University of Louisiana President announces the establishment of a Distance Learning Leadership Council, and the appointment of Dr. Luke Dowden as Director.

Dear Faculty & Staff,

There has been much discussion since my previous message announcing that the university had created an Office of Distance Learning, hired a director, Dr. Luke Dowden, and established a Distance Learning Leadership Council. The Leadership Council is made up of faculty, staff, and administrators representing multiple disciplines and service units.

The Leadership Council has been charged with developing policies, procedures and systems to reinforce academic quality and rigor in the e-learning classroom. They are looking at a national program, Quality Assurance Quality Control (QAQC), to ensure quality learning outcomes. The Leadership Council has proposed a vision for the university’s e-learning enterprise and a set of course definitions to promote common language among faculty, staff, students and administrators. These definitions will be used to identify and code course types and plan appropriate training for faculty teaching different types of courses with varying levels of technology integration. The Leadership Council is being guided by the SACS Best Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Programs and, certainly, the university will maintain the integrity and quality of its academic offerings regardless of whether they are delivered in person, online or in a hybrid fashion.

The development of distance learning capacity will allow the university to broaden its student base and provide more competitive educational opportunities. UL’s own College of Nursing & Allied Health Professions has implemented a nationally award-winning distance learning program that is an excellent example of the type of distance learning opportunity that is possible. This is an important and necessary initiative for the university to implement and I appreciate the positive response received.

I invite you to read Dr. Luke Dowden’s white paper The E-Learning Priority: The Need for a Sense of Urgency to Expand Distance and Electronic Learning Options at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette found at this link for a more in depth look at our plans. Or, Dr. Dowden would be happy to share more information or answer your specific questions. 


E. Joseph Savoie

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