September Staff Spotlight: Christine Scherer

by Loren Guay

Staff Spotlight: Christine Scherer

This month, we’re spotlighting our Senior Instructional Learning and Accessibility Specialist (SILAS), Christine Scherer! In the interview below, Christine takes us behind the scenes of her work with Distance Learning.  

How long have you worked here? How did you come to join the DL team / get involved in distance education? 

I’ve been with DL since January 2014! I joined the team because of my interest in copy editing, but my role has grown to far more than that. 

Describe your typical “Day in the Life.” 

A work from home set up with two elevated monitors and a keyboard. A white cat occupies the computer chair.
Christine’s WFH setup, with assistant Harley the cat.

My typical workday starts with checking my email to see what courses have been submitted for review. I’m responsible for assigning out those courses to either freelance copy editors, to the Content Specialist, or to myself to review for writing style, copyright regulations, and accessibility. 

I spend most of my time working on course reviews, reading through all the material in a course to ensure that it meets our standards for quality. I get to learn about a lot of different topics this way—I know way more about machine learning, UX design, and healthcare administration than I’d ever expected! 

Outside of course reviews, I help manage and facilitate our faculty training workshops, and I collaborate with partners across the university on accessibility and universal design programs. I really enjoy creating and facilitating training opportunities for faculty and staff! I get to connect with people from all across the university, and hearing the questions that people bring always teaches me something new.

What’s something about your job that might surprise readers?

Copy editing isn’t about enforcing the rules of grammar! I really want to make sure that an instructor’s content gets to students without any barriers—whether those barriers are unclear language, missing due dates, or a lack of captions.

What’s your favorite resource or tool that not many people know about?

I love as a resource for all things digital accessibility. The site covers so many topics in a way that’s easy for people without a computer science background (like me!) to understand and learn from.

What’s the most unusual job you’ve ever had? Did it give you any interesting takeaways? 

I wouldn’t say it’s an unusual job, but I’ve learned a lot from my role as a volunteer board member for my local farmers’ market. How to work on a group of people with widely divergent backgrounds, interests, and skills; how to navigate Chicago’s bureaucracy; how to manage a very limited budget in the best way possible; and how to raise funds during a global pandemic.  

It’s often challenging, but every month when I see the reports about how much money we’ve given away to people in need in our community, it’s all completely worth it.


The Distance Learning team is part of the Northwestern School of Professional Studies (SPS). To keep up with news, staff spotlights, online education insights and more, subscribe to the new DL newsletter (The DL Digest) and check out the rest of the Distance Learning blog