Nofflet D. Williams has been a pioneer in the application of telecommunications to education and the development of distance learning on a state, national and international level. His work utilizing technology to deliver educational opportunities to students who were employed and unable to attend traditional college classes led the way for the foundation of distance and distributed education models which are used today.
Williams grew up in poverty in Henager, Alabama. His upbringing left him with a lifelong commitment to developing the most basic and important human resource the world over--the potential of human beings--by bringing unprecedented educational access to people previously barred by location, time, or money.
Upon his retirement at the end of 1995, Williams was serving as associate dean for Distance Learning and director for Media Education at the University of Kentucky’s University Extension. During his 21 years at the University of Kentucky, he made use of an experimental NASA satellite to bring education to isolated Appalachian communities.
This was the world’s first educational satellite to broadcast graduate level programs to teachers and other professionals located in the thirteen state Appalachian regions from Fredonia, New York, to Tupelo, Mississippi. This work led the way for innovations in the University’s educational delivery systems that today encompass interactive video, satellite delivery, Kentucky Educational Television (KET), and the Internet.
Williams was named to the Who’s Who in Teleconferencing and received the National University Teleconference Network Leadership Award. His contributions to the field of adult and continuing education resulted in his receiving many state and national awards for his work and for many other commemorative state and national continuing education awards named in his honor.
Among his many honors and awards were the Walton S. Bittner Citation for Distinguished Service to National University Continuing Education Association, United States Distance Learning Association Board Member Emeritus, Division of Education Telecommunications of the National University Continuing Education Association Leadership Award, Kentucky Association for Educational Communication and Technology Edgar Dale Service and Leadership Award, and the University of Kentucky Chapter of Phi Delta Kappa Outstanding Service to Chapter Award.
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