Digital Learning Initiative (DLI) Symposium Presenter Profiles

Digital Learning Initiatives and Innovation Throughout the UNC System

Morning Keynote Address: Emerging Technologies and Implications for the Future of Higher Education

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Keynote Presenter

Dr. Charles is a graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Howard University, Northwestern University and Morgan State University. His degrees are in Predictive Data Analytics; Higher Education Administration, and Architecture. He is also a graduate of Harvard’s Institute of Education Management, the American Association of State Colleges and Universities’ Millennium Leadership Initiative, the Executive Leadership Academy, ACE Institute for New Presidents, and Hampton University Leadership Institute. In addition, Curtis completed leadership certificate programs in Big Data and Social Analytics (MIT); Performance Assessment in Higher Education (Harvard University); and Building, Leading, and Sustaining the Innovative Organization (MIT.)

Dr. Charles is a former College President with extensive background in Higher Education, Data Science, and Corporate Business Strategy and Change. Curtis’s career spans across corporate as well as state systems of higher education and private institutions. For 20+ years, he held increasingly complex positions in higher education, from faculty, to Undergraduate and Graduate Department Head, to Senior Academic Officer, to Senior Associate Vice Chancellor, for Institutional Transformation.

Curtis is currently a Data Scientist, Solutions Architect, and leads Microsoft’s EDU AI Ambassadors initiative. In this Data & AI realm, Curtis and his colleagues engage Higher Ed customers in the “Art of the Possible,” to help them drive innovation, disrupt, and transform their business. Data & AI are core to every HiED Institution’s Digital Transformation journey, since customers are relying on data analytics and artificial intelligence to create differentiating digital capabilities, to improve institutional outcomes. ​

Before joining Microsoft, Curtis served as Vice President of Research, Development and Innovation at RLM Communications Inc. – a Department of Defense contracting firm. In this capacity, he was charged with teaming with Industry Partners, National Laboratories and University Researchers to address challenges of compelling interest to the competitiveness and security of the warfighter related in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI); Machine Learning (ML); Big Data Analytics; Predictive Analytics (PA); Cybersecurity; and Biometrics.


Join Microsoft’s Data & AI thought leader, and former HiED administrator, Curtis B. Charles, Ph.D., for an interactive discussion centered around how Universities and Colleges can employ Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and Advanced Analytics to improve learning and institutional outcomes. Dr. Charles will discuss how HiED Institutions are seeking to leverage AI to engage students more deeply, empower educators with tools that give them more time back with students, optimize their institution from an operational standpoint and ultimately transform learning. Finally, Dr. Charles’s talk will cover the 4th Industrial Revolution and the heavy burden on HiED Institutions to educate a society where everyone is contributing to their fullest potential. This means we must educate at SCALE. But since state and federal resources are not growing enough to educate everyone at scale, the UNC community must form partnership with learning technology and service providers like Microsoft, in order to create 21st century learning environments and services.

Presentation Slide Deck

Transforming E-Learning Environments

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