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Dr. Justin Louder Selected to Receive 2017 J.O. Grantham Leadership Award

By Timothy Howard, Social Media Coordinator

Dr. Justin LouderDr. Justin Louder, Ed.D,
Associate Vice Provost of eLearning

Dr. Justin Louder, Associate Vice Provost of Texas Tech University Worldwide eLearning, was recently selected to receive the J.O. Grantham Leadership Award from the National University Technology Network (NUTN). NUTN is an association of higher education institutions that provides professional development and networking opportunities for innovative leaders seeking to implement new educational technologies. Every year, NUTN selects "one individual who has demonstrated strong leadership qualities in the NUTN organization and in the field of educational technologies as a whole" to receive the J.O. Grantham Leadership Award.

Dr. Louder sat down to discuss some of the decisions that brought him to where he is today.

"I started College at Angelo State University out of high school and double majored in psychology and communication," said Louder.  "I then went on to get a Master's Degree in Communication. It was a unique master's because it was developed during the tech boom so it included some M.I.S., web development and communication technology aspects.

"After working for a bit, I started a Doctorate in Education here at Texas Tech University that I completed in 2011 with my Ed.D. in Instructional Technology with a Minor in Higher Education Administration. I later completed a Master's in Public Administration from Wayland Baptist University because I had begun working on it years earlier and didn't want to leave the credits incomplete."

When asked how he got into the field of distance education, Dr. Louder said, "I began working with the Department of Nursing at Angelo State University to help them record video content for some of their online classes. That eventually merged into helping them design and update  online classes with some web design skills that I had and I kept moving further and further into an instructional design role."

"When I came to Texas Tech, I was hired on as the inaugural director for the TTU Ethics Center. I moved to Lubbock to help Tech complete some accreditation requirements and finish our first quality enhancement plan. I also worked on the Ethics Initiative, which ranged from things like academic integrity, responsible kinds of research and the ethicality of our institution in general. This is how I got my start at Tech but my degree was still focused on distance ed."

Dr. Louder wasn't with Texas Tech for too long before he took on a new role: Assistant Vice Provost for eLearning. "When Tech underwent some institutional changes and established an eLearning office, they asked me to run that office because of my background," Dr. Louder said. "For a number of years I was both the Managing Director of the TTU Ethics Center and Assistant Vice Provost for eLearning. A few years later, the Ethics Center was split from my portfolio and now I focus on just Worldwide eLearning.

"I enjoy what I do and I think that I have the knowledge, skills, and understanding of policies and procedures within distance education to allow me to work well within this field. The Provost at the time, Dr. Bob Smith, as well as my boss at the time, Dr. Valerie Paton, really took a chance on me by putting me in the Assistant Vice Provost role. They took a chance on a relatively young professional so I had to quickly swim and do well. I am very thankful to Dr. Schovanec, Dr. Hart and now the new Provost, Dr. Galyean, for their continued support of me in this role and allowing me to move forward and work for Texas Tech's online and distance programs."

Distance ed technologies have taken away the barriers of place. Students can earn a degree whenever, wherever they are. It opens up a world to people that wouldn't have it otherwise.

Dr. Louder also discussed his favorite part about working in the field of distance education. "What excited me then and what excites me now is that distance education allows a student to get an education from wherever they are. In the early days of distance education, students who were place-bound and didn't have access to a higher ed institution couldn't earn a college degree. They would have to move and leave everything that was holding them to that place. Distance ed technologies have taken away the barriers of place. Students can earn a degree whenever, wherever they are. It opens up a world to people that wouldn't have it otherwise."

"At the end of the day, regardless of awards, if what I am doing is helping students receive their degrees and pursue their goals, that's what I really value. Though this award was given for leadership, what I think it all comes back to is my desire to better the quality of distance education for the student. We have a very strong commitment to quality online and distance education for the student at Texas Tech and there are people in positions here at eLearning that share this same desire." 

Dr. Louder will accept the 2017 J.O. Grantham Leadership Award at the NUTN Annual Conference in October and we will cover that event in the November 2017 From Anywhere Newsletter. Congratulations, Dr. Louder!