Nathan Whitley-Grassi

Dr. Nathan Whitley-Grassi is the Director of Digital Accessibility, Media, and Learning Environments at SUNY Empire State College. He leads the colleges efforts in each of these three areas. In addition, he serves as Empire State College’s Electronic and Information Technology Accessibility (EITA) Officer and leads EITA efforts at the college to ensure digital and technology accessibility, and holds the concurrent rank as an Assistant Professor.

Whitley-Grassi holds a PhD in education from Walden University and holds graduate degrees in biological anthropology and ecology, evolution and behavior from SUNY University at Buffalo and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Armstrong State University / Georgia Southern University in Savannah Georgia. 

Whitley-Grassi also teaches courses in biological anthropology, primate behavior, conservation, wildlife conservation, and ecology & evolution topics at the undergraduate level. He also teaches in the Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies (MALET) program where he teaches courses on educational assessment, STEM education, instructional design. In addition, he has experience advising graduate and undergraduate students.

Whitley-Grassi’s research interests include increasing access to STEM experiences through innovative technology integration, educational assessment, faculty development, and increasing access for students to technology enhanced learning (students with disabilities, first generation, and other access issues).



  • B.S. in Biology from University of Georgia
  • M.A. in Biological Anthropology & Ecology, Evolution, & Behavior from University at Buffalo - State University of New York
  • Ph.D in Education from Walden University
  • M.A. in Biological Anthropology & Ecology, Evolution and Behavior from University at Buffalo - State University of New York


  • Joyce McKnight Open Educational Resource (OER) Fellowship
  • Open SUNY Effective Practice Award
  • Online Learning Consortium Effective Practice Award
  • OPEN SUNY Research & Innovation Fellow


  • Whitley-Grassi, N., Whitley-Grassi, B., Hoppel, S., & Zgliczynski, M., (In press forthcoming 2021) Medical vs. Social Models of Disability: Increasing Inclusion and Participation of Students in Online and Blended Learning in Higher Education. International Perspectives on Supporting and Engaging Online Learners. Blessinger, P., & Hoffman, J.. (Eds.).
  • Matias, A., Woo, K., & Whitley-Grassi, N. (2018). Expanding Access to Science Field-Based Research Techniques for Online Students through OER. International Journal of Open Educational Resources,1(1). doi:10.18278/ijoer.1.1.7
  • Matais, A., Whitley-Grassi, N., & Woo, K., (2016) Ecology and Earth Science Virtual Field Experiences OERs: Expanding Access to Field-Based Research Techniques for Students at a Distance. Open Education: International Perspectives in Higher Education. Ble
  • Sullivan, R., van Putten, C. & Whitley-Grassi, N. (2015). Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Discovering and exploring within a supportive professional development community. In S. Carliner, C. Fulford & N. Ostashewski (Eds.), Proceedings of EdMedia: Wor
  • Sullivan, R., Tysick, C.A., Pilawski, B., Shi, S., van Putten, C., & Whitley-Grassi, N. (2014) Tools of Engagement Project (TOEP): Online Professional Development through Structured Inquiry and a Virtual Community. Inquiry Based Learning for Faculty and I
  • Whitley-Grassi, N & Hoefler, P. (2013). Technology Approaches to Final Papers and Projects. In C. Wankel & P. Blessinger (Ed.s) Increasing Student Engagement and Retention using Social Technologies: Facebook, e-portfolios and other Social Networking Whitley-Grassi, N & Bazer, J.S. (2010). Comparison of Effectiveness of Class Attendance vs. Online Lecture Viewing in Learning Human Physiology, The International Journal of Instructional Technology and Online Learning. Oct. 7(10). P. 31-38