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Dawley MSMU Online

Lisa Dawley, PhD, is the new executive director of MSMU Online, at Mount Saint Mary's University in Los Angeles.

Lisa Dawley named new director of online programs

Contact:Phillip Jordan

Lisa Dawley, PhD, has been appointed executive director of MSMU Online in Los Angeles. She is responsible for strengthening and expanding Mount Saint Mary’s University’s online undergraduate and graduate degree programs, which now serve students in 26 states.

Dawley is a seasoned educational technology educator and entrepreneur with more than two decades of experience in online education program and technology development, research, practice and policy. She most recently served as chief executive officer and founder of Boise, Idaho-based GoGo Labs, an educational technology company serving educators and students in more than 16 countries. Before that, she was a professor and chair of the Department of Educational Technology at Boise State University. There, she established the state’s first online EdD program and increased enrollment in the university’s innovative ed tech program by 800 percent. That growth was fueled, in part, thanks to the 13 online graduate courses that Dawley designed, and taught, as well as the award-winning 3D quest-based learning platform she co-created, called GameLab.

Now that Dawley’s at Mount Saint Mary's, she plans to use the rich foundation of the University’s 90-year history to help enrich MSMU Online. 

“Our mission is to bring the Mount experience to non-traditional adult students around the world,” said Dawley. “That includes not just academics, but the university’s commitment to supporting women’s leadership and serving our communities.

“During the next year, we’ll ensure that we have the foundation to deliver on that mission by offering a superior student experience that includes a seamless admissions process, enhanced course quality and design – developed in partnership with faculty – comprehensive instructor training and cutting-edge, user-friendly technology.”

Dawley will also help Mount Saint Mary’s keep expanding MSMU Online’s undergraduate, graduate and certificate programs. This past fall, for example, MSMU Online began offering a bachelor’s degree in criminology and an associate’s degree in computer science. The latest offerings to be unveiled this spring include a BS degree in business administration and a certificate in entrepreneurship. Even more options are on the horizon, along with dual-credit opportunities for K-12 and international students.

Earlier in her career, Dawley was CEO and founder of RiverWithin, Inc., which offered professional development for online teachers, and director of educational services at, which specializes in instructional and data management systems. She also served as an associate professor and ed tech program coordinator at California’s Sonoma State University and was a tenured assistant professor of instruction & curriculum leadership at the University of Memphis.

Dawley earned PhD and MA degrees in education, with an emphasis in teaching and learning, from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal studies and a multiple-subjects teaching credential from California State University, Long Beach. Her 2007 book, “The Tools for Successful Online Teaching,” was named a top 20 bestseller by trade publisher IGI Global.

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