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Simpson Named First Director of Statewide Distance Learning, Technology Center

August 13, 2010 — textLiz Simpson, University of Wyoming Department of Special Education associate professor, has been named the first director of a center that will work to strengthen distance learning for all levels of education in Wyoming.

The Wyoming Center for Excellence and Innovation in Distance Learning and Technology was developed through Gov. Dave Freudenthal's task force that examined distance education, video conferencing and Internet-based communications across the state.

The group was assigned the task to find ways to integrate and enhance distance learning opportunities at all levels -- K-12, community college, UW, professional development, training and lifelong learning -- as well as determine how best to integrate the various video conferencing systems now supported by the state.

According to its mission statement, the task force's efforts are "aimed at focusing these strategic state resources to better serve the residents of Wyoming."

The center will integrate and enhance distance learning opportunities and will provide leadership and support for distance learning opportunities of all types and at all levels of education.

"Professor Simpson was clearly the outstanding candidate from among the 29 applications that we received from across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom," says the task force's co-chairperson Maggi Murdock, UW Outreach School dean and academic affairs associate provost. "Members of the task force are excited to have a person with Dr. Simpson's background, experience, knowledge and energy take responsibility for leading this statewide enterprise."

Simpson says her vision as director is to ensure that each Wyoming resident has access to a "quality 21st century educational experience."

"Because our state is very rural, distance education is an important tool in supporting our communities and assisting our Wyoming citizens in accessing opportunities that prepare them to meet their future goals," she says. "There already is a lot of great work being done around the state in the area of innovation and distance education. The center will provide a statewide collaborative enterprise to bring these existing efforts together to maximize access to quality learning resources, technology training and communication opportunities."

Simpson has more than 20 years in education, from public schools to her current teaching position at UW.

She received her B.A. (1984) in elementary education from UW and doctoral degree (2000) in educational psychology from Auburn University. Her work for the past 10 years has centered on using technology and innovation to make education accessible for all students.

For more information about the Wyoming Center for Excellence and Innovation in Distance Learning and Technology visit the Web site at, which is still being developed, or call Simpson at (307) 721-9352.

Liz Simpson directs a new center that will work to strengthen distance learning for all levels of education in Wyoming. (UW Photo)

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