Dr. Kemi Jona joined the Provost’s Office on November 6, 2023. In this role, Jona will collaborate with partners across Grounds to refine and implement the University’s digital education strategy, helping to shape UVA’s vision for online education in alignment with our position as one of the nation’s leading public research universities.
The 2030 Plan calls on the University to expand the reach of its educational programs—both in person and online—and to make UVA more accessible, including to adult learners across and beyond the Commonwealth. Jona will work closely with partners in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies and UVA|Northern Virginia toward these goals. He will also collaborate with school leadership across Grounds to advance their goals of reaching learners beyond Charlottesville and to develop and deliver innovative learning opportunities of varied format and length—both credit-bearing and non-credit credential programs—that will serve the needs of learners and employers in a rapidly evolving world of work.
Jona has deep expertise in the fields of computer science, online learning, curriculum design, and education, and has worked at the forefront of learning science and learning technologies for more than 25 years. He applies insights from cognitive and learning sciences to the design of online, blended, and hybrid courses with a focus on enhancing quality, access, and equity. Jona is coming to us from Northeastern University in Boston, where he serves as assistant vice chancellor for digital innovation and enterprise learning. He has been PI or co-PI on over $15 million in federal grants while at Northeastern and will bring some current grants with him to UVA.
In his seven years at Northeastern, Jona oversaw the design of highly scalable digital experiential learning platforms and formed strategic partnerships to support seamless lifelong learning pathways. Much of his work has focused on providing educational access to underserved populations. He was the founding director of the Lowell Institute School in Northeastern’s College of Professional Studies, which offers bachelor’s degree completion programs to working adults and builds pathways to graduate degrees. Jona collaborated with industry professionals and overhauled the school’s degree program portfolio to align with emerging workforce priorities in STEM fields.
Previously, Jona was a research professor and administrator in the School of Education and Social Policy at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, where he led research and development projects advancing STEM education. He developed new learning technologies, including tools for online science and remote labs, and new interest-driven approaches to engage youth in STEM and STEAM. He was the founding director of the Northwestern University Office of STEM Education Partnerships, which connects the university with the K-12 community.
Jona has also worked with Carnegie Mellon and Cornell universities, and is an advisor and consultant to industry, nonprofits, school districts, and federal, state, and local agencies on the future of work and learning, talent strategy, and employer-higher education partnerships. He is the author or co-author of more than 100 articles, book chapters, conference presentations, and reports on learning technologies, STEM education, and online and blended learning. He holds a PhD in Computer Science from Northwestern University and did his undergraduate work in computer science and psychology at the University of Wisconsin.