About Dr. Nicola Marae Allain

Nicola Marae Allain, Ph. D.
Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities
Associate professor in arts, media, cultural studies,  learning and emerging technologies.

  • Doctor of Philosophy, European Graduate School, Switzerland.
  • Master of Arts, University of California, Santa Barbara
  • Bachelor of Arts, University of Ottawa / Université d’Ottawa, Canada

In my role as Dean of the School of Arts & Humanities, I have direct supervision of the School faculty, professionals, and support staff across 34 locations in New York State, delivering programs in modalities that include individualized studies, classroom study groups, residencies, hybrid, blended, and fully online courses. The School of Arts & Humanities has three departments: (1) Arts and Media (2) Historical Studies, and (3) Literature, Communication, and Cultural Studies.

I have expertise in adult-centered, non-traditional modes of education, mentoring, prior learning assessment, 21st Century learning design, large scale curriculum development, emerging learning environments, media and technology, and change management. From 2002-2010, I was Director of Curriculum and Instructional Design for the Center for Distance Learning. This position, and my previous role at Sul Ross State University, included faculty and professional development as well as thought leadership, trend management, research and dissemination of emerging practices, piloting new approaches to teaching and learning, and building consensus and community around online teaching and curriculum development in a rapidly scaling environment. Learning theory, research in effective practices, and knowledge management provided the foundation for each level of the work.

Teaching and Scholarly Topics: Asia/Pacific Studies, Dance, Design and Digital Arts,  Digital Storytelling, Ethnomusicology, Learning and Emerging Technologies, Immersive Learning Environments, Media Arts, Oceania and Polynesia, Philosophy, Poetry and Translation.

Formerly the director of curriculum and instructional design for the Center for Distance Learning, and dancer/choreographer specializing in Asia/Pacific traditions. I combine expertise in performing and digital arts and technologies with research in learning design, emerging media and technologies, and immersive environments.  I translate French poetry and philosophy, including the work of Philippe Beck.

I also research Ancient Tahitian history, mythology, performance traditions, and ways of knowing to honor the memory of my ancestors. This research focuses on Asia/Pacific and Oceanic philosophy, culture, and performance traditions. My theoretical research interests include power dynamics within the context of taboo and transgression, in relation to individual autonomy and human agency, as well as the artist’s exemption from societal restrictions. These studies are founded upon a primary source analysis and phenomenological exploration of the related Polynesian concepts of Mana (power), Tapu (the tapu system), and Hara (guilt/transgression), and the Ancient Tahitian Ario’i society of performing artists.

As a faculty member, I was active in college governance leadership, and served as an external evaluator/advisor for the Tertiary Accord of New Zealand (for the development of their eCampus across the consortium). I currently  serve on the Steering Committee of the Open SUNY Innovative Instruction Research Council, and the Editorial Board of the Online Learning Journal.

In my free time, I am a NYS licensed wildlife rehabilitator and care for orphaned or injured wildlife before releasing them on the nature preserve and wildlife sanctuary that is my home. I am an artist, poet, and engaged in the Saratoga Springs cultural arts community.