Acting President Meg Benke
Dr. Meg Benke was appointed acting president of the State University of New York Empire State College by the SUNY Board of Trustees on May 10, 2012 upon recommendation of Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.
As its chief executive officer, Benke is responsible for the overall operation of the college, which comprises 35 locations throughout the state and eight international locations, 20,000 students, 63,000 alumni, more than 1,700 employees and an annual all-funds budget of $90 million.
Prior to her current appointment, Benke was provost and vice president for academic affairs, overseeing the academic enterprise of the college.
Benke first joined the college in 1991 and has advanced her leadership roles focusing on collegewide programs and initiatives such as prior-learning assessment, online education and blended-learning programs. During her tenure as dean of the Center for Distance Learning, she worked to build the college into the largest provider of online courses within the 64-campus SUNY system and one of the nation’s foremost and innovative systems for online learning and education.
In addition to her administrative responsibilities at the college, Benke has taught in the areas of human systems and behavior, performance measurement, learning organizations, organizational change and training and adult education in both the graduate and undergraduate programs.
An internationally recognized authority in online, distance education and blended learning, Benke serves on several boards and committees that help shape policy and implement best practices in this field.
Benke has been named to the Blue Ribbon National Commission on Regulation of Postsecondary Education formed by the Association of Public and Land-grant Universities and the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association.
She is president of the board of directors for the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C), the leading national professional organization for online and blended learning. In October 2010, Benke was honored by the board of directors of the Sloan Consortium by being named to its inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows for her distinguished service and leadership in the field of online education.
Benke has been appointed as a commissioner to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, is serving as chair of the Substantive Change Committee and has served as an external evaluator for many institutions and programs in higher learning.
Benke worked closely with past President Alan Davis on open-learning initiatives; as a result,.the college became the first U.S. partner of the Open Education University. In 2011, when the college was chosen to host the International Conference on Distance Learning’s Standing Conference of Presidents in New York City, she served as chair of the policy forum.
Benke co-authored the chapter "SUNY Empire State College: A Game Changer in Open Education" for the book “Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies” published by EDUCAUSE and is the co-author of a forthcoming book on leadership in distance learning to be published this fall.
Recognition and Awards
In addition to Benke’s recognition by Sloan-C, her other awards include Outstanding Administrator from Ohio University and Outstanding New Professional by the Ohio College Personnel Association.
Her early work at Ohio University and Antioch College was dedicated to increasing access to higher education for adult students through distance education, where she was particularly interested in increasing employability of graduates, and where she worked to ensure that the outcomes of an online education matched traditional education from a quality perspective.
She also consults nationally with colleges and universities on the topic of student services in online educational programs, and has served on a variety of national efforts to create quality standards in online education. In the business arena, Benke has done research with colleagues on employability and on downsizing in organizations and the impact on mid-level employees.
Benke holds a Ph.D. in student personnel from Ohio University and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Youngstown State University.
Benke serves on the board of directors for the Girl Scouts of Northeastern New York.
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