ST. LOUIS, Mo., May 4, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) presented two awards for excellence in distance learning to Western Governors University, www.wgu.edu, at the association's annual conference yesterday. The nonprofit, online university took home its second 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance Learning, and Dr. Phillip Schmidt, Associate Provost, received an award for Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning. The nation's leading distance learning organization, the USDLA presents its International Awards annually to organizations and individuals engaged in the development and delivery of distance learning programs.
For the second time in three years, WGU has received the 21st Century Award for Best Practices in Distance learning. The university was recognized for being a pioneer in distance learning by creating programs that are innovative, comprehensive, and effective. WGU offers an academic model that is unique, even among providers of distance learning, called competency-based learning. This model, which uses technology to teach and allows students to advance when they demonstrate their knowledge, decreases the average time required to graduate without sacrificing academic rigor.
USDLA's Award for Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning has been presented to Dr. Phillip Schmidt, Associate Provost, WGU Teachers College. Dr. Schmidt was recognized for his leading role in the development of the university's math and science education programs, which are nationally known for their excellence, and for his efforts to earn accreditation for WGU's teacher education programs. Before joining WGU in 2002, Dr. Schmidt served as Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Berea College and Dean of the Department of Secondary Education at SUNY New Paltz. The author of several mathematics texts and numerous articles, Dr. Schmidt earned his Ph.D. from Syracuse University.
"As a premier organization for the entire distance learning profession, we are honoring Western Governors University and Dr. Schmidt for their leadership in our industry," said Dr. John G. Flores, Executive Director of USDLA. "The work being done by WGU and Dr. Schmidt continues to raise the bar and exceed best practices expectations for the industry as a whole, and we are truly honored by their contributions to the distance learning industry."
"[WGU is] the best relatively cheap university you've never heard of."– TIME magazine
Featured on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, WGU is the only university in the U.S. offering competency-based degree programs and the only nonprofit, fully online university with students in all 50 states. WGU offers 50 degree programs in Business, Education, Information Technology, and Health Professions, including Nursing. Since its inception in 1997, WGU has grown into a national institution, serving more than 24,000 students. WGU is self-sustaining on tuition, and does not rely on state or national support to fund its operations.
On June 11, 2010, WGU Indiana, referred to by Governor Mitch Daniels as Indiana's eighth state university, was formed through a partnership with the state. WGU Washington was established by the Washington State Legislature on April 22, 2011. Subsidiaries of Western Governors University, WGU Indiana and WGU Washington are state-endorsed and offer degree programs that are accredited through Western Governors University.
WGU is regionally accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities and nationally accredited by the Distance Education and Training Council (DETC). WGU nursing programs have been accredited by the Commission for Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE), and its B.S. in Health Informatics is accredited by CAHIIM (Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education). WGU's Teachers College is the first and only exclusively online provider of teacher education to receive accreditation for its degree programs that lead to teacher licensure from NCATE, the National Council for the Accreditation of Teacher Education.
The university has earned the support of more than 20 leading corporations and foundations. They include institutions such as AT&T, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dell, Lilly Endowment, HCA, Hewlett-Packard, Lumina Foundation, Microsoft, Oracle, Qwest, SunGard Higher Education, and Zions Bank. More information is available at www.wgu.edu or by calling 866.225.5948.
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SOURCE Western Governors University