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TBR's Dr. Robbie Melton wins national award for her work in educational technology

Dr. Robbie Melton, associate vice chancellor of mobilization and emerging technology at the Tennessee Board of Regents, has been awarded the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies’ top honor for her work in educational technology.

WCET honored Melton with its Richard Jonsen Award at the organization’s 28th annual meeting in Minneapolis last week. The award has been given annually since 1998 to a member whose career is committed to improving postsecondary education through innovative uses of technology and for exceptional service to WCET. The award is named in honor of Richard Jonsen, who nurtured the idea of a technology cooperative, founded WCET in 1989 and was its first executive director.

WCET is a national leader in the practice, policy and advocacy of technology-enhanced higher education. It is a division of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE), comprised of 16 member states in the West working collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for their residents.

Mike Abbiatti, WCET executive director and WICHE vice president for educational technologies, said Melton exemplifies the leadership and contributions of the award’s namesake. “Her winning personality has endeared Robbie to multiple generations of learners, faculty and administrators. Her well-known mantra of “Life is Good’ inspires everyone she touches to overcome any challenge in search of the ultimate approach to leveraging current and emerging technologies to significantly improve opportunities for the widest diversity of learners on a global scale,” he said.

Dr. Wendy Thompson, TBR vice chancellor for institutional effectiveness and strategic initiatives,  said “innovative use of technology is critical to the delivery of a quality education for our students and to meet the workforce preparation needs of our industry partners. Dr. Melton is a leader in the TBR’s efforts to be on the cutting edge on both fronts and we are thrilled that she has been recognized for her efforts.”

Melton has published and presented on the value of mobile apps for education and the workforce. WCET said she is well known as an “app-ologist” due to her research and understanding of the best teaching practices and use of mobile apps.

She created the Mobile App Education and Workforce Resource Center, which has more than 50,000 applications aligned with over 95 subject areas from pre-kindergarten through doctoral work, including workforce careers, professional development and lifelong learning.

Melton is a member of the WCET executive council and received the organization’s 2012 WOW Award for her work on the Mobile App Resource Center. She shares research with WCET on mobile apps for teaching and learning, co-created reviews and updates on the best mobile apps for education, and was the keynote speaker at the 2015 WCET annual meeting.

Previous Richard Jonsen Award recipients include Dr. Linda Thor, chancellor emeritus of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District in California; Dr. Fred Hurst, senior vice president at Northern Arizona University; Rhonda Epper, assistant provost at the Colorado Community College System; Sue Maes, dean of continuing education at Kansas State University; Hae Okimoto of the University of Hawaii System; Darcy Hardy, director of UT TeleCampus for the University of Texas System; Muriel Oaks, dean of distance and professional education at Washington State University, and Robert Threlkeld, dean of learning and technology at California State University, Fresno.

The TBR is among the nation’s largest higher education systems, governing 46 post-secondary educational institutions. The TBR system includes six universities, 13 community colleges and the 27 colleges of applied technology, providing programs to almost 200,000 students across the state.