Volume 1, Issue 4

September/October 2009

  From a Distance...

Online Newsletter for Arkansas Distance Learning



2009 ADRLA Conference:  Award Winners
by Karen Liebhaber

Congratulations to the ARDLA award winners! 

Arkansas Department of Education Distance Learning CenterThe Outstanding Distance Education Program award went to the Arkansas Department of Education Distance Learning Center.  As the Outstanding Distance Education Program, the Arkansas Department of Education Distance Learning Center was a distance education program whose staff has demonstrated leadership and replicable innovation in several areas such as ensuring quality instruction, efficient course development, instituting effective retention strategies, promotion, and providing outstanding student services and faculty professional development.  Nominees were submitted by the organization's CEO, president, or senior administrative representative.  The Arkansas Department of Education Distance Learning Center has been a successful distance-learning provider for eight years, from 62 students at 3 schools in 2001-02 to 3,049 at 98 schools in 2008-09.

Teresa Sheree CritesThe Outstanding Distance Education Faculty award was awarded to Teresa Sheree Crites, teacher with the Arkansas Department of Education Distance Learning Center.  Teresa exhibits enthusiasm for using technology and has impacted not only her colleagues, but also her peers in both public and private schools. Wherever she meets with colleagues and during presentations, she demonstrates the many ways technology can facilitate, enhance, and enrich student learning. She was the first of the Distance Learning Center’s faculty to use podcasting for literature, grammar, and short story lessons; her excitement about the difference it made in her classes encouraged colleagues to try it in their classes. She can frequently be seen at school sporting events or awards banquets at the schools after hours, when the activity or school is within driving distance.  Nominees were submitted by the faculty member's president, chancellor, or senior administrative representative. 

John DavisThe first recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Distance Education award was John Davis.  In the early 1990’s, institutions within the State of Arkansas were beginning to adapt interactive video for telemedicine and education. After a meeting of the state video users group (Starnet – now VNet) it was decided that the video users would coordinate and consolidate to a centralized network. John Davis served as the Technical Engineer for this network as en employee of then Southwestern Bell. John Davis provided the connection between customer functional requirements and network architecture. He worked diligently to ensure that the technical foundation of the video network would meet the application demands of distance learning and telemedicine.

The second recipient of the Lifetime Achievement in Distance Education award was Lee Gupton.  Also at the beginning of the VNET system listed above, Lee Gupton was the central figure for operations, scheduling, troubleshooting, and end-user support. Without the help, assistance, and diligent work of Lee Gupton early adaptors of video conferencing would not have enjoyed the level of success achieved.  Lee was a pioneer in video conferencing in Arkansas. While employed with Southwestern Bell and SBC, Lee Gupton was responsible for supporting all aspects of video conferencing including customer care, diagnostics, trouble shooting, scheduling, technical support, installation coordination, video bridge operations, and reporting. Lee Gupton made collaborative video conferencing possible.

The Lifetime Achievement in Distance Education award winners were chosen by the ARDLA board of directors because of their role as a leader who has made a lifetime contribution building and improving the field of distance education.

Lindsay DavisThe Greg M. Heuberger Grant for High School/1st Year College is a $1500 scholarship awarded to an Arkansas high school senior who has currently or previously taken either high school credit or college credit classes via a distance and will be enrolling in college fulltime for the 2009-2010 academic year.  According to one of her teachers, Lindsay Davis "is one of the most poised and focused students I’ve taught in my ten years of teaching."  During a particularly tricky incident involving the use of her work by another student, Lindsay "not only impress[ed] me with her honesty in regard to the situation, but also did not try to place blame anywhere else when I honestly feel she could have done so....She not only faced that challenge and accepted the consequences, but moved on to become a determined and effective writer."

Melissa LambertThe Greg M. Heuberger Grant for Returning to College is a $1500 scholarship awarded to a student who is currently enrolled in an Arkansas college or university taking distance learning classes and is returning as fulltime student for the 2009-2010 academic year. Melissa Lambert was selected because, according to one of her instructors, not only is she a "conscientious student" but "Her main goal seemed to be 'learning,' rather than merely “'making a good grade.'”  Not only does Melissa work hard as a student, she balances her classes with work in the SAU Alumni office and as an active member of two cheerleading squads:  the sporting event squad and the competition squad.

Finally, Cathi Swan was awarded the ARDLA Exemplary Service Award. The ARDLA Exemplary Service Award is a special award that tries to display gratitude to a member who has performed outstanding work for ARDLA.  Cathi's intensive work with her committees, her labors on the conference program, her cheerful and willing attitude, and her extreme effort in organizing the conference made her the perfect choice for this award.  Cathi's jobs as both ARDLA Vice-President and Conference Committee chair were very labor-intensive, yet despite balancing her work as K-12 DL Coordinator and balancing her family, Cathi managed to complete her tasks in what seemed to be effortless style.  Cathi was forever on top of her duties and in every meeting was both prepared and positive.  She managed the sessions, presenters, and conference activities with an air of confidence.  Cathi's devotion to ARDLA and the success of the ARDLA conference merit her as an exemplary ARDLA member.

Please remember to nominate your outstanding department, faculty, or student next year!

About the Author


Karen Powers LiebahberKaren Powers Liebhaber is the Distance Education Coordinator, Blackboard and Moodle System Administrator, and an instructor of English and literature at Black River Technical College.  She earned a Master of Arts in English from Arkansas State University.  She lives in Pocahontas with her husband and two children.

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