Edward L. Ayers has been president of the University of Richmond since 2007 and is a noted historian and the author of ten books on the American South. He is the recipient of numerous honors and awards, including the National Medal for the Humanities, awarded by President Obama at the White House in the summer of 2013. He has also won the Bancroft Prize for distinguished writing in American History and the Beveridge Prize for the best book in English on the history of the Americas since 1492 as well being named a finalist for both the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. Ayers' digital archive project, "The Valley of the Shadow: Two Communities in the American Civil War," has been used in thousands of classrooms around the world, and he works closely with the Digital Scholarship Lab at UR on a digital atlas of American history, funded by a large grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ayers is also a co-host of "BackStory," a nationally syndicated radio show that ties history to the present day. Ayers is an accomplished teacher. In 2003 he was awarded the National Professor of the Year Award from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, and he annually teaches an undergraduate seminar for first-year students.
David Asai is senior director of science education programs at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). At HHMI, his group is responsible for: science education grants to colleges, universities, HHMI Professors, and organizations in the greater Washington, D.C. area; fellowship programs for undergraduates, graduate students, and medical students; and courses including the Science Education Alliance and advanced courses at the Marine Biological Laboratory, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and the Jackson Laboratory. Before moving to HHMI in the autumn of 2008, Asai was on the faculty for 19 years at Purdue University and for five years at Harvey Mudd College. He was head of Biological Sciences at Purdue and Stuart Mudd Professor and Chair of Biology at Harvey Mudd. He was elected to the Purdue University Teaching Academy in 2000 and was inducted into the Purdue Book of Great Teachers in 2003. He was an elected member of the Board of Trustees of the Higher Learning Commission-North Central Association, and is an Honorary Life Member of the National PTA. Asai’s research focuses on the molecular motor dynein; he and his lab have published over 75 research papers and edited two books in the "Methods in Cell Biology" series. Asai currently serves on the Advisory Committee to the NSF Biology Directorate (BIO AC), and several other advisory groups including Understanding Interventions, Science Education Forum, PULSE implementation of Vision and Change, and the working group on Evolutionary Medicine Education of the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center (NESCENT).
Robin Heyden is the founder and principle partner of Heyden Ty, LLC, an educational consultancy. Heyden works with schools, universities, hospitals, national organizations, software developers, and publishers to design and produce online educational materials and experiences that leverage the unique affordances of social media and virtual worlds. Heyden maintains a regular blog, where she reflects on the impact of new media tools on education. For the last two years, Robin has collaborated with NAC&U on their Teagle Grant, "Preparing 21st Century Students through New Visions for Faculty Evaluation, Campus Governance, and Curriculum." She also facilitated the NAC&U Innovation Summit in November 2013.