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UW’s Tim Rush Receives WyDEC Master Distance Educator Award


June 11, 2012 — The Wyoming Distance Education Consortium (WyDEC) recently presented its Master Distance Educator Award to University of Wyoming Elementary Education Professor Tim Rush.

Criteria for this award include inspiring passion and commitment from students; using technology to enhance learning; participating in ongoing professional development opportunities; and communicating best practices and pedagogy of online learning.

"Dr. Rush understands that distance education technologies are merely tools to achieve the fundamental goal of teaching; to create accessible and engaging learning opportunities for students," says WyDec member and UW Outreach School Online Coordinator Larry Jansen. "Tim's teaching toolbox is deep and full; his focus to keep learning objectives foremost in his course design; and his skill to thoughtfully, purposefully apply the most appropriate technological solutions is an elegant mastery of distance teaching."

Rush came to UW in 1982 as an assistant professor and the coordinator of the Extended Degree Program in Elementary Education. Before the advent of distance-teaching technologies, Rush traveled Wyoming as one of UW's "flying professors" who were flown to teach classes in communities across the state.

Since then, he has adopted evolving new technologies: from audio conferencing in the 1980s to video conferencing in the 1990s, and to the most recent technology of online learning.

In 2008, Rush and UW Associate Professor Angela Jaime established the Teachers of American Indian Children graduate certificate program offered through the Outreach School. This program reflects their passion and commitment to Wyoming teachers, and instills the "attitudes, knowledge and competence necessary to teach American Indian children."

In 1987, Rush received the National University Continuing Education Association's Annual Award for New Degree Programs for leading the university's Extended Degree Program in Elementary Education. That same year, he was awarded UW's Hollon Family Award for Excellence in Off-Campus Teaching.

The Wind River Tribal College bestowed him an honorary degree in 2007 and, in 2009, the International Reading Association recognized him with the Jerry Johns Outstanding Teacher Educator in Reading award.

Composed of representatives from all seven Wyoming community colleges and UW, WyDEC is a standing advisory committee for the Council of Academic Vice Presidents of the Wyoming Community College Commission. The committee was formed to foster cooperation and coordination of distance education opportunities among the seven community colleges, UW and Wyoming Public Television.

WyDec also benefits Wyoming residents through the coordination of cost-effective and innovative distance education opportunities. For more information, visit http://wyclass.wy.edu/WyDEC.

Photo:
UW Professor Tim Rush was honored for his commitment to and accomplishments in distance education. (UW Photo)

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