A. Frank Mayadas, PhD
Hall of Fame Class of 2007
A. Frank Mayadas holds a PhD in applied physics from Cornell University, is a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, a former director of the Society for Engineering Science and former chair of the advisory board, University of Illinois College of Engineering.
As program director of the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Mayadas is living proof that a mature adult can learn new tricks and change the world of adult education online. The Sloan Consortium is an organization of academic institutions dedicated to quality, breadth and scale in online education.
In 1992, he left behind a stellar research and management career and began working with Ralph Gomory, Sloan Foundation president, on the Anytime, Anyplace Learning Initiative. Mayadas worked closely with Gomory and established a conceptual framework and action agenda, including a stream of Sloan grants, that has profoundly impacted the practice of International Adult and Continuing Education connecting many more learners to educational opportunity.
He predicted that education via the Internet would be different and superior to conventional education because it would be asynchronous, allow learner-learner and learner-instructor interactions, and over time be relatively inexpensive. These attributes had never before been available in distance education.
Most of today’s leading programs in online learning are in place because they were shaped collaboratively with Mayadas and were seeded with Sloan grant funds. Sloan grants focused on institutions offering online instruction using the asynchronous learning networks (ALN) approach, relatively low-cost course conversion, instructor-led cohort-style online “classes” featuring person-to-person interaction as well as remote access to educational materials.
Mayadas also founded the now-1,000 member Sloan Consortium and the JALN journal.
As a scholar and practitioner, Mayadas has contributed personally to the literature through journal articles and book chapters. However, his most important contributions have been working towards the establishment of a national community of educators and researchers focused on using online learning in distance education. He earned the Medal of Achievement from the National University Telecommunications Network (NUTN) and he is in the U.S. Distance Learning Association's Hall of Fame.
Prior to joining the Sloan Foundation, Mayadas spent 29 years at IBM during which he headed IBM’s West Coast research operation (IBM Almaden Research Center) and served a term as secretary of the IBM Corporation Management Board, working directly with the chairman, CFO and president on matters of corporate strategy and management.
He has published 40 refereed papers on devices, systems and solid-state physics and has been invited as a keynoter on these topics at major conferences.