December 17, 2013

Meg Benke Inducted into International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame

Provost Meg Benke portrait

Meg Benke, professor and mentor, School for Graduate Studies. (Photo/Empire State College)

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Dec. 17, 2013) Meg Benke, a professor and mentor at the SUNY Empire State College School for Graduate Studies, was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame was created to honor leaders in the fields of continuing education and adult learning and to serve as a record and inspiration for the next generation of continuing education leaders.

A nationally and internationally recognized leader, she has devoted her entire career to improving the quality of education and increasing access and choice for students. In addition, she has worked to advance professionalism in her field and as an advocate for adults at the state and national levels.

“Induction into the Hall of Fame is a great honor,” said Benke. “While this recognition is individual, it is built on substantial support from my colleagues at Empire State College and the Sloan Consortium and it recognizes the significant advancements that the college and the consortium have made to improve quality and increase access to higher education for those that have been under served.”

Benke first joined Empire State College in 1991 and has served the college as acting president, provost, vice provost and as dean of the college’s Center for Distance Learning.

Working together with her colleagues at CDL, she led the effort to expand the college’s programs throughout the state, nation and around the world. As a result, enrollment with the college’s online programs grew to more than 10,000 full- and part-time students.

Today, more than 70 percent of all online bachelor’s programs offered within the 64-campus SUNY system are provided by the college and CDL is one of the foremost and innovative open and distance learning systems in the United States.

As the college’s acting president and provost, Benke provided her leadership and expertise to the systemwide Open SUNY initiative, while successfully leading an institution with an enrollment of approximately 20,000 students learning at 35 locations across the state, with partners at eight international locations and online everywhere.

Benke mentors and teaches in the college’s School for Graduate Studies’ Master of Arts in Learning and Emerging Technologies and the Master of Arts in Adult Learning programs.

These online programs are specifically designed for professionals responsible for training employees in the private and nonprofit sectors, community college faculty and administrators, online instructional designers, those working in adult learning for social change and community engagement, international educators, as well as K-12 educators.

In addition, she currently serves on the state Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation.

Benke’s national leadership roles include being named:

Sloan-C is the largest membership society devoted solely to improving scale, quality and choices in online education where adult learners comprise the majority of students.

Benke was first recognized by Sloan-C in 2007, which conferred on her the Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual award for extraordinary qualifications, significant experience, distinguished service and leadership in the field. In 2010 Benke was named to the inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows.

Published in her field, Benke co-authored chapters of the book, “Leading the e-learning Transformation of Higher Education,” published by Stylus in November of this year.

She also co-authored the chapter, “SUNY Empire State College: A Game Changer in Open Learning,” with the college’s former President Alan Davis and Nan Travers, the college’s director of collegewide academic review, in a digital book, “Game Changers: Education and Information Technologies,” published by Educause.

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 of the college.

Her awards include Outstanding Administrator from Ohio University and Outstanding New Professional by the Ohio College Personnel Association.

She began her career at Ohio University and Antioch College. Her early work was dedicated to increasing access to higher education for adult learners through distance education. Benke is particularly interested in increasing employability of graduates and works to ensure that the outcomes of an online education matched traditional education from a quality perspective.

A native of Pennsylvania, her education includes a bachelor’s in business administration from Youngstown State University and a master’s in student personnel and a doctorate in student personnel, higher education, both from Ohio University.

Benke lives in Saratoga Springs and is active in the community, currently serving on the board of the Northeastern Girl Scouts of New York.

About Induction into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame

Election to the Hall of Fame acknowledges that these men and women have made distinguished contributions to the field, providing a critical nexus between resources and learners. These innovative leaders believe passionately in the evolutionary power of education and are themselves exemplary lifelong learners who have left lasting impressions on the students, institutions and organizations they have served. Benke was inducted Nov. 19, 2013 as part of the annual Sloan-C International Conference on online learning.

About SUNY Empire State College

SUNY Empire State College was established in 1971 to offer adult learners the opportunity to earn associate, bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the State University of New York.

In addition to awarding credit for prior college-level learning, the college pairs each student with a faculty mentor who supports that student throughout his or her college career. Students engage in guided independent study and course work onsite, online or through a combination of both, which provides the flexibility for students to learn at the time, place and pace they choose.

The college serves more than 20,000 students worldwide at more than 35 locations in the state of New York and online. Its 70,000 alumni are active in their communities as entrepreneurs, politicians, business professionals, artists, nonprofit agency employees, teachers, veterans and active military, union members and more. More information about the college is available here.


Media contact: David Henahan, director of communications

518-587-2100, ext. 2918

518-321-7038 (after hours and on weekends)