UF pharmacy professor recognized as an outstanding leader in distance learning

As the University of Florida Forensic Science master’s program reaches its 10th year, its director is being recognized for his leadership in advancing distance learning through online technology in higher education.

Ian Tebbett, Ph.D., a UF professor of toxicology in the UF College of Pharmacy has received an award for Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the Field of Distance Learning from the United States Distance Learning Association.

The USDLA 2010 International Distance Learning Awards were presented in May at a national conference in St. Louis. Tebbett is among four educators in the higher education category who have been named for their outstanding leadership internationally.

“The online forensic science program, established in fall 2000 with two courses and 20 students, has now grown into five master’s degrees with more than 900 enrollments, making the program the largest of its kind in the world,” said UF College of Pharmacy Dean William Riffee, Ph.D.

The USDLA, a nonprofit association founded in 1987, describes distance learning as lifelong learning that utilizes technologies to help students acquire knowledge and skills through mediated instruction.

“Through distance learning, education and training we can provide access to the world’s best award-winning opportunities for school children, connect higher education students globally and transform the lives and careers of working adults,” said Reggie Smith III, USDLA president.

In 2006, Tebbett and Riffee traveled to Washington, D.C., to accept the highest national honor offered from the American Distance Education Consortium. ADEC, whose membership is made up from 65 state universities and land-grant colleges, also presented the college an Award of Excellence in Distance Education for the forensic program.

Tebbett, who founded the college’s online master’s program, is proud that through distance education he has been able to teach students from every state, and from 33 other countries.

“It goes to show the Gator Nation is truly everywhere,” Tebbett said.