Dr. Bill Cope — President
Bill Cope, Ph.D, has led Common Ground Publishing since 1984. He is a research professor in the Department of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, USA. He is a former First Assistant Secretary in the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet and Director of the Office of Multicultural Affairs in the Australian Federal Government. His academic research and writing crosses a number of disciplines, including history, education and sociology; and examines themes as varied as immigration, workplace change and literacy learning. For more information, please visit wwcope.com.
Paresh Shah — Director of South Asia
Paresh Shah is post graduate in Business and Entrepreneurial Management from Mumbai University, with further specialization in strategic management and corporate planning from Maastricht School of Management, The Netherlands. He worked for Australian Trade Commission as Business Development Manager for a decade and then with Western Australian Trade Office, where for the last four years he was Trade Commissioner and Director, Trade and Investment for South Asia. Paresh manages Common Ground’s Indian operations and initiates market development activities for Common Ground’s conferences and journals in Asian countries.
Karim Gherab-Martín — Director of Spain, Portugal and Latin America
Karim Gherab-Martín has completed a Master of Science (theoretical physics) and a Ph.D. (philosophy of science and technology) with Highest Honors from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain, with further specialization at Harvard University (2 years) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1 year). He also has worked as an ICT consultant in Spain and Latin America for several years, and written strategic reports on digital libraries for the Government of Madrid. Karim manages Common Ground’s Spanish and Portuguese operations, and leads market development activities for Common Ground’s conferences, journals and books in Spain, Portugal and Latin America.
Kathryn Sloane Weisbaum — Director of Conference Development
Kathryn collaborates with leadership and the conferences team to develop strategies for enhancing conference programming and for integrating CG publishing and software advancements into enriched experiences for conference participants. Kathryn earned her Ph.D. in Education (Measurement, Evaluation, and Statistical Analysis) at The University of Chicago, served on the faculty at the University of California at Berkeley, and directed evaluation and industry-education partnership projects at the Lawrence Hall of Science. Since moving to Champaign-Urbana, she has maintained an active consultancy in educational evaluation, collaborating with teachers, administrators, and academic researchers to design and implement methods for understanding the effects of program implementation. She also has a strong interest in the efficacy of service-based organizations and has worked with a number of non-profits to improve their fiscal management and administrative efficiency.
Emily Kasak — Conference Producer
Emily Kasak is a long-time member of our Common Ground conferences team. She has an Associate’s Degree in Science from Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois, USA and studied Arts Management at the Liverpool Institute of the Performing Arts in Liverpool, UK. Throughout her studies and travels, Emily has organized events around music, the arts, politics, and advocacy. Emily’s involvement in events planning began in 2004, in her work with local and national congressional campaigns. She also worked for four years as the organizer of an advocacy initiative for a national educational coalition and assisted with the coordination of their annual conference in Washington, DC. More recently, Emily’s focus has shifted towards work in the arts and entertainment. Her involvement as a freelance manager/administrator for independent music and arts organizations has allowed her to work with artists directly, at industry conferences, and international arts festivals.
Izabel Szary — Conference Producer
Izabel Szary holds a Master’s degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies with a minor in Museum Studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She received a BA from North Carolina State University in Anthropology with a minor in Biology focusing in Genetics. During her academic career she has lived abroad in Panajachel, Guatemala and Cuzco, Peru. Additionally, she has traveled to Australia as Student Ambassador with People to People. During her graduate career she assisted in the organization of several International conferences and teacher workshops. Since graduating she has maintained close ties to the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at the U of I.
Abigail Manekin — Conference Producer
Originally from Baltimore, Maryland, Abigail inherited her love of learning and travel from her family. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Dramatic Arts with a minor in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the UNC Honors Program in London. Abigail has organized and participated in theatrical performances, workshops, readings, and other events in venues all over the country, including Hartford, Baltimore, San Diego, and New York City. She is currently a resident of Champaign and remains active in local theater.
Homer (Tony) Stavely — Conference Host
Tony Stavely serves as on-site Host at selected conferences and participates in special projects within the Conference Department. He is Professor of Psychology Emeritus at Keene State College in New Hampshire, USA. He has a PhD from Princeton University and a BA from DePauw University. After training in animal learning and behavior, he shifted his attention to personality and social psychology and the history of psychology. His interests and activities have included environmental psychology, the educational uses of computers, technology and society, and issues of diversity and multiculturalism.
Kimberly D. Kendall — Program Development
Originally from Newark, Delaware, Kimberly Kendall earned her BA from the University of Delaware in Marketing and Graphic Arts. She earned her M.Ed. and Ph.D. in Education Policy at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, and completed a post-doc position as Director of Research Opportunities in the College of Education, UIUC. During her tenure at the University, Kim developed and implemented an international internship program responsible for placing students in social, educational, and business organizations.
Jenna Kuik — Program Development
Jenna Kuik received a Bachelor’s degree with majors in Religious Studies and Public Relations from Northwestern College in Orange City, Iowa, and holds a 144-credit Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. She has practiced public relations in an agency setting and as a freelance consultant, specializing in writing, editing, and communications training for the food and fiber industry. Her work has given her special interest and experience in sustainability research and strategies. As a scholar, Jenna is interested in feminist theology, especially the relationship between religion and domestic abuse. She is active in several non-profit organizations, working as an advocate for victims of abuse at the Champaign-Urbana domestic violence shelter and as a minister in a local religious community.
Jessica Wienhold-Brokish — Program Development
Jessica Wienhold-Brokish holds a Master’s degree in Comparative Studies from the Ohio State University and a Doctorate in Comparative and World Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign with a focus on Russian, German, Croatian, and British literature. Her interests include post-communist literature, women’s literature, autobiography, and wartime literature.
Jamie Burns — Managing Editor
Jamie Burns coordinates content development and marketing for Common Ground Publishing’s publications. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in English and World Literature from Pitzer College in Claremont, CA and a Master’s degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She has worked as a literature teacher, ESL instructor, translator, interpreter, and grant writer. She speaks Spanish, Portuguese, and French.
Andrew Shirk — Director of Software Development
Andrew Shirk leads the software development efforts of the company. He has a decade of professional experience designing and developing client-side and server-side applications, primarily for the Java platform. Prior to joining Common Ground Publishing, he served within 3 different units of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Most recently, he was an Application Architect at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS) working on the Networked Environment for Music Analysis (NEMA) project, an open source software project funded by the Andrew W. Mellon foundation. He was also an Application Architect at the Center for Technology and Public Policy (CTPP) where he led the design of the U.S. Social Security Administration BOND (Benefit Offset National Demonstration) project. Before CTPP, he spent 6 years as a Research Programmer in the Automated Learning Group (ALG) of the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA) where he participated in the design and development of a variety of data intensive research applications. Andrew holds a BFA (Bachelor of Fine Arts – focusing on Art & Technology) from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago and an MFA (Master of Fine Arts – focusing on New Media) from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Jason Berg — Education Account Executive
Jason Berg has spent the last decade on the sales and marketing side of educational technology and publishing. He works directly with instructors at educational institutions worldwide to leverage and incorporate technology at the course or institutional level. Whether working with authors and educational publishers on high level visuals designed to increase subject level understanding or exploring the limits of student ability with Wolfram|Alpha and Mathematica Jason is acutely aware of technology resistance and focuses on creating strong internal support networks to increase and sustain usage over time.
Rita van Haren — Curriculum Resource Developer
Rita van Haren is a Curriculum Resource Developer at Common Ground. From 2004-2013, Rita worked closely with teachers in elementary, middle schools and high schools, focusing on improving the teaching of literacy and using technology across the curriculum. She has over 30 years experience in education, and holds a Bachelor of Arts and a Diploma of Education from the University of Wollongong (Australia), a Master of Education, focusing on student diversity from RMIT University (Australia), and a Master of Education in ‘New Learning’ from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign.
Bill Jackson — Accounting Team Manager
Bill Jackson recently joined the staff of Common Ground Publishing, serving as the Accounting Team Manager. His education background includes degrees in Finance and Accountancy as well as an Executive MBA, all from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. He is the retired Chief Financial Officer of the State Universities Retirement System in Champaign. In addition, Bill has taught Accounting, Finance and Economics at Parkland College in Champaign for the past 30 years.