About IDEA


The mission of the University of Maryland School of Social Work IDEA team is to support quality teaching, learning and research. We provide services and resources related to instructional design, eLearning, pedagogy, educational technology, assessment, and evaluation. We partner with SSW faculty to design high-quality, accessible, and impactful online and hybrid courses. We put our knowledge of research-based practices, assessment, and alignment of curriculum, tools and technologies for teaching and learning, innovation, and experimentation to work for the School of Social Work. Reporting to the Associate Dean of Academic Affairs, the IDEA Team is led by the Assistant Dean of Instructional Design and Technology. 

It is best to email ideateam@ssw.umaryland.edu to reach any of us for any of your needs. One individual may respond to you based on your needs and our availability.

Meet the Team

Dr. Clark Shah-Nelson, DBA, MA

Assistant Dean of Instructional Design and Technology

IDEA Team leadership, Blackboard and documentation support, instructional design, and training oversight

Bike commuter, Boomers Bar and Grill BrewMaster, papa to two fine fellows, husband to an MSW Macro Education Community Coordinator

Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) 

Burrito master, electronic musician, retired actor, hiker,  fairly fluent in Norwegian and German

Research interests include virtual teams and collaboration, knowledge management, mindfulness, and leadership and synchronous communications 

Dr. Clark Shah-Nelson, DBA, MA

Ashlie Kauffman Sarsgard, MFA, MA

Lead Instructional Designer

Online/Hybrid course design and redesign, training and faculty development, orientations 

Interests in writing instruction, flipped classrooms, activism, urban farming, and gardening practices

Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Poetry) from New York University, Master of Arts in Writing (Fiction) from Johns Hopkins University, and Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing (Fiction) from the University of Maryland, College Park

Ashlie Kauffman Sarsgard, MFA, MA

Colin Fagan, MS.

Sr. Instructional Technology Specialist

Sr. Instructional Technology Specialist with expertise in Blackboard, Course Evaluations, and Competency Data Support. 

Enjoys golfing, lacrosse, and is a father of three. 

Holds a Master's degree in Financial Management and Information Systems and is interested in research related to business analytics and competency data collection methods.

Colin Fagan, MS.

Rodney Urand, MS.

Instructional Technologist 

Instructional Technology and Learning Management System support.

Masters in Learning Design and Technology 

Research interests include: online student engagement, blended learning, microlearning, QM, multimedia production, AI and VR.

Father to five girls, certified Public Speaker, Reverend and Wedding DJ, originally from Australia. Enjoys NASCAR, baseball, football, music, technology, traveling and happy hours (just not all at the same time).

Rodney Urand, MS

Cathy Hanssens-Passeri, MA.

Instructional Designer 

Online/Hybrid course design and redesign, training and faculty development, and orientations

Helping you develop the best courses for your students 

Masters in Instructional Systems Development. Bachelors in Digital Media and Web Technology

Interests in different design elements, love of the outdoors, sports, and gardening. She loves to travel, especially back to her home land of Australia.

Cathy Hanssens-Passeri, MA

From the History Vault

Date Last Reviewed/Update: 3/14/23