To the editor:
The Journal-World has recently published both an editorial and an article about Kansas University’s lack of participation in distance education. The irony of the situation is that, up until about a year ago, KU employed one of the country’s leading distance education scholars. My wife, Susan Zvacek, co-author of the widely used textbook “Teaching and Learning at a Distance: Foundations of Distance Education,” teaches and speaks on the subject nationally and internationally.
She was director of the Instructional Development and Support Center at KU from 1999 to 2011. In that capacity she tried to generate interest in distance education at KU, but, although many progressive faculty members were on board, the administration pretty much turned a deaf ear to her suggestions. When she offered to teach a class on the subject in KU’s School of Education, for free, she was refused. The current administration of Provost Vitter even went so far as to eliminate her department and move her into a position completely unrelated to the field.
Susan has moved on to a university genuinely interested in providing distance education. It’s a loss for KU, but not for Kansas. She is now serving as senior director of the Center for Teaching Excellence and Learning Technologies at Fort Hays State University, where she is helping the university faculty and the staff of the Virtual College develop their growing catalog of online classes.