Deborah Thalner, Ph.D.

Deb ThalnerExecutive Director, Online Learning
Ferris State University


Ph.D., Educational Leadership, Western Michigan University
MBA, University of Michigan
BBA, Industrial Management, Michigan Technological University

Dr. Thalner’s background includes 17 years in the automotive industry in a variety of leadership positions, including Information Technologies Manager, Factory Manager, and Manager for Training and Development. In her role as Training Manager, she actively worked with area community colleges on development and implementation of grant funded and corporate funded training programs. She was also an active leader in the development and use of continuous improvement methods, leading many teams on value stream mapping and ‘5s’ continuous improvement projects.  Additionally, Dr. Thalner’s dissertation was on the use of continuous improvement methods in higher education, and was a natural extension of her interest in continuous improvement.

Dr. Thalner joined Ferris State University in 2000 as Assistant Dean for Extended Learning, and Executive Director for Ferris’ non-credit operations, working directly with business and industry to provide employee training and development opportunities. From 2005 through 2012 Dr. Thalner was the Executive Director for Ferris’ programs located in southeast Michigan. In this role she collaborates with a variety of community colleges to provide local BS degree completion programs. She also continues to be active in continuous improvement, leading teams in the analysis and streamlining of processes. In 2012 she took on the role of Executive Director for Online Learning.





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