Lori Holcomb McClaren, Ph.D.

Executive Director of the School of Professional Studies

Dr. McClaren is originally from Connecticut but has called Raleigh home for over 12 years. She is an avid Clemson fan and enjoys going to Carolina Hurricanes hockey games with her husband. In her spare time, Dr. McClaren enjoys traveling, going to the beach at Cape Cod, and spending time with her beloved rescue dog, Gracie Belle. Her favorite Raleigh restaurant is 18 Seaboard.

Under her direction, the online programs have been awarded numerous distinctions, including the Top Online College for 2015 and 2016 by Affordable Colleges Online.

The people of Peace are the best. I love the tight-knit community!

Give Courageously to Peace

Thanks to the generosity of William Peace University supporters, current and future WPU students have access to the resources needed to learn through immersive experiences, build upon their courage and develop the confidence needed to turn passion into purpose.
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
a student uses a laptop on a green bench at William Peace University

Give Now

Support future Pacer success. 


Become a Corporate Partner

Find out how your organization can collaborate with Peace.


Whether you’re hoping to attend WPU or hosting an event, you’re welcome to visit WPU! 

Wedding at WPU
Phantom in downtown Raleigh

Conferences and Events

Host your conference, event, or wedding at WPU.

Location and Directions

Get directions, our address, a campus map, and hotel discount information.


Learn about WPU and all it has to offer so you can guide your students to the best fit for their next step. 

Admissions Info

Meet and connect with our Admissions team.

Schedule a Visit

Learn about our processes and schedule a visit.


Our success as an institution has always been rooted in the strength of our community. As an integral part of that community, we invite alumni to stay informed and connected. 

Alumni outside at WPU
Roses float in the campus fountain after an alumni event.
Building at WPU

Get Involved

Stay connected to Peace.


Contribute to the success of future Pacers.

General Info

Read about alumni benefits.


Families are an integral part of a student’s path to WPU. Find answers to your questions here. 

Two WPU students work together on a project during class

Student Success: Why Choose WPU?

Learn about the value of an education at WPU.

Billing and Due Dates

Questions about your student’s enrollment or billing? Start here.

Current Students

Already a Pacer? Here’s your quick path to information, links, and other useful stuff.

Group of students talking
Students high-fiving each other

Current Students

Missing something? Can’t find a link? Start here.

Current Parents and Families

Is your student a Pacer? Here’s where to get information and contacts.

Future Students

Welcome to William Peace University! We offer programs for both traditional undergraduate students and online/hybrid classes through our School of Professional Studies. Find your path to WPU here.

Three WPU students walk through a brick archway on campus.
Three students discuss their work during class.
Older gentleman at a computer

First Time in College

Your WPU education will help you build practical skills for your future.

Transfer Students

Transfer up to 90 credit hours from any institution. 

Working Professionals

Enhance your existing career.

A WPU student works on a video game in the new esports and gaming lab on campus.
Woman in army green typing at computer
Two female international students


If you previously attended WPU and are ready to return, start here. 


Learn more about how to apply the GI bill.

International Students

Find out how to attend WPU.


WPU has a long history as one of the city’s oldest universities. Find out more about our institution in the heart of downtown Raleigh. 

2023 Student Showcase
Staff Pumpkin Painting


Through 160 years, William Peace University has evolved to meet the changing needs of the students we serve.


William Peace University is a small, private institution located in downtown Raleigh, NC.

Work at WPU

Join our team and see why William Peace University was voted one of the Triangle’s Best Places to Work!

DEI Staff
Design Rendering of WPU

Contact Us

Contact the University

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Learn about DEI at WPU.

Mission, Vision, and Values

Learn about WPU core tenets. 

Student Life

Whether you want to know more about on-campus events or see our residence halls, get a sense of what life is like as a student at WPU.

WPU Student on bouncy slide
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
WPU Safety Officer

Clubs, Activities and Events

Discover what’s fun at WPU.

Housing & Dining

When people say that WPU “feels like home,” we think that’s the ultimate compliment.

Safety & Security

The Office of Public Safety is committed to providing a community-friendly approach to enhancing campus safety for students, faculty and staff.

Dining room at Peace
A WPU student sits with his friends while eating at Belk dining hall.
Health and wellness at WPU


Cheer on your Pacers at their next home game.

Student Support Services

Find out how the WPU team supports the whole you.

Health and Wellness

Learn about physical and mental health services available to students.


WPU offers a mix of more than 30 degree programs and additional minors. Our courses are four credit hours each, and every course features immersive learning experiences.

A student in WPU's online School of Professional Studies works on her homework.
2023 Internship Showcase

Immersive Learning

Find out about WPU’s unique approach to learning.

Center for Student Success

Peer tutoring, a first-year success program, and an internship program are just part of why Pacers succeed. 


Start here to find out how to apply, visit, and learn more about WPU.

Before you apply:

Admissions team
students walking on campus
A student reviews scholarship and payment information in the financial aid office.

Connect with an Admission Couneslor

They’ll be your guide through the process.

Visit Campus

Get a feel for campus life.

Understand Costs

Find out about Financial aid and other options to pay for college.


  • Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut
  • MA in Educational Psychology, University of Connecticut
  • BA in Early Childhood Education, Clemson University
  • Additional Studies, FORSPRO, Madrid, Spain

Activities & Honors


  • Omicron Delta Kappa: National Leadership Honor Society
  • Sigma Iota Rho: Honor Society for International Studies
  • Pi Lambda Theta: International Honor Society and Professional Association in Education
  • Golden Key National Honor Society

Research & Publications

Research & Publications

Dr. McClaren’s research emphasis is governed by the integration of technology into teaching and learning. Dr. McClaren has focused her research on distance education and emerging technologies. Her research in these areas provides empirical support that expands our understanding of emerging technologies and how they can be utilized to support learning and communication in distance education courses.

  • Holcomb, L.B. & Kruger-Ross, M. (2013). Enhancing social presence and communities of practice in distance education courses through social media. In B. Patrut, M. Patrut, & C. Cmeciu (Eds.), Social media and the new academic environment: Pedagogical challenges. IGI Global Press.
  • Beal, C. M., Holcomb, L. B., & Lee, J. K. (2013). The Global Learning Initiative Project: Building a technology rich project to support student/teacher collaboration and global understanding. In New directions in social education research: The influence of technology and globalization on the lives of Students. Information Age Publishing, Greenwich, CT.
  • Kruger-Ross, M. & Holcomb, L. B. (2012) Educational technology as a subversive activity. Special Issue of Metropolitan Universities Journal on Web 2.0 Technologies in Higher Education.
  • Brady, K. P. & Holcomb, L. B., & Pijanowski, J. C. (2012). To Facebook or not to Facebook? Reassessing teacher privacy in a digital age. West’s Education Law Reporter
  • Beal, C. M., Holcomb, L. B., & Lee, J. (2012). Super-sizing social studies through the use of Web 2.0 technologies. Social Studies Research and Practice.
  • Kruger-Ross, M & Holcomb, L. B. (2011). Toward a set of theoretical best practices for Web 2.0 and web-based technologies. Meridian, 13(2).
  • Tingen, J., Philbeck, L., & Holcomb, L.B. (2011) Are classroom web sites evolving to meet the needs of 21st century? Kappa Delta Pi, The Record.
  • Holcomb, L.B., Brown, S. W., Lima, C. O. (July, 2010). Assessing the impact of a performance-based assessment on educators’ technology self-efficacy measures. International Journal of Instructional Media.
  • Holcomb, L. B., Brady, K. P., & Smith, B. V. (2010). The emergence of “educational networking”: Can non-commercial, education-based social networking sites really address the privacy and safety concerns of educators? Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 6(2), 476-482.
  • Brady, K. P., Holcomb, L. B., & Smith, B. V. (July, 2010). The use of alternative social networking sites in educational settings: A study of the e-learning benefits of Ning in Education. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 9(2), 152-171.
  • Holcomb, L. B. & Beal, C. M. (2010). Capitalizing on Web 2.0 in the social studies context. TechTrends 54(4).
  • Holcomb, L. B. (2009). Results & lessons learned from 1:1 laptop initiatives: A collective review. TechTrends, 53(6), 49-55.
  • Holcomb, L. B., Beal, C., & Robertson, A. (2009). Using Web 2.0 to support learning in the social studies context: Our journey from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 and beyond. Social Studies Research and Practice, 4(3), 43-54.
  • Holcomb, L. B. (2008). Addressing the Issues: So the world isn’t flat after all. In Teaching social studies in middle and secondary schools. Beal, C., Bolick, C., Martorella, P. (2008) Teaching social studies in middle and secondary schools (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River: Pearson Merrill Prentice Hall Publications.
  • Oliver, K., Corn, J., & Holcomb, L. B. (2008). Student-reported differences in
    technology use and skill after the implementation of one-to-one computing. Educational Media International, 45(3), 207-220.
  • Holcomb, L. B., Castek, J., & Johnson, P. R. (2007). Unlocking the potentials of K- 12 classroom websites to enhance learning. The New England Reading Association Journal, 43(1), 36-43.
  • Holcomb, L. B., King, F. B., & Brown, S. W. (2004). Student traits and attributes contributing to success in online courses: Evaluation of university online courses. Journal of Interactive Online Learning, 2(3).

Contact Lori Holcomb McClaren