September 21, 2011

SUNY Empire State College Wins Prestigious Sloan-C Award for Faculty Development for Online Teaching

Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College’s Center for Distance Learning has been selected by the Sloan Consortium, an association of institutions and organizations of higher education engaged in online learning, to receive its 2011 Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching award, one of only nine awards Sloan-C will present at its annual international conference in November.

“SUNY Empire State College is world renowned for its excellence in online education, and I am so proud that the Sloan Consortium has chosen to recognize its achievements with this award,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher. “Supporting faculty in online teaching has everything to do with student success – improved access, increased course offerings, and often providing a manageable balance between time in the classroom and on the job. I congratulate President Davis and his team for truly raising the bar in this field and for their contributions in making SUNY a premier provider of online learning opportunities.”

“I am grateful to the Sloan Consortium Awards Committee for selecting the college to receive national recognition,” said college President Alan R. Davis. “The college offers some 500 courses as well as complete degree programs online, which makes ongoing faculty development an essential component for continuing student success.  The award from Sloan-C highlights the college’s national leadership in online teaching and learning and congratulations go to David Caso and to Linda Lawrence and to all those who collaborated on this effort.”

From 2005 to 2010 demand for courses delivered through the college’s Center for Distance Learning doubled. In order to ensure continuing quality, additional faculty were retained and CDL evaluated its new faculty orientation program, Teaching at CDL.

Research conducted through surveys of faculty, existing data and student feedback led to enhancements to Teaching at CDL including just-in-time meetings and review sessions, as well as updated information on pedagogy and procedures.

Further, faculty development is now an ongoing process and includes webinars, more frequent individual consultation, and access anytime anywhere to the newly created online faculty support resource center and more.

More importantly, the knowledge gained through the process also is integrated into faculty evaluation and student success.

A distinguished committee of national leaders in online education was responsible for evaluating the nominations for the Sloan-C awards.

Sloan Consortium logo from the Sloan-C website

“The 2011 recipients all have demonstrated exceptional leadership and real success in advancing online education,” said Burks Oakley II, vice president of Sloan-C and chair of the Awards Committee. “The competition for this award was particularly strong this year, and the Selection Committee felt that the Empire State College faculty development program was exemplary.”

Criteria for the 2011 Faculty Development for Online Teaching award are:

  • Effectiveness, the program has led to faculty teaching large numbers of high-quality online courses,
  • Scope of Impact, the program has been implemented institution-wide or within a significantly large segment of the institution,
  • Faculty Satisfaction, the program has maintained a high level of faculty satisfaction, and
  • Supporting Letters, which address the quality and effectiveness of the faculty development program.

A press release on the 2011 awards is available on the Sloan-C website.  Meg Benke, SUNY Empire State College’s provost, was selected to serve as the Sloan-C president for 2011.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College, celebrating its 40th year throughout 2011, was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from SUNY. Students learn through independent studies, online courses, seminars and residencies. Learners also may earn credit for prior college-level learning from work and life experience.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at 35 locations in New York and online. Its 63,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, not-for-profit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, and more.

For additional information, visit More information about the college’s 40th anniversary is available on the college’s 40th anniversary web page.

About Sloan-C

The Sloan Consortium is an institutional and professional leadership organization dedicated to integrating online education into the mainstream of higher education, helping institutions and individual educators improve the quality, scale and breadth of education.



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