From left: School of Journalism Dean Earnest Perry, Kim Siegenthaler and Stephen Ball.

A leading national organization for online education has recognized the University of Missouri for innovation and excellence.

Representatives from MU received two awards Oct. 19 at the 2017 UPCEA Central Region Conference in Detroit, Michigan.

UPCEA is the premier association for continuing, professional and online education. Its members include leading public and private colleges and universities in North America.  

“Online and distance education provide integral access and innovative education solutions to adult and non-traditional learners, who make up more than 80 percent of today’s students,” said UPCEA CEO Bob Hansen. “I congratulate the University of Missouri on its achievements, and I’m glad that MU’s leadership in this area is being recognized by these UPCEA Central Region awards.”

UPCEA honored Stephen Ball, an associate professor in the MU College of Human Environmental Sciences, with the Excellence in Teaching Award. Much of Ball’s teaching occurs outside the traditional classroom as part of his outreach work as a state fitness specialist with MU Extension. In the last year, 695 students have taken Ball’s online course, Introduction to Exercise and Fitness.

“I am flattered to be named this year's recipient and represent MU. I know there were many other worthy applicants,” Ball said. “Not only does the award recognize the importance of teaching excellence but it acknowledges that varied audiences and modes of instruction exist.”

The Missouri School of Journalism earned the Innovative Program Award (Credit) for its interactive media online master’s degree. Associate Dean for Graduate Studies in the School of Journalism Earnest Perry thanked UPCEA and the MU faculty and staff who brought the interactive media program to fruition four years ago.

“Since the program launched in 2013, the school has continued to look for ways to innovate, improve and inspire our students. The online delivery has allowed us to reach students from all over the U.S. at various stages in their careers,” Perry said. “The school will continue to help students stay at the forefront of interactive media.”

Mizzou Online Assistant Director Terrie Nagel also attended the conference. “These peer-reviewed awards, given for excellence in online programs and teaching, demonstrate MU’s position as a leader in distance education,” she said. “We are proud of MU’s achievements in attaining such prestigious and highly competitive distinctions,” Nagel said.

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