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In recognition of the visionary leadership of Dr. Muriel Oaks, WSU Dean Emeritus, the Oaks award recognizes a faculty member’s innovative application of an existing technology to transform teaching and learning in their classroom.

Faculty on any WSU campus wishing to be considered for the award are invited to submit an application. Others are also invited to nominate colleagues.

Dr. Oaks served as a pioneer and visionary for WSU. She joined WSU in 1979, served as the WHETS program director from 1988 to 1993, became director of Extended Academic Programs in 1993 and culminated her WSU career as Dean of the Center for Distance and Professional Education, (now known as AOI and home of the Global Campus) retiring in 2010.

Although perhaps best known for her work in distance education, Muriel was a proponent of using a variety of emerging technologies in ways that could help extend access to WSU programs and enhance the student experience.  Under her leadership, WSU became one of the first universities in the country to deliver video-based distance education courses. She was instrumental in launching WSU’s first fully online degree program, which set the stage for many more to follow.  At her core, Muriel was committed to creating access to quality education globally.


The award recognizes current use of technology in a way that is transformative, ideally scalable and applicable to a variety of disciplines. (This award is not intended for the planning or future implementation of a technology innovation). Technology cannot create a barrier to individuals, so should be accessible, affordable and user friendly.  Most importantly, as Muriel knew, the tool should serve a purpose.  It should be about teaching and learning, not technology for technology’s sake.

The award winner will receive $3000 in faculty development funds, distributed to the home department of the faculty awardee.

Please read the rubric (pdf), and then complete and submit the online application form.

Application deadline: Monday, March 18, 8:30 a.m.

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