education, and her doctorate in workforce development/adult education.