February 7, 2012

Diana G. Oblinger and Michael A. Peters to Receive Honorary Degrees from SUNY Empire State College

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. Feb. 7, 2012) State University of New York Empire State College President Alan R. Davis today announced that the SUNY Board of Trustees unanimously passed a resolution approving the conferral of honorary degrees to Diana G. Oblinger, president and CEO of EDUCAUSE and Michael A. Peters, professor of policy, cultural and social studies in education at the University of Waikato in New Zealand and emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at graduation ceremonies this spring.

The honorary doctorate degree is the highest form of recognition offered by SUNY to persons of exceptional distinction.  Oblinger will be awarded a doctorate of humane letters and Peters will be awarded a doctorate of letters.

“Dr. Oblinger is a friend and an esteemed colleague of this college,” said Davis. “Her commitment to helping students and faculty bridge the digital divide and embrace technology-enhanced educational opportunities have made her a valuable resource to not only our college, but to the SUNY system, and to higher-education institutions around the globe. We are very pleased that she has accepted this recognition of her work.”

“I am deeply honored to be recognized by Empire State College, an institution that throughout its history has led the nation in its commitment to meet the changing needs of learners through innovative, personalized instruction,” said Oblinger. “My thanks go to President Davis and the SUNY Board of Trustees.”

“We at SUNY Empire State College believe Dr. Michael Peters is very deserving of the title of Doctor of Letters,” said Davis. “His commitment to social justice and educational policy, and the depth and breadth of his scholarship align perfectly with both Empire State College and the State University of New York’s mission and purpose. Professor Peters is a visionary whose ideas expand our understanding of teaching and learning and of open education in all its forms.”

“It’s a great honor for me to be awarded a Doctor of Letters from SUNY Empire State College, a public institution committed to the community of nontraditional adult learners and the principles of critical inquiry, democracy, sustainability and social justice that epitomize the open university in the 21st century,” said Peters. “I am absolutely delighted to receive this honorary degree in the name of ‘open education’ and I would like to herald the work, passion and commitment of individual faculty, mentors and administrators who, working collaboratively and in partnership, make possible a new vision of education based on genuine innovation, flexibility and alternative approaches to higher education to empower and transform learners. In times of economic survival, such openness stands for new ways of revitalizing and enhancing the public status of our institutions, knowledge and learning as global public goods, and for connecting purposively with the lives of its students.”

The resolution was recommended to the Board by Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher after a rigorous process that begins at the campus, moves to a system-wide committee of faculty, staff, SUNY Trustees, then to the chancellor and finally to the full Board of Trustees.

The board of trustees took this action Wednesday, Jan. 25 at its regularly scheduled meeting, which was held in New York City at the SUNY College of Optometry.

About Diana Oblinger

Oblinger is president and CEO of EDUCAUSE, a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education through the use of information technology. The current membership comprises more than 2,300 colleges, universities and education organizations, including 250 corporations. Previously, Oblinger held positions in academia and business: vice president for information resources and the chief information officer for the University of North Carolina system, executive director of higher education for Microsoft, and IBM director of the Institute for Academic Technology. She was on the faculty at the University of Missouri-Columbia and at Michigan State University and served as the associate dean of academic programs at the University of Missouri.

Since becoming president of EDUCAUSE, Oblinger has become known for innovative product and services growth as well as international outreach. For example, Oblinger created the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative (ELI), known for its leadership in teaching, learning and technology innovation as well as several signature products, such as the 7 Things You Should Know About series. She also initiated EDUCAUSE’s first fully online events and its e-book series, including Educating the Net Generation and Learning Spaces.

About Michael Peters

Peters is professor policy, cultural and social studies in education at The University of Waikato, in New Zealand, emeritus professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and adjunct professor in the School of Art, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology and School of Foreign Studies, Guangzhou University. He is the executive editor of Educational Philosophy and Theory and editor of two international ejournals, Policy Futures in Education and E-Learning and Digital Media.

His interests are in education, philosophy and social policy and he has written over 60 books, including most recently “Education Philosophy and Politics: Selected Works of Michael A. Peters (2011); Education, Cognitive Capitalism and Digital Labour” (2011), with Ergin Bulut.

His commitment to social justice and open education is evidenced in his many books and publications.  Peters has taught and lectured internationally, having been a visiting scholar on five different continents, and he infuses his global expertise into his erudite writings and pedagogical lessons.  Many of his published works have been translated into a multitude of languages, extolling his global expertise and reach.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout their college career.  Students engage in guided independent study and coursework onsite, online or a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace of their choosing.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in New York state and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more.

 For additional information, visit www.esc.edu.

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