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K-State Today

April 8, 2011

Leading by example: Continuing education dean earns prestigious recognition for extraordinary leadership

Submitted by Julie Fosberg

Serving as dean of continuing education at Kansas State University is more than a career -- it's a lifelong passion for lifelong learning.

Sue Maes accepted the University Professional and Continuing Education Association's most prestigious national recognition, the Julius M. Nolte Award for Extraordinary Leadership. The award was presented at the association's annual conference, April 6-9, in Toronto.

The Nolte Award is given only in years when a nominee demonstrates exceptional, longstanding contributions to continuing education at the regional, national and international levels. For the past 40 years, Maes has actively engaged in the field of adult and continuing education to advance areas such as rural education, community development, diversity, educational technology and interinstitutional collaborations and partnerships.

Several of her leadership and service roles in regional initiatives include founding the Rural Clearinghouse for Lifelong Education and Development, created to improve rural access to education through regional networks; working with the Kansas Center for Rural Initiatives to create a rural outreach assistance center for K-State; and consulting with the Midwestern Higher Education Compact.

Maes also co-founded the Big 12 Engineering Consortium, the Institute for Academic Alliances and the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance, or Great Plains IDEA, a consortium of 18 universities sponsoring interinstitutional graduate programming.

"Online learning allows universities to build partnerships that help distance students remain employed while continuing their education, and that's what we did with the Great Plains IDEA and other consortia," Maes said. "Partner institutions can utilize resources from each other to offer complete online programs that help extend their university beyond the campus and beyond our region."

Her involvement on national committees and within continuing education organizations includes serving as president of the University Professional and Continuing Education Association from 1998-1999. Maes' published works focus on continuing education topics, and she has served as an editorial board member for the Rural Special Education Quarterly and as guest editor for the Continuing Higher Education Review. In 2000, Maes was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame, serving as its president from 2006-2007.

"I am deeply indebted to my continuing education colleagues from across the nation for recognizing my contributions to the profession," Maes said. "Extending K-State's lifelong educational opportunities to place-bound learners, to those who need advanced career training or who value personal enrichment is critical to keeping our nation academically active and flourishing."

The Nolte Award totals 10 national awards K-State has received from the University Professional and Continuing Education Association this year. Awards are based on excellence in distance education programs, teaching, leadership, research and marketing/publications.

Maes also received the Richard Jonsen Award for Outstanding Contributions to the E-learning Community, the highest national award given by the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, in fall 2010.

Prior to her appointment as dean of continuing education, Maes served as senior development officer for the K-State Educational Communications Center, where she led in the development of telecommunications and multimedia infrastructure.

More information about the K-State Division of Continuing Education is available at http://www.dce.k-state.edu.