DEN@Viterbi: 50 Years of Distance Education

DEN@Viterbi enables students to advance their education with an innovative online delivery method. In addition to over 40 graduate programs, professional (non-credit) courses are also available. Though on-campus attendance is not required to earn the degree, students can also choose to come to campus to attend courses and interact with other classmates on campus and off campus through DEN@Viterbi's unique blended delivery systems.

The 50th Anniversary of DEN@Viterbi

Join fellow DEN@Viterbi alumni, faculty, and supporters for a day of engaging presentations and discussions, highlighting 50 years of impact and a look ahead of what is possible in the future. Click here to RSVP.

Thursday, September 21, 2023


1:15 p.m.             Check-in and Registration

  • Registration RTH 526
    • DEN tour offered or go straight to RTH 526
    • Walkthrough control center and classroom tour (7-10 mins each)

2:00 p.m.          Welcome (30 mins) (RTH 526)

  • USC Viterbi Associate Dean Binh Tran
  • Stephen Lu, Viterbi iPodia Global Education Program
  • DEN Ambassador Jonathan Messer: Veteran Naval Aviator and Space Systems Engineer

2:30 p.m.          Panel Discussion 1 – Online Learning: Reshaping education, democracy and communities (45 min)

This discussion will focus on how distance learning and technological advancements have been critical to reshape education, democracy and societies, and the military/veteran’s community. 


  • Panelist 1: Mike Gruntman, Professor of Astronautics, USC Viterbi (Teaching class to students in Ukraine) 
  • Panelist 2: Trina Gregory, Associate Professor of Information Technology Practice, USC Viterbi (Teaching class to Afghan women) 
  • Panelist 3: Jonathan Messer (Active-duty Navy while an M.S. DEN Student – SARE and ASTE; Veteran Naval Aviator and current PhD ASTE student)
  • Moderator: Kelly Goulis, Senior Associate Dean for Admission & Student Engagement, USC Viterbi

3:15 p.m.          BREAK

3:30 p.m.          Panel Discussion 2 – Online Learning: A tool for accessibility and equity in education (45 min)

This discussion will delve into the transformative potential of distance learning as an accessibility tool and equalizer in the realm of education. We will examine how distance learning has opened doors for individuals, bridging gaps and empowering learners from diverse backgrounds. 


  • Panelist 1: Ryan Williams, D. EE, Assistant Professor, Virginia Tech (Online academic support for Ph.D. studies)
  • Panelist 2: Debbie Jih, Senior Director, USC Office of Student Accessibility Services (OSAS)
  • Panelist 3: Robert Hansen, CEO, University Professional Continuing Education Association (UPCEA)
  • Moderator: Candace House Teixeira, Associate Dean of Corporate Engagement and Programs, USC Viterbi

4:15 p.m.          BREAK

4:30 p.m.          Panel Discussion 3 – Online Learning: An ever-evolving landscape (45 min)

This discussion will explore the ever-evolving online learning landscape and its impact on education. With the rapid advancements in technology and the global shift towards digital learning, we will discuss the trends, challenges, and opportunities that shape this dynamic landscape. 


  • Panelist 1: Krishna Madhavan, Principal Group Manager - Senior Director at Microsoft, AI Innovation in Education
  • Panelist 2: Bill Swartout, Research Professor of Computer Science, USC Viterbi (Generative AI center and AI in education) 
  • Panelist 3: Ingrid Steiner, Associate Director of Faculty Development in Pedagogy
  • Moderator: Erik Johnson, Vice Dean for Academic Programs, USC Viterbi

5:15 p.m.             Event Concludes

For any inquiries, please contact

Please see links below for additional information about DEN@Viterbi
The DEN@Viterbi Experience >>
Programs Available Online >>
How to Get Started >>

Published on March 13th, 2023

Last updated on September 20th, 2023