Texas Tech University

Dr. Lynn Huffman wins Friend of GPIDEA Award

Huffman Ziegner GPIDEA Award TTUCOHSLynn Huffman, Ph.D. was recently awarded the 2018 Friend of Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (GPIDEA) Award. Dr. Huffman is the Executive Associate Dean for Academics, Research and Faculty Development for the College of Human Sciences (COHS), and is currently serving as the board chair of the Human Sciences Board of GPIDEA, a governing body of the organization.

Director of the GPIDEA Early Childhood Online Program and Associate Chair of Human Development and Family Studies Mitzi Ziegner, M. Ed., nominated Dr. Huffman for the 2018 Friend of the GPIDEA Award.

"I chose to nominate Dr. Lynn Huffman because I felt she was truly worthy of selection and the perfect choice for the Friend of the Great Plains IDEA Award," Mitzi said. "I have been blessed to know Lynn Huffman, a true servant leader, since my time as an undergraduate student in the early 1990s."

Mitzi said that Dr. Huffman is not only highly regarded within the College of Human Sciences, but across Texas Tech University. Dr. Huffman is well known for her knowledge of COHS programs, as well as her approachability and willingness to help others. Mitzi said that Dr. Huffman is a real treasure within the Texas Tech community.

Dr. Huffman was beyond shocked when the 2018 Friend of GPIDEA recipient was announced. Dr. Huffman was surprised with the award, and was thoroughly impressed by her colleagues' ability to maintain the secret.

"My jaw literally dropped," Dr. Huffman said. "This award was not on my radar screen, now or ever. Mitzi Ziegner was so sweet to nominate me and said the nicest things. This is a treasured moment for me."

Dr. Huffman has been involved with GPIDEA since its beginnings in 2002, starting as chair of Family and Consumer Sciences Education (FCSE.) In 2009, Dr. Huffman became part of the Human Science board, which is comprised of the deans and associate deans of participating schools. Dr. Huffman was secretary of the Human Sciences board for two years, served on the GPIDEA cabinet for three years, and now serves as board chair.

"The best thing about GPIDEA is the people," Dr. Huffman said. "From top to bottom, staff or faculty, all are totally committed to the success of our students."

Mitzi said that Dr. Huffman was pivotal in supporting her as a GPIDEA Early Childhood (EC) faculty member, and the development of the undergraduate degree program in Early Child and Education for a Mobile Society. Seven alliance universities worked together over the course of three years to create the new degree program, which launched in 2015. Dr. Huffman was an invaluable resource during the process, and was supportive every step of the way.

Mitzi said that Dr. Huffman's knowledge base and experience were important to the new program's approval process. Dr. Huffman's willingness to assist and commitment to the program's success inspired Mitzi to keep going when things got challenging.

"I have no doubt that without Lynn Huffman's support, confidence and endorsement, this degree program may not have made it through the extensive steps of the Texas Tech University degree program approval system," Mitzi said.

GPIDEA is a partnership of 20 universities that collaboratively develop and deliver online academic programs that alternatively could not be offered by any one university. GPIDEA offers fully online graduate and undergraduate coursework. Students enroll at one university where they are admitted, and may take courses taught at any participating university.

"Everything that happens is designed around student benefit," Dr. Huffman said. "The uniqueness is that programs have banded together to offer degrees that they could not offer separately. Students benefit by taking classes from the best of the best at several universities."

Mitzi said that the greatest benefit of the College of Human Sciences offering online degrees and certifications through GPIDEA is student choice. GPIDEA offers quality online education, and flexible plans for student success. Mitzi said Dr. Huffman's commitment to GPIDEA's initiative and passion for seeing its programs succeed are largely due to her strong belief in the program.

"I consider Lynn Huffman a mentor and a role model, and the Great Plain Interactive Distance Education Alliance is very fortunate to have someone like her represent us as this year's honoree," Mitzi said. "I can honestly say she is among the most outstanding, capable and caring professionals I have ever had the gift of working with."