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  Infopoverty Institute

Meet the Infopoverty Institute Staff

John E. Steffens, Ph.D.
Executive Director,
Public Service Institute

The University of Oklahoma
E-mail: steffens (@ou.edu)

John E. Steffens holds a Ph.D. in general administration from the University of Oklahoma and currently serves as Executive Director for the College of Continuing Education, Public Service Institute at The University of Oklahoma. His background incorporates a broad spectrum of educational experiences, including school teaching and administration; international programs; development of a broad variety of human and social service programs; the evaluation of social service programs; and the organizational analysis of schools and social service organizations. He has served as a special consultant to the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, the U.S. Department of Education, the National Advisory Council on Equal Educational Opportunity, the Bureau of Indian Affairs, the Institutes of Health, the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense and Labor, the Urban League, the U.S. Air Force, the Organization of American States and a host of other state, local and community agencies, departments and programs, nationally and internationally.

Departmental Programs:

Over the years, programs in Dr. Steffens’ division at the University have worked extensively with school systems, communities, social service organizations and agencies,
and law enforcement groups throughout Oklahoma, the nation, and the world. Dr. Steffens’ special skills include training and technical assistance for short courses, conferences and institutes; administration of contracts in addition to analysis and interpretation of legislative regulations as well as educational improvement and the development of public, private, and government organizational responses to human needs.

Arthur Cole Ph.D.
Infopoverty Institute
The University of Oklahoma
Email: Arthur.Cole-1 (@ou.edu)

Arthur Cole joined our staff after serving more than two decades with the federal government in Washington, D.C. in a broad range of increasingly responsible positions where he supervised educational programming for the most in need from a broad national, international and cross-cultural perspective.  He is a member of the career Senior Executive Service. His last assignment was in the Office of Elementary and Secondary Education, Department of Education, where he was responsible for overseeing more than twenty federal programs in the areas of technical assistance, choice, teacher quality and educational opportunity.  Programs such as Charter Schools, the Comprehensive Technical Assistance Centers and Teacher Quality experienced their most rapid growth under his leadership.

The comprehensive nature of the programs under his leadership included all of the fifty states and addressed special needs of the Pacific territories, Puerto Rico and The Virgin Islands.  Special programs, school improvement, major formula-grant programs in teacher quality and flexible innovative programs all provided assistance to State and local educational leadership.

Dr. Cole also headed up the Department of Education’s training and development office that served the department’s 5,000 staff members.  He also held other positions in Education including Deputy Director of the White House Initiative for Historically Black Colleges and Universities, positions as an analyst in Teacher Corps and the Office for Civil Rights. He also served in the White House as an analyst for the Office for Hispanic Affairs.  Dr. Cole also brings an international perspective to the position having served as Country Director for the Peace Corps mission in Lesotho, southern Africa.

Dr. Cole holds a bachelor degree in education from Buffalo State College. He has a Master of Science degree in rehabilitation counseling and a Ph.D. in Foundations of Education from the State University at Buffalo.

Jan C. SimmonsJan C. Simmons, Ph.D.
Infopoverty Institute
The University of Oklahoma
E-mail: jcsimmons (@ou.edu)

Jan C. Simmons is co-founder and director of the Center for the Study of Small/Rural Schools at the University of Oklahoma (1991), in addition to her work in helping to establish the Infopoverty Institute (2004) at the University of Oklahoma. She directed the annual conferences on Creating the Quality School as well as numerous other conferences held in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Education, USAID, state agencies, and others. In addition to these events across the nation, she has conducted and participated in training programs for international rural educators.

Under the aegis of USAID, Simmons directed a five-week program for Bolivian rural indigenous educators. She served as an Invited Observer and Respondent, International Group of Solar.Net Villages Cooperatives, Tegucigalpa and San Ramón, Honduras, January 25-29, 2001. Simmons also directed the New Frontiers in Learning conference in Brighton, England, an international conference aimed at developing new strategies utilizing innovative information and communication technologies. She developed and conducted eight week-long leadership institutes for the top echelons of the Oklahoma Army National Guard. She is a member of several international educational organizations and holds awards from the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) and the National Rural Education Association (NREA). Simmons has presented at national and international conferences. She is author or co-author of several articles in peer-reviewed publications and is co-editor of two books on educational reform.

Simmons holds a bachelor of science degree in secondary math education; a master of education degree in adult and higher education administration with an emphasis in training and development; and a Ph.D. in adult and higher education administration with emphases in leadership, continuing education, and international education.