April 25, 2013

Peter Shea, National Expert in Online Learning, to Keynote Center for Distance Learning Conference

UAlbany Professor, Award-winning and Nationally Recognized Expert in Online Learning Discusses Evolving Communities of Learning: Past, Present and Future

UAlbany Professor Peter J. Shea, keynote speaker for the conference

Peter J. Shea

(SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – April 25, 2013) SUNY Empire State College today announced that State University of New York at Albany Professor Peter J. Shea, Ph.D., will keynote the 2013 Center for Distance Learning conference. The conference will take place April 26-27 at 113 West Ave, Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

An author and nationally recognized expert on online learning, Shea will discuss evolving communities of learning, past, present and future.

“It’s is a genuine honor to be selected to provide the keynote speech for this Center for Distance Learning Conference,” said Shea. “Empire State College is at the forefront of creative, individualized, and alternative paths to higher education and a pioneer in distance and online learning. I’m excited to have the opportunity to engage in a dialogue with the faculty at this important event.”

“We are honored that Peter Shea will present this year's keynote address at our annual conference,” said Tom Mackey, dean of the college’s Center for Distance Learning. “Dr. Shea has conducted research in such areas as teaching presence, one of the foundation elements of good practice in the online environment. He has also been a great research mentor to some of our professional colleagues pursuing doctoral studies at the University at Albany.”

The following portions of the conference will be webcast live over the Internet and available a few minutes prior to their start: Mackey and Acting President Meg Benke will open the conference Friday, April 26, at 9:30 a.m. EST and Shea’s presentation will begin Friday at 10:15 a.m. EST and will run approximately one hour.

Center for Distance Learning Conference Program CoverThe annual conference provides the college’s Center for Distance Learning faculty and staff to engage with outside experts, share best practices and learn about the most recent innovations in online teaching, learning, student services, faculty development and more.

Through CDL, the college offers more than 500 courses, 1,200 course sections and educates more than 8,000 students online. Of the 41 bachelor’s programs offered online throughout the 64-campus SUNY system, 70 percent are provided through the CDL. Further, CDL faculty teach two MOOCs, Massive, Open Online Courses, the only such courses offered through SUNY.

In 2011, the Sloan Consortium awarded CDL its Excellence in Faculty Development for Online Teaching and in 2010, the Center for Transforming Student Services awarded CDL second place in its Innovation Award for Online Student Services category for CDL’s peer tutor program.

About Peter J. Shea

Peter J. Shea, Ph.D., is an associate professor at the State University of New York at University at Albany, with joint appointments in the Department of Educational Theory and Practice and the Department of Informatics. His research focuses on the development of communities of learners in higher education online environments. Shea has authored more than 100 publications on the topic of online learning and is co-author of the book, “The Successful Distance Learning Student.”

Shea directs a program of research that has recently attracted more than $2 million in external funding from organizations such as the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. He is the recipient or co-recipient of four national awards including the EDUCAUSE Award for Systemic Improvement in Teaching and Learning and awards from the Sloan Consortium for online and faculty development programs. He is a Sloan-C Fellow in research on online learning and a member of its board of directors.

Prior to joining the University at Albany, Shea was director of the SUNY Learning Network, one of the largest online higher education systems in the United States with annual student enrollments of more than 100,000.

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 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 66,000 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 5 p.m. and weekends)