Vol. 14 : No. 12
Letter from Chairman of the Board, Shirley Davis
Dear USDLA Members and Sponsors,
First of all, let me assure you that you can look forward to another strong year of growth for USDLA during 2001.
We have the honor of having an outstanding distance learning professional, Marshall Allen, assume the presidency of USDLA today. Marshall has been dedicated to the distance learning profession for more than twenty years, dating back to the days when the mention of "distance learning" brought only a "huh??" in response. He has led his university, Oklahoma State University, to become one of the leading national and international institutions offering distance-learning programs. Marshall has provided significant support to USDLA as a board member over the past years, among other things taking responsibility for transforming an inherited database into one that the association could use and then maintaining it throughout the years. Marshall has long been recognized as a leader in the distance-learning field and will bring the strength of his background and networking to the presidency of the organization. You can look forward to another great year under his leadership.
The key to success in an organization like this one is the partnerships that are built between the president, the board, and the executive director. Your current Board of Directors is a dedicated group of professionals who are not afraid of the work required of a volunteer board. Every one of the board members is either chairing a committee or a member of a committee that has a key role in keeping the organization running. The number of volunteer hours each has provided to USDLA is staggering and the association has benefited greatly because of those contributions.
The person who keeps everything running smoothly is John Flores, Executive Director, who has done an outstanding job partnering with the president and board members to keep things coordinated and to seek out additional opportunities for the association with other organizations and sponsors. This past year, under the presidency of Jolly Holden, the association grew in membership and member services and, more significantly, given our situation of just 18 months ago, grew to have an adequate financial base for basic operations. One of the challenges in the year ahead is to increase this financial base so that the organization can continue to grow and provide additional services that members have said they would like.
As anyone in distance learning knows, we are in one of the major growth markets today. A Frost and Sullivan report entitled Distance Learning Markets forecasts a 24% annual market growth reaching $5.3 billion by 2004. USDLA is the only national association of distance learning professionals that brings together educators with service and system providers. With the increasing strength of the many state chapters and the strong national organization, USDLA is the place to focus your attention.
We are glad you are a part of the organization and look forward to your active participation in USDLA activities. Please make this your organization by letting board members know your comments or concerns. All of us are listed with e-mail addresses on the USDLA web site at www.usdla.org. We would be glad to hear from you so that we can serve you more effectively. Enjoy the conference.
Chairman of the Board
Message from the President to the General Membership
As the USDLA embraces the end of the first year of this century, we have the opportunity, in retrospect, to assess the road just traveled. The infrastructure by which the USDLA was built remains steadfast. Although the perpetual state of change attempts to erode our very essence, the foundation on which the USDLA was created remains firmly grounded. During the past year, the distance learning profession has witnessed an enormous growth unparalleled in our rich history. Our profession is at the cusp of the dawn of a new era in distance learning. Today, more students are enrolled in distance learning courses than ever before‑not out of necessity, but largely by choice. Far removed from the technology constraints of the past, distance learning students have the opportunity to choose from hundreds of colleges and universities offering tens of thousands of courses ... a mere dream a few years ago. This unprecedented growth will challenge our profession as the distance learning market accelerates to new horizons, fueled by innovative technologies and new services.
The USDLA is well prepared to meet these challenges and expectations as we confidently steer through uncharted waters. Over the years, the breath and depth of the USDLA leadership has increased significantly‑it's experience solidifying the very core of its foundation‑embodying the very essence of our charter.
As my term of President comes to a close, the dynamic new leadership of the USDLA will provide the beacon of stewardship to guide us through the numerous challenges confronting our profession. We find our strength through the vibrant membership we serve and the professional community we represent. We build upon the past so we may provide a better service and stronger organization in the future. Thank you for providing me the opportunity to contribute to this exciting profession and the privilege of being a part of this world‑class organization.
Jolly T. Holden, Ed.D.
Letter from President‑Elect, Marshall E. Allen
Dear USDLA Members and Sponsors:
What a wonderful time to be a member of USDLA! With all of the rapid changes in technology, and the challenges associated with the application of that technology in education and corporate training, I can't think of a better place to be.
As you look around USDLA, you are beginning to see a lot of new faces, but more importantly, you see renewed enthusiasm, excitement and commitment. As the President‑Elect for 2001, and a member of the Executive Committee, I am committed to promoting the importance and involvement of both individual members and State Chapters. It is important that we support both in their efforts to promote distance education and its benefits among their constituents. It is important that we strive to position ourselves as the number one organization representing distance education at the local, regional and national levels.
We have always known there is a significant role for USDLA. We have always believed in its potential. We have always believed that, with the right combination of personalities and commitments, we would be viewed as "the force to reckon with in distance education."
As you look at the Board of Directors, you see individuals who have enthusiasm and commitment. With the new By-laws and Officers, there is an opportunity for everyone to be active, to participate, and to achieve a position of leadership within USDLA.
Finally, I am committed to strengthening USDLA, to increasing the benefits to all of its members, to providing the nucleus of long term financial stability, and to insuring that we are viewed both nationally and internationally as that well respected, stable expert who has knowledge of both technologies and their applications for education and training.
Marshall E. Allen
Message from Senior Vice President for Chapters
Since the reorganization, USDLA has succeeded in solidifying and clarifying its relationship with its chapters. In essence, the shift has been from centralized control of chapter affiliation to a decentralized relationship, where each chapter is autonomous within the newly approved general guidelines of the national organization. A strategic plan was drafted and implemented by the Senior Vice President for Chapters.
Goal 1: Establish active chapters in all 50 states and territories. Under this goal, and with the advice of the chapter presidents, we first clarified and modified the rules for affiliation, and these were included in our by laws. We then determined which chapters intended to continue their affiliation with our national organization. In answer to a frequent request from our chapter presidents, we provided a clear list of the benefits of national affiliation so that local chapter members and future chapters would have compelling reasons to affiliate. The Chapter Manual initially put together by Janet McMahill, a current national board member, and Kathleen Clemens, Director of Marketing and Membership Services, has now been updated with the help of Leila Kamunen, Vice President of the Federal Government DLA, and assistant to the Senior Vice President for Chapters. The manual guides existing chapters and supplies a roadmap for new chapters. Additionally, we restructured our monthly chapter president's audio conferencing meetings to reflect more of a business‑meeting format, and added special topics to address specific issues of concern to chapter presidents. Documents are now distributed to all chapter presidents that provide a review of outstanding or closed issues. Special thanks to Dr. John Flores, Executive Director, and Dr. Jolly Holden, President, for religiously participating in our meetings, a strong vote of support for our chapters. We also began independent monthly support meetings for chapter founders to maintain contact with the founders and meet their needs in their start‑up efforts.
Goal 2: Promote national & chapter membership growth. Thanks to the newly developed database, all chapter presidents and founders were supplied with a list of national members to help increase chapter membership. We changed our by laws to establish a discount to chapter members for membership in national, thereby reducing the overall costs of affiliation to anyone joining a local chapter. With special thanks to MaryAnn Havriluk, President of the Florida Chapter, we conducted an informational meeting on membership growth and retention. We are now advertising chapter special events on our Web site, and pass on chapter special events each chapter meeting
Goal 3: Help active chapters transition to independent non‑profit DLAs. With the help of Kathleen M. Clemens and our pro‑bono Legal Advisors, Holland & Knight, we conducted an informational meeting on non‑profit filing procedures. H&K has supplied draft sample documents for each chapter to facilitate their transition to independent nonprofit chapters.
Goal 4: Expand and clarify role of Senior Vice President for Chapters. New rules for election and term of office was submitted to the board and were included in our by laws. Now the Congress of Chapter Presidents will elect the Senior Vice President for Chapters. Finally, because others support the Senior Vice President for Chapters, we have created the "Administrative Office of the Senior Vice President.
From the chapter presidents, we have a renewed enthusiasm for the success of USDLA, and positive comments about our efforts at national to support the development of the local chapter. Their participation and contribution has increased significantly at our monthly meetings, and there has been marked growth in chapter affiliation. We end this year with a high degree of optimism knowing that we are poised for growth and that we are providing real value to those who are in the distance-learning field.
Dr. Philip J. L. Westfall
Senior Vice President for Chapters
REFLECTIONS . . .
From USDLA Executive Director John G. Flores, Ph.D.
This past Fiscal Year has been a time of many proud accomplishments for USDLA. Our association has reinvented itself and now has a core focus of serving its members through strong leadership and steady direction. On the national level we have developed a new level of influence in distance learning education and training, which holds promise for continued growth and higher expectations. Bolstered with a new level of enthusiasm from all segments of our membership, USDLA enters the 21s' Century poised for new opportunities and partnerships.
USDLA has created new and better membership benefits including publications, product discounts, timely newsletters and conferences. Our primary goal of Membership Service will be maintained.
Last year I wrote, "Together, we will lead our industry by promoting education as a life long learning process, providing people of all ages with the most up to date technologies and strategies to expand their learning horizons. As we close FY 00 that priority still exists. USDLA continues to create opportunities for all its members in the development and application of distance learning.
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