LaVerne B. Lindsey has served as a national leader in continuing education that incorporates technology into degree programs designed for nontraditional students.
For 25 years, Lindsey has held teaching and administrative positions, primarily at the dean/director and associate chief academic officer levels, most recently serving as associate vice chancellor and dean, Division of Continuing Studies and Distance Education at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. Lindsey contributed as sole or collaborating writer on nearly $18 million dollars in funded grants including the $10 million Star Schools grant installing satellite technology for schools in Alabama, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Missouri and more than $6 million to build a state-of-the art Educational Communications Center in Kansas.
Lindsey was an early national advocate for new distance learning methodologies and strategies aimed at serving students not well addressed through the traditional classroom delivery. She worked with telecommunication entities to plan installation of technologies capable of carrying one-to-many audio/video signals such as emerging internet delivery systems and to involve faculty in research and design of learning systems and technology. For 10 years, she served on the advisory board (including service as chair) and board of directors of the National University Teleconference Network (NUTN), an academic telecommunications consortium she cofounded made up of nine major land grant and state universities. In 1994, NUTN recognized her leadership in instructional telecommunications by awarding her the prestigious J. O. Grantham National Leadership Award. She also served on the National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges Executive Committee, the Commission on Outreach and Technology Transfer (founding chair), and the Commission on Instructional Technologies. She has also served as a member of the board of directors for the U.S. Distance Learning Association (USDLA).
Lindsey’s ability to design and implement inter-institutional technical and program planning on regional and national levels in the United States and to integrate those delivery systems began with installation of the first satellite dish on the roof of a public schoolhouse in Mississippi in 1975 to bring advanced mathematics, world languages, and science courses to rurally isolated and underserved children.
Telephone technologies to reach military and technical graduate degree students, some in active duty military as well as industrial roles, soon followed. While continuing to work with one-to-many telephone bridges, she led the consortium of six two- and four-year colleges and universities in Kansas and Missouri to deliver degrees to industry. Seeking funding for technical infrastructure, she and colleagues in Oklahoma succeeded in building satellite production and broadcast facilities with $16 million in federal funding, to include placement of more than 500 downlink satellite dishes in five states.
Lindsey saw firsthand the critical need for new methods and technologies to meet human need for education and self-development for the disadvantaged and underserved. Whether in the classroom, on the internet, on a military installation, or on Capitol Hill, she worked tirelessly to bring about new learning systems to help overcome adversity and entrenched bureaucratic thinking. She spoke at the 2000 Department of Defense Worldwide Education Symposium on the benefits of having third-party reviews of military voluntary education programs at the installation level. As an advocate for distance learning, her approach was that program and learning needs should dictate the selection of technological tools. Technology should never be imposed simply as an end unto itself.
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