Meet the Staff

Karen Shader


Dr. Karen Shader, Associate Director

Karen is an accomplished learning expert, education system planner, instructional system designer, educator, applied researcher, and faculty and staff development professional with over thirty years of progressive education leadership roles earned in a variety of challenging environments. Her work with others has resulted in the Alabama Quality Award, the Top 100 in Training, The Chronicle: Great Colleges to Work for. She served as the Assistant Director of Instructional Technology at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and as the Director of Instructional Design at Troy University Online.

Karen has directed and coordinated all activities of an Instructional Design team including course design & development, course readiness, faculty readiness. She has a strong technical background including technical infrastructure, course management systems, audio, visuals and other instructional technology and enjoys working with Faculty, Deans, Chairs, and Program Directors to assist with design and use of technology in curriculum and course. She is outcome-oriented and is collaborative in her work. She is pleased to join the University of Tennessee Health Science Center and to serve as the Associate Director of the newly formed Teaching & Learning Center .

In her role, Karen works with educators across programs to facilitate professional development opportunities, identify effective and efficient means through which to disseminate emerging literature and best practices related to specific educational innovations, and ensure the Center remains focused on supporting teaching and learning. She accomplishes this through working with academic and student affairs deans, faculty affairs deans, and faculty representatives and groups.

Veronia Reliford-Thomas

Veronica Reliford-Thomas, Administrative Specialist III

Veronica Reliford-Thomas is the Administrative Specialist III for the Teaching & Learning Center. She is a long time state of Tennessee employee in higher education. Reliford-Thomas began as an Office Coordinator (Grant Position) but immediately became the Executive Secretary to the Office of the Provost, Executive Vice President. This role enabled her to communicate easily and extensively with Faculty, Students, Tennessee Board of Regents and other Community Colleges in the region.

In her current position, she provides general administrative support to the Associate Director and Staff of Teaching & Learning Center.  She serves as the first point of contact to the patrons, faculty, and staff of UTHSC.  She is highly skilled, motivated and enthusiastic to be a part of our team.

Bryan Berretta

Bryan Berretta, Academic Technology Consultant II

With nearly 20 years of experience in education, Bryan has served as a classroom teacher (working with children as young as three to adults returning to education,) technical trainer, director of technology, and library director. As well as serving as keynote for staff development training and consulting with numerous K-12 schools across the nation, Bryan is a Microsoft Innovative Educator certified trainer and has helped numerous schools develop technology and software deployment strategies and classroom integration plans. While working to help support UTHSC, Bryan also continues to teach collegiate level religious studies and philosophy courses.

Zelphia Brown

Dr. Zelphia A. Brown, Instructional Designer

Zelphia is a talented post-secondary educator and administrator in the fields of Education, Human Capital Management, and Business with over 16 years of experience.

The consummate academician, Zelphia has admirable experience in online and traditional classroom instruction, instructional design, curriculum development, course development, program development, classroom management, institution/program accreditation and re-affirmation as well as faculty and student affairs.

Zelphia is responsible for teaching and learning excellence by integrating instructional design principles and technology across various modes of delivery as well as type of course to support faculty and staff.  She will accomplish this by designing and delivering faculty and staff development programs, providing guidance in applying instructional design best practices, consulting with and advising faculty who are developing or redesigning course, assisting in course design and development, and coordinating campus and external resources that support teaching and learning.  Also, she serves as the Quality Matters Coordinator and will focus on using Quality Matters standards to strengthen the design associated with hybrid and online/distance education courses.

Zelphia earned a doctoral degree in Adult Education (EdD) as well as a bachelor’s degree (BBA) from the University of Memphis and a master’s degree (MBA) from Arkansas State University.  She has been certified Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) since 2002 as well as a certified Development Dimensions International (DDI) Trainer.

Bryan Berretta

Dwayne Butcher, Digital Media Specialist

Dwayne Butcher joins the Teaching & Learning Center after having spent the last three years at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.  While there, Butcher ran commonvision, UMBC’s Print, Design, and Animation Studio. He managed a staff of 12 designers, animators, office and production room assistants that were tasked with conceptualizing creative content and facilitating marketing campaigns for the Division of Student Affairs.

He received his MFA from the Memphis College of Art in 2008. While at MCA, he developed a deep interest in the integration of Digital Media expression with traditional art forms. His personal art work wittily comments on his life as a citizen of the American South, often around issues of gender identity. He has exhibited work in Paris, Helsinki, Milan, Amsterdam, Washington D.C., New York City and Los Angeles, and Chonqing, China. He is represented by the David Lusk Gallery in Memphis.

He curated 100 exhibitions at the P&H Center for the Arts in Memphis, TN as well as numerous exhibitions at the University of Memphis and Cheekwood Museum in Nashville, TN. He is the former editor of Number: Inc and contributes articles for a variety of local, regional, and national publications. Butcher is also currently a contributing writer for the Memphis Flyer.  

He has been featured in articles focusing on his work and community art projects for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Hyperallergic, Art21, and Big, Red and Shiny. 

In his role, Dwayne helps facilitate communications in regards to the TLC’s events and professional development opportunities with the UTHSC community.

Samba Diop

Samba L. Diop, Academic Technology Application Specialist III

Samba has over 6 years experience working with educational technology in Higher Education. Samba provides technical expertise and direction in supporting academic technologies used in teaching and learning for face-to-face, hybrid, fully online, and distance education courses.
Samba is originally from Senegal. He received a B.S. in Information Systems and an MBA from The University of Tennessee at Martin. He begin his professional tenure at UT Martin as Web Developer and joined UTHSC in 2013.

Keedra Smith

Keedra Smith, Academic Technology Consultant II

Keedra joins the UTHSC family from UT Family Medicine where she held the position of Medical Office Assistant. She has over 3 years of experience teaching in higher education as an Adjunct Faculty member of Vatterott College in their Medical Assistant program. In her role as an Academic Technology Consultant, Keedra manages special projects and initiatives related to the use of academic technology in teaching and learning. She maintains knowledge of a range of academic technologies and appropriate/relevant pedagogical uses and participates in program-level, large group discussions of the uses of academic technology. Keedra is a key administrator for various technologies here on campus such as Adobe, ExamSoft, and Zoom as it relates to classroom learning. Keedra has an Associate of Applied Science degree in Computer Networking from ITT Technical Institute. She also has a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an emphasis in Computer Information Systems from Middle Tennessee State University. She received her Master of Education degree with an emphasis in Computer Technology from Strayer University.


Contact us

For questions, concerns or comments? or 901-448-1218

Karen Shader, PhD
Associate Director
Office: 901-448-2947

Zelphia Brown, EdD
Instructional Designer

Dwayne Butcher
Digital Media Specialist

Veronica Thomas
Administrative Specialist III

Academic Technology Support Contacts