PULLMAN – WSU’s commitment to technological innovation and distance learning has been recognized by the National University Telecommunications Network, which presented WSU with its 2009 Institution Achievement Award.
NUTN represents more than 60 institutions of higher education. It consists of professionals who manage telecommunications networks, with emphasis on distance learning and videoconferencing.
This is the first year NUTN has given the Institution Achievement Award. The competition was “rather fierce,” said Dr. Mel Muchnik, chair of the NUTN 2009 Awards Committee. WSU was chosen because of its commitment to distance learning, he said, as well as its “long-term involvement in a variety of technologies.”
“I was elated when I heard the news,” said Muriel Oaks, dean of the Center for Distance and Professional Education, which includes Distance Degree Programs. “In the 1980s, WSU went out on a limb as it found new ways to reach students. Now those innovative ideas have become templates for other universities.”
The award “reflects WSU’s commitment to creating educational access across the state,” said Janis Hall, of Educational and Public Media, and the former director of Washington Higher Education Telecommunications System.  “It is a recognition of the creativity and hard work that has gone into our pursuit of quality distance learning over the past 25 years.”

Examples of WSU’s pioneering efforts include:
• Initiating a terrestrial statewide microwave system (1984) that provided a model for two-way interactive instruction and formed the backbone of the University’s branch campus system.
• Establishing Distance Degree Programs, the first fully asynchronous degree program (1992).
• Creating innovative student service support models, including the first student Web portal and the first online student government of a traditional institution.
• Pioneering research into assessment, teaching and learning with technology.
• Establishing an institution-wide funding model that mainstreamed the courses, programs, technology and research projects into the greater university.
The award will be presented June 23 at the NUTN conference in Saratoga Springs, New York.
“It is great to be recognized for the work that engaged many units here at WSU, and the Center for Teaching, Learning & Technology is proud to have contributed,” said Gary Brown, director of the center, which won a Research Award from NUTN. “The biggest challenge is to recognize the accelerating changes we now face, and to use this award as an opportunity to re-imagine how we will move teaching and learning with technology forward.”
For more information on NUTN, click here