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Kent State UniversityFaculty

The Kent State University faculty who teach the online Master’s in UXD program have an unparalleled passion for making the world better through human-centered design. They are pioneers in the field of UX design, and they bring with them:

  • Diverse backgrounds that reinforce the program’s unique blend of human-centered thinking, design and information architecture
  • Active industry experience and involvement in national UXD organizations
  • Ability to serve as industry contacts for students and alumni

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Faculty Bios



Ben Woods photo, soft smiling middle aged white man with very closely buzzed hair

Ben Woods, M.S.

Part-Time Faculty
dwoods4@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Since 1999 Ben has been focused on enhancing user experiences. From Fortune 500 companies to medium sized manufacturing companies, non-profits and sole-proprietorships, Ben has worked with all kinds of organization. As an Experience Design professional, he collaborates with IT, marketing and communications professionals to deliver the best experiences for customers. As an instructor, Ben works to make complex concepts applicable to students’ work and experience.

Ben is a member of Northeast Ohio UPA, Information Architecture Institute and has given presentations on user experience issues to various audiences including the Internet User Experience Conference (Ann Arbor), Northeast Ohio UPA, Tri-C and Kent State University. His primary research foci include: Information Architecture, Usability Research, navigation systems and ubiquitous computing.


Drew Shipka

Coordinator, Online Learning
ashipka@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Andrew Shipka (MA – Philosophy, MLIS – Library Science, MS – IAKM) became a graduate assistant for the Library and Information Science department when he started the dual masters program in 2007 and has been working at Kent State University ever since. While a student and as part of his assistantship he learned the art of becoming an Educational Technology Designer and was lucky enough to secure a position after graduation. He is currently working at the Office of Continuing and Distance Education to help improve online classes at KSU.

He has been a resident of Northeast Ohio since birth, but has taken several opportunities to travel outside the country for education, employment, and enjoyment over extended periods including; Canada, South Korea, Israel, Costa Rica, Ireland, Philippines, Austria, Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, and France.

He currently lives in Kent, OH with his girlfriend and two ferrets.


Laura Creekmore

Part-Time Faculty
lcreekmo@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Laura is president of Creek Content, a consultancy focused on content strategy and information architecture for organizations in highly regulated fields like health care and financial services. Recent Creek Content projects include the development and implementation of the content strategy for a private personal health improvement site, and the content development and community engagement strategy for a software company’s customer support community. In 2011, she began studying for a master’s degree in information science at the University of Tennessee. Her true interests lie in the study of information, how we organize it externally and internally, and how we can best channel the fantastic amounts of information available today into useful intelligence.


Marcia Zeng photo, smiling middle aged asian woman with long straight black hair

Marcia Zeng, Ph.D.

Professor in The School of Information
mzeng@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Marsha’s major research interests include knowledge organization systems (taxonomy, thesaurus, ontology, etc), Linked Data, metadata and markup languages, database quality control, multilingual and multi-culture information processing, and digital libraries for cultural objects. Her scholarly publications consist of more than 80 papers and five books, as well as about 200 national and international conference presentations, invited lectures and keynote speeches. She was also Director-at-large of the Association for Information Science and Technology (ASIS&T) 2010-2013. She currently serves on the Dublin Core Metadata Initiative (DCMI) inaugural Advisory Board Chair.


Paul Sherman photo, smiling middle aged white man with buzzed hair and a short beard

Paul Sherman, Ph.D.

Part-Time Faculty
psherma4@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Paul Sherman is founder and principal consultant at ShermanUX. He has worked in the field of usability and user-centered design for the past 15 years. Previously, he was the Senior Director of User-Centered Design at Sage Software in Atlanta, Georgia, where he led efforts to redesign the UI and improve the overall customer experience of the Peachtree Accounting desktop application and ePeachtree web-based app.

He served as a senior lecturer for more than three years at the University of Texas at Dallas, where he taught a three-course sequence in Human Computer Interaction for the Applied Cognition and Neuroscience graduate program.

Sherman earned his doctorate in human factors psychology from the University of Texas at Austin. His research focused on how pilots’ use of computers and automated systems on the flight deck affects their individual and team performance. He obtained his master of education from Rutgers Graduate School of Education and his bachelor of arts in English from Rutgers University.


Stacy Surla, M.A.

Part-Time Faculty
ssurla@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Stacy is currently User Experience Team Lead / Senior Information Architect. She has over 20 years experience in managing project teams and delivering enterprise-focused user experience services for web applications and websites in the non-profit and government arenas. Her specialties include user centered design, user research, information architecture, e-government, web strategy, metadata and taxonomy development, Web 2.0, mobile web, content management systems, and Section 508 compliance. Ms. Surla is on the Editorial Board of the Journal of Information Architecture and was twice elected to the Board of Directors of the IA Institute. Her publications include a chapter in “Making Library Web Sites Usable: A LITA Guide,” articles in the ASIST Bulletin, and regular blog posts. She has made numerous public speaking, TV, and radio appearances on a range of user experience and technical topics.


Darren Hood

Darren Hood, M.S. Ph.D. Candidate

Adjunct Professor
dhood@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Darren is extremely passionate about all things UX, holding 22 years of experience in human-computer interaction, with the last 15+ years focusing on UX and CX. He currently serves as an experience design lead for Ryder's supply chain and logistics operation. Darren also serves as an adjunct professor for Kent State University’s UX Design Master’s program and as an adjunct professor at Lawrence Technological University in metro Detroit. He holds an MS from Syracuse in Information Management, an M.S. in User Experience Design from Kent State, graduate certificate in Educational Technology from Michigan State, UX manager certification from Nielsen Norman Group, and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Educational Technology at Northcentral University.


Jennifer P. Teves

Jennifer P. Teves, M.S., Ph.D.

Part-Time Faculty
jteves@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Jennifer is currently the principal product researcher for User Experience and Accessibility at Target Corporation. She is also a member of the UX Philippines Board. Jen joined Kent State University's School of Information - UXD program in January 2018 as a part-time faculty member. Prior to her stint at Target, she worked at Veritas Technologies as a principal UX researcher for enterprise backup and recovery solutions. She was a UX researcher at Honeywell International, for almost four years, where she worked on building automation solutions and led global research efforts. Jen earned her PhD in Experimental Psychology (Human Factors) from Wichita State University, Kansas, an MS in Experimental Psychology from University of Louisiana-Monroe, and a BS in Psychology from Assumption College in Manila, Philippines. She has a passion for education and has committed herself to mentoring and opening up opportunities for the younger generation. Her current research interests include inclusive design and multi-sensory user interactions.


Jessica Becker

Jessica Becker, M.S.

Adjunct Professor
jbecker@kent.edu
User Experience Design

Jessica Becker joined Kent State University as an adjunct instructor in the spring of 2019. With more than 18 years' of experience in visual design, front-end development, interaction design and user experience design, she is passionate about sharing this knowledge with others and implementing it in her everyday work.

Currently, Jessica is the executive director of web design and development at Case Western Reserve University. She oversees all visual and user experience design and manages a team of developers.

Jessica previously worked in web communications at Northwestern University as a senior web designer and Jockey International on their e-commerce team.

She holds a master's degree in User Experience Design from Kent State University and a bachelor's degree in biology from Bowling Green State University.

Jessica is also the president of UXPA Cleveland, a professional organization dedicated to improving user experiences across Northeast Ohio.


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