Don Tharp, Ph.D., Educational Technologist

Dr Don Tharp Desk

School of Public Affairs 
1420 Austin Bluffs Parkway
Colorado Springs, CO 80918 
Phone: (719) 255-4992  

 Tharp Curriculum Vitae
 Bio:  

Don recently joined UCCS School of Public Affairs as its Educational Technologist.   Don wanted to return to academia and to assist faculty and students in their learning; he also wanted to be part of the growing SPA team. 


Don brings a rich background of experience and education to his educational technology position at the School of Public Affairs.  Don moved to UCCS School of Public Affairs from Lockheed Martin (Training and Logistics Systems) after 2.5 years designing training and learning systems for customers around the world.  At Lockheed Martin he especially liked working with customers to design and develop training/learning systems using technology to enrich learning. Prior to working with Lockheed Martin, Don served in the Air Force for 28 years.  He started out flying the "tough as nails F-4 Phantom II jet", then transitioned to teaching at the Air Force Academy and flying training aircraft. After completing his PhD in Educational Technology at the University of Northern Colorado, he returned to Air Force Academy as an Assistant Professor in Educational Technology.  The Air Force sent Don to work with the US Army as a Static-line Jump qualified Air Liaison Officer for 10 years in multiple locations around the world including Iraq and Afghanistan. "My last assignment was at Air University as the Chief of Future Learning and Associate Professor responsible for leading the integration of technology across Air Force learning communities."    

Don considers his greatest professional accomplishment to be the training and leading of men and women. He continues, "Seeing their success in their jobs and their confidence grow as we developed as a team to meet worldwide operational requirements was amazing!"   Don's goal at UCCS School of Public Affairs is not totally different: "To assist the School of Public Affairs grow to be a leader in our field of education." To do this he hopes to help the faculty and staff provide a learning environment where they can experiment with learning techniques and technology that would be beneficial to teaching success and student learning by integrating appropriate technology to maximize learning in any given situation. Explaining this goal, Don states, "Technology can be a great tool, but you have to remember it is just a tool and it's how you use the tool that makes it beneficial to the process." This should be an achievable goal for Don as he was named the USAF Academy's Outstanding Educator by his peers and students.     

Don has been married over 30 years to his "lovely wife Mona."  Together they have two children, both married. Recently, he became a grandfather for the first time.  Willow is Don and Mona's min-pin; Willow, Don admits, rules the roost now that their children are gone.   Don is an avid reader of fantasy novels, history books, and, of course, instructional technology articles on learning.  His favorite quote comes from his high school football coach, "If you ain't trying, you're dying."    

In addition to his Ph.D., Don holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in History from Michigan State University, a Master of Arts degree in Asian Studies from the University of Philippines, a Master of Science degree in Strategic Studies from the National War College.