Canvas is the centrally-provided and supported learning management system at Penn. Because of Canvas’s ability to integrate third-party tools, it is important for the campus community to help evolve the learning platform in ways that best meet the needs of Penn students and faculty now and into the future. To achieve this goal, there are two governing bodies that provide oversight for Courseware and help guide the Penn Libraries’ Courseware team: the Courseware Steering Committee and the Courseware Advisory (see membership below).

Courseware Governance Structure at the University of Pennsylvania

Key Responsibilities

Sponsors: University strategy guided the implementation of a single, centrally supported learning management system. The aim was to provide a consistent, professional learning experience for all students at Penn. In so doing, not only did a community of practice emerge among support staff, faculty, and students, but also innovations continue to emerge and spread across campus.

Penn Libraries: The Penn Libraries’ Courseware Services Team supports Canvas centrally and works with staff across Penn schools and centers to help faculty, staff, and students use Canvas meaningfully in their academic work. The Libraries’ key roles include managing the campus-wide administration of Canvas and its integration with other Penn systems (such as the Student Registration System and Penn Community); managing system-wide communications about Canvas; coordinating Courseware Advisory activities and Courseware Steering Committee priorities and decisions; and managing the relationship with the vendor, Instructure.

Courseware Steering Committee: The Courseware Steering Committee members provide guidance, decisions, and direction based on recommendations from the Courseware Advisory. For example, the Advisory group may recommend a policy revision, or a pilot of a new third-party application. The Steering Committee reviews and approves changes that can affect and improve the learning environment for all of us at Penn. This group meets at least once per semester.

Courseware Advisory:  The success of Penn’s Canvas implementation is dependent upon the excellent distributed support provided by our colleagues in schools and centers (see image below). The Courseware Advisory is comprised of Penn academic and IT support staff who help faculty and students use Canvas on-site in their schools and centers. They serve as local Canvas experts who offer hands-on training and seek to resolve issues as they arise. They provide valuable input to the Libraries about support needs, policies, software problems, and success stories. The key roles for this group include routinely communicating Canvas news to their school or center communities; identifying, testing, and recommending Canvas enhancements; and soliciting community feedback about Canvas and our collective support of it so that we can continually improve. This group meets at least three times per semester. New members are welcome. Contact to join

Distributed Courseware Support Model

Distributed Courseware Support model at Penn with participating units represented: Courseware Advisory, Courseware Steering Committee, Schools and Centers, and Penn Libraries

Campus Committees: There are many standing committees at Penn and we welcome the opportunity to present updates, share information about pilots, and gather feedback from committee members. While we will continue to reach out to groups annually, we also invite them to reach out to us if we can be of service. Such committees may include: Undergraduate Assembly, GAPSA, Council of Undergraduate Deans, Faculty Senate, Faculty Department Meetings, Interest Groups, Student Groups, etc.

Courseware Steering Committee (CSC)

This group consists of IT and academic leadership at Penn. It is the decision-making body for Courseware.

AnnenbergRichard Cardona
Arts & SciencesChris Mustazza, Elizabeth Scheyder
Center for Teaching & LearningBruce Lenthall
DentalMelissa Miller
DesignAlex Jarymovych
EngineeringChris Niemeyer
Graduate School of EducationKim Eke
ISCDonna Milici
LawKay McDonnell
NursingBrandon Lodriguss, Erin Marshall
Online Learning InitiativeRebecca Stein
Perelman School of MedicineAnna Delaney
ProvostRob Nelson
RegistrarMargaret Kip, Adam Sherr
Social Policy & PracticeDavid Allegretti
VetTonya Bennett
WhartonDave Siedell
Courseware Advisory LiaisonRob Ditto

Courseware Advisory (CA)

This group includes representatives from all the schools at Penn and coordinates user support, documentation, and training for Courseware.

School/CenterPrimary RepresentativeAdditional Representative(s)
AnnenbergMin Zhong 
Arts & SciencesElizabeth Scheyder 
Arts & Sciences Online LearningAngelina ContiClayton Colman, Joe Schaffner
Center for Teaching & LearningJessica Morris Cathy Turner
DentalChia-Wei Wu 
DesignEzra Lee 
EngineeringChris Niemeyer 
English Language ProgramUla CuttenBetsy Jane Kells
Graduate School of EducationLinda A
LawChristine Droesser 
NursingErin MarshallAnthony Auge
Perelman School of MedicineNadir ShahLaura Hart, Sara Shaffer, Adam Zolkover
RegistrarMeghan Mahony 
Social Policy & PracticeNicole Auge 
VetTonya Bennett
WhartonRob DittoLinda Lee

Last Updated: 29 Sep 2022