Leadership Team

Rob Bruce

Robert Bruce

Email: rob_bruce@unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-2646


The Friday Center director provides administrative oversight for all of the Center’s programs and services. The director oversees development of education programs that accommodate a wide range of learners and broaden access to the University’s resources; and promotes the center’s mission, vision, values, and strategy. The director also fosters collaborative partnerships within the University community and across other institutions.

Dr. Rob Bruce joined the Friday Center in 2011, after nineteen years of experience working as a higher education leader in a variety of academic roles. Before joining the Friday Center he served as the associate dean for research and continuing innovative education at the University of Texas at Austin. Rob earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Texas at Austin and his master’s and doctorate in English from Texas A&M University. His scholarship has focused on 19th and 20th century American literature.


Jessica Brinker

Email: jessica_brinker@unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-2644


The director of Credit Programs provides leadership and strategic oversight for the Center’s portfolio of credit-granting programs including Carolina Courses Online, Part-Time Classroom Studies, and UNC Core. Additionally, the director of Credit Programs is responsible for the relationship and collaboration between Friday Center Credit Programs and UNC-Chapel Hill academic departments.

Jessica joins the Friday Center after six years at UNC-Chapel Hill, working most recently as the Operations Director for the Master of Public Administration (MPA) program at the School of Government, as well as previously working at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan-Flagler Business School to develop and launch online formats of existing on-campus programs. Prior experience includes undergraduate academic advising, student government and student organization advising, and management of a campus framework for student organization recognition, both at Duke University and Ohio State University. She has a MA in Higher Education Administration from Ohio State University and a BS in Business Management from North Carolina State University.


David Elkins

Email: sdelkins@email.unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-2589


The director of business operations prepares, submits, monitors, reports, and forecasts the budgets and accounts for the various Friday Center units. Additionally, this position provides financial perspective to the Friday Center’s plans and strategies, and advises colleagues on applicable fiscal and administrative standards, guidelines, and regulations.

With 18 years of experience in financial management, David has worked for UNC-Chapel Hill for 16 years, with previous positions in the Office of Sponsored Research and the Department of Pediatrics in the School of Medicine. David earned his Business Administration degree from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro.


image placeholderCarolyn Ingram

Email: carolyn.ingram@unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-1107

The executive assistant/payroll coordinator works in partnership with the Friday Center director to both maintain and implement the systems and procedures required to ensure the workflow of the Director’s office. This individual also collaborates with academic business offices, dean’s offices, and the Provost Office’s Unified Business Center (UBC) for Academic Initiatives to implement instructor payroll systems and procedures, as well as process ongoing instructor appointments and payroll for both credit and non-credit programs.

Carolyn is a skilled program administrator, who most recently served as a university program associate in the UNC-Chapel Hill Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost. There she provided project management support to the campus-wide centers and institutes review initiative. Carolyn earned her BA in political science with a concentration in public policy from Meredith College, where her focus was college access and academic success for students from underrepresented groups.


Annette MaddenAnnette Madden

Email: madden@email.unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-1123


The director for Professional Development and Enrichment Programs leads the development and execution of noncredit continuing education programs including evening courses, seminars, lecture series, and professional certificate programs—with an emphasis on interdisciplinary collaborations and extension of the University’s research and resources to a broader community.

Annette Madden earned her BA in psychology from UNC-Chapel Hill and her MEd in higher education administration from North Carolina State University. Her diverse career in continuing education has included work in health affairs, women’s studies, business, and the performing arts.  For the past seventeen years she has served as program director of the BRIDGES Academic Leadership for Women program.  She is the 2007 recipient of UNC-Chapel Hill’s University Award for the Advancement of Women.


Cecily NisbetCecily Nisbet

Email: cecily_nisbet@unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-1124


The development officer creates and executes long-term strategies to secure funds in support of the mission and programs of the Friday Center—identifying, cultivating, and stewarding individual, foundation, and corporate donors. The development officer also works with marketing staff and program development personnel to optimize Center programming opportunities for building financial support.

Cecily Nisbet received a BS in hotel management from Cornell University after growing up in the hotel business in Hawaii. For the past fifteen years she has worked in alumni relations and fundraising for various organizations, including Harvard and Cornell universities. She is the chair of the board of Kidzu Children’s Museum in Chapel Hill. She relocated to Chapel Hill from Cambridge, Massachusetts three years ago so her husband could begin working for the Ackland Art Museum. They have two young children.


Tyler Ritter

Tyler Ritter

Email: tyler_ritter@unc.edu
Telephone: 919-843-5836


The chief operating officer in the Carolina Office for Online Learning (COOL) directs daily operations of this University office, located in the Friday Center. The COOL offers consultation, design, and marketing support for a broad range of UNC-Chapel Hill online programs offered through professional schools, departments, and centers.

Tyler Ritter has twenty-five years of experience in marketing and strategic communication design. She held marketing and supervisory positions in the Friday Center’s department of communication and instructional design from 2004 to 2016, when the COOL was formed. Prior to joining the Center, she held senior leadership positions in several regional advertising agencies. Tyler obtained her BA in speech communication from UNC-Greensboro. In 2010 she earned a graduate certificate in technology and communication from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Journalism and will complete her Masters in Technology and Communication in December 2017.


Virginia TaylorVirginia Taylor

Email: vrt@email.unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-1618


The community and university relations coordinator develops and implements the Friday Center’s community relations programs to ensure the Center’s presence in local, regional, state, and national communities. The community and university relations coordinator is responsible for establishing, nurturing, and maintaining positive external relationships with individuals, businesses, and organizations that support the Center and its mission.

Virginia Taylor joined the Friday Center team after working for eight years as assistant to Bill Friday. She has work and volunteer experience with many non-profits and faith communities in Chapel Hill and Durham. Virginia earned a BBA in business and an MA in community counseling from the University of Mississippi, and a Master of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California.



Debra Watkins

Email: watkinsd@email.unc.edu
Telephone: 919-962-2591


The director for conference services directs and executes logistics for conferences and events hosted at the Friday Center and oversees the daily operations of the Friday Center’s conference facility including oversight of conference planning, business development, and technology services.

Debra Watkins has twenty-one years of experience in events management. She was previously senior associate director for events management at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Carolina Union, where she collaborated with all segments of the University community on the development of University policies, programs, and services for student organizations. For ten years, Debra served on the Carolina Union Performing Arts committee, and in 2011 she received the University’s Diversity award. Debra holds a BS in business administration from North Carolina Central University.