Leadership & Staff

Karen Thomas


Karen Thomas has spent more than 25 years in the trenches of daily journalism. She worked as a feature writer for 13 years at The Dallas Morning News, specializing in family issues, narrative writing and column writing. Prior to joining the Morning News, Thomas was a national correspondent for the Chicago Tribune and also covered education on a national, state and city level.

Thomas was recently appointed as the inaugural Meadows School of the Arts diversity officer and a special adviser to Dean Sam Holland.

Her writing awards include the Texas Society of Plastic Surgeons’ Media Award for Excellence, the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism’s “Let’s Do It Better!” Award and the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Benjamin Fine Award.

Thomas has been selected a fellow in several programs, including the Knight Center for Specialized Journalism and the Kaiser Family Foundation Media Fellowship in Health. 

Thomas holds a Master of Fine Arts degree in narrative writing from the University of Georgia, a Master of Science degree in journalism from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism/English from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

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Addy Tolliver

Senior Instructional Designer

As the CTE's Senior Instructional Designer, Dr. Adeline "Addy" Tolliver assists faculty in course development, deployment, and evaluation. She is also responsible for assisting faculty with integration of technology and various pedagogical practices to effectively showcase subject matter content and promote student engagement in face-to-face and online courses. In addition to her role at the CTE, Addy is also an Adjunct Clinical Professor in the Department of Education Policy and Leadership.

Prior to joining SMU's Center for Teaching Excellence, Addy worked at Texas Wesleyan University's Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning as an Instructional Technologist. Before her position at Texas Wesleyan, she was a graduate assistant for the Baylor University Online Teaching and Learning Services, a graduate fellow at the Baylor Academy for Teaching and Learning, and the instructor for TED 3380 (Social Issues in Education), TED 1112 (Technology) lab and the graduate level EDC5370 (Technology Fundamentals).

Additionally, Addy has served as the president of the Baylor Graduate Student Association (2010-2012), the Brazilian Student Association (2009-2011), was a member of the Baylor Teaching and Learning with Technology Committee (2009-2012), a Baylor University liaison for the New Media Consortium Campus Leaders Advisory Board (C-LAB), a NMC Horizon.br Advisory Board Member and Research Assistant and more.

Addy is a native of São Paulo, Brazil. All of her degrees are from Baylor University in Waco, TX where she was also a volleyball letterwinner.

She has earned a B.F.A in Graphic Design, a M.S.Ed. in Sport Pedagogy and Coaching and an Ed.D. in Curriculum and Instruction – Instructional Technology (Dissertation Title - Rethinking the Dissertation: A Case Study on the State of Acceptance of New Media Projects as Ed.D. Capstone Experiences).

Addy has presented at numerous professional conferences (OLC, Educause, ELI, NMC, ATE, NAGPS, and others) and has multiple publications in the topic of education including Visions, Voices, and Virtual Journeys: The Future of Distance Education. In Huffman, S. et. al (Eds.), Cases on Building Quality Distance Delivery Programs: Strategies and Experiences (p.269-289). Hershey, PA: IGI and Global and Technology Outlook for Brazilian Primary and Secondary Education 2012-2017: An NMC Horizon Project Sector Analysis. Austin, Texas: The New Media Consortium.

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Kendall Dinniene

Graduate Assistant

Kendall Dinniene is a PhD candidate in SMU’s English Department. She joined the Center for Teaching Excellence in February of 2023 and enjoys supporting the Center’s important work.

Kendall’s research examines how American authors variously affirm, complicate, and resist dominant notions of fatness and how these notions are intertwined with and produce ideas about race, gender, (dis)ability, and national identity. 

She is passionate about inclusive teaching methods and helping students learn to think more deeply about both literature and their world. She is also a big fan of fiddling endlessly with her Canvas courses when she should probably be doing something else. In 2023, Kendall was awarded the Nina Schwartz Graduate Student Teaching award by faculty of SMU’s English Department.

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