CORVALLIS - Thayne Dutson, dean of the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences, has been appointed chairman of the board of directors of the American Distance Education Consortium.

ADEC is a global organization that seeks to broaden access to education through use of distance delivery technologies and systems. The non-profit group is based at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln, and has membership from more than 60 state universities, land grant universities and community colleges in the United States, as well as several educational institutions overseas.

As chair, Dutson will work closely with ADEC president Jan Poley and board members in setting future priorities for the organization. ADEC is a leader nationally and internationally in adapting information technologies for use in delivery of distance education programs. The consortium also develops systems to help members produce and distribute distance delivered learning modules, courses and degree programs. For more information see the ADEC Web site.

Dutson, who also is director of OSU's Agricultural Experiment Station, has served as a member of the ADEC board of directors since 1991. He succeeds as chair Tom Fretz, University of Maryland, whose term expired.

"ADEC has already benefited a great deal from Dr. Dutson's involvement as a member of the board of directors and particularly from his contributions to the board's legislative committee," Poley said. "His experience and leadership abilities will serve the consortium well in our continuing efforts to identify new opportunities to serve the distance education needs of ADEC members."

Dutson was chair and professor in the Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition at Michigan State University before moving to Oregon in 1987. He said he hopes ADEC will continue along the course it has established in recent years.

"ADEC's focus on exploring how delivery of distance education can have greater impact is a top priority," Dutson said. "Some good examples of this are the consortium's ongoing efforts to examine the use of wireless internet technologies and high-speed internet systems for distance education delivery."

ADEC's wireless internet development project is supported by a $4 million grant the consortium received from the National Science Foundation. Dutson added that providing direct benefit to members will be a high priority during his term as chair of the ADEC board.

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Jan Poley, 402-472-7000