University Teaching Scholars Chair
Summary of Activities
Dr. Bryan Schurle
The University Distinguished Teaching Scholars Chair provides a faculty member with a truly unique opportunity on campus. As chair, a faculty member can move up and down and around and through all the administrative levels and committee structures within a university. The chair can collect information, solicit help, and request presentations from anyone and everyone ranging from the provost to deans, department heads, faculty, and support staff in addition to any committees that may exist. The person holding the chair position is unfettered by the typical hierarchal structure and committee structure of the university. In addition, the chair is not restricted with regard to direction or vision of a given department, dean, provost or committee. Furthermore, one does not have to bring a committee to a consensus. So, one is free to develop and present ideas that may be controversial and contrary to current thinking.
The opportunity to hold this position and work in the area of distance education was a real challenge. Distance education has proponents and detractors, and it is far from clear what the future might be for distance education efforts. During my year as chair, I perceived an enormous need for communication in the area of distance education and technology use. This need at first appeared to exist between "facilitative" organizations and the faculty who are engaged in teaching activities. However, it became apparent that more communication was needed among "facilitative" people/organizations themselves and among faculty as well. This is not a fault of anyone, but simply a result of an area which is changing so rapidly that everyone is really stressed to keep up with what is currently possible yet alone what might be possible shortly. In summary, with things changing so rapidly, more communication was needed at all levels and among all levels. The needs in this area have not diminished in the past year, and will likely not diminish for many years as change continues rapidly with regard to technology and distance education possibilities.
I received tremendous support from virtually everyone during the year. The list could be very extensive if I tried to list everyone that helped with presentations and providing information and support of all kinds, so I will not attempt to list everyone. But, special thanks are due to Provost Coffman and Vice Provost Unger who were supportive in every way imaginable, and Dr. Vicki Clegg who was extremely helpful and supportive.
The need to pull people and information together regarding such a rapidly changing area as "distance education" was and still is critically important to the university community at large. I hope the distance education programs that were developed during the year I was chair were helpful at a rather critical stage of the development of distance education initiatives at Kansas State University. Since that time, there has been a vast increase in distance education program development. My hope is that some of the current efforts gained some momentum and some direction from the programs produced during that time.
I organized three university wide distance education events during my year as chair. A list of the events includes:
1. A Distance Education Workshop
Featuring: Dr. Janet Poley, President and CEO of A*DEC
and Dr. Allen Featherstone, Dr. Deb Canter,
Dr. Melvin Hunt, and a panel of three student.
Also, a luncheon information exchange between
faculty and service providers for distance
education and technology
Featuring: Dr. Sally Johnstone, Director, Western Cooperative for
2. An Economic Paradigm for Distance Education presented by
Dr. Bryan Schurle as a Provost Lecture.
3. A Distance Education Forum
Educational Technology, Vice Provost Elizabeth Unger,
Dr. Dan Bernardo, and a faculty panel including Dr. Talat
Rahman, Dr. Bob Zabel, and Dr. Stan Elsea.
I hope that these sessions stimulated thought and debate, and enhanced communication during a critical stage of the development of distance education of Kansas State University. It is my hope that I helped move the debate past "it is not going to work/it is going to work" to "where will it work best?".
Attached is a shortened version of the presentation made for the Provost Lecture Series entitled, "An Economic Paradigm for Distance Education." I would encourage anyone interested in the topic to view the tape of the entire lecture which contains additional points not included in this paper.