CORVALLIS - Oregon State University's distance degree program in natural resources has been recognized as one of the nation's finest by the American Distance Education Consortium.

While more than 100 universities nominated distance degree programs for recognition in ADEC's annual awards competition, OSU was one of only four programs to receive the consortium's Honorable Mention for Excellence in Distance Education award.

ADEC is an international consortium of state universities and land grant institutions that provide distance education programs and services via the latest information technologies.

OSU's natural resources degree is offered through the university's colleges of Agricultural Sciences, Forestry, Liberal Arts, and Science. It has both an on-campus component and a distance component that encompasses the final two years of coursework. The OSU Department of Rangeland Resources oversees the distance component of the program.

An interdisciplinary team that has been instrumental in developing the distance natural resources program includes faculty from the Department of Rangeland Resources, Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, College of Agricultural Sciences and Department o f Agricultural and Resource Economics.

"This award is tremendous recognition for the great work of this team and OSU, and the many other faculty and staff at the university who are providing the highest quality educational programs to non-traditional and non-resident students through OSU's ex tended campus," said Mark Merickel, associate dean for distance and continuing education.

As of Jan. 1, 2002, 55 students were seeking a bachelors of science degree in this program, and an additional 30 were taking courses either from OSU or other institutions in preparation for entry into the program. The students are located in 19 states an d four countries in addition to the United States.

In all, OSU provides more than 45 courses from five colleges and 21 academic departments that support natural resource offerings. These courses utilize a range of delivery techniques including a mix of video- and web-based offerings, individualized direc ted learning and interactive live television.

The natural resources degree program has been offered through distance education since 1999. Most upper division course work is delivered via the web, videotapes, and one-on-one with an instructor through individualized directed learning. Lower division course work must be taken at community colleges or other institutions, which offer all of the necessary lower division courses via distance delivery. OSU will be honored April 14-16 at The Ohio State University during ADEC's annual meeting.

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Mark Merickel, 541-737-3810