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Two UT Arlington faculty members honored with national distance learning awards

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Media Contact: Bridget Lewis

News Topics: awards, education, faculty, Internet

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The United States Distance Learning Association has honored two University of Texas at Arlington professors for their efforts to promote the development and application of distance education.

Peggy Semingson

Peggy Semingson

Peggy Semingson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction in the College of Education and Health Professions, received the organization’s Platinum level – Best Practices Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching. Samuel H. “Pete” Smith, vice provost for digital teaching and learning, received the Outstanding Leadership by an Individual in the field of Distance Learning Award.

“We are proud of Dr. Semingson and Dr. Smith for the critical leadership that they have provided in the area of distance education,” said Ronald L. Elsenbaumer, provost and vice president for academic affairs. “Their dedication, expertise and innovative teaching styles, combined with advanced technologies, offer UT Arlington distance education students an unparalleled learning experience.”

Semingson joined UT Arlington in 2008. Her research focuses on digital pedagogies as well as students who face challenges in literacy learning. She uses extensive videoconference and digital mentoring tools to offer highly personalized, one-on-one learning for graduate students in complete online settings. Additionally, she conducts bi-weekly webinars with undergraduate teacher candidates in an online venue. 

Pete Smith

Pete Smith

Smith joined UT Arlington in 1992, as director of the Language Acquisition Center in the Department of Modern Languages and a specialist in Russian. He went on to found UT Arlington’s Center for Distance Education, which opened in 1997.

Under Smith’s leadership, the center has grown to offer innovative programs such as the Finish@UT degree, which helps adults complete their undergraduate degrees. In all, the center enrolls more than 20,000 students a year and offers more than 1,300 courses.

U.S. News and World Report recognized online degree programs developed by the center as “Best in Nation” in both 2002 and 2003. The USDLA previously recognized UT Arlington for its distance education efforts, but this is the first time the University has received platinum, the organization’s highest honor.  

USDLA logo

Rob Robinson, president of the United States Distance Learning Association, said Semingson, Smith and this year’s other award recipients represent the finest examples of online courses, best practices and leadership in the field.

“The depth and breadth of the USDLA membership allows us to engage with leaders from higher education, K-12, industry, military, government who daily demonstrate the power of distance learning. We are so very proud and excited to be able to recognize this level of excellence,” Robinson said.

About United States Distance Learning Association

The United States Distance Learning Association is a 501(c) 3 nonprofit association formed in 1987 and is located in Boston, Massachusetts. The association reaches 20,000 people globally with sponsors and members operating in and influencing 46 percent of the $913 billion dollar U.S. education and training market. USDLA promotes the development and application of distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-K-12 education, higher and continuing education, home schooling as well as business, corporate, military, government and telehealth markets. The USDLA trademarked logo is the recognized worldwide symbol of dedicated professionals committed to the distance learning industry. Visit for more information.

About The University of Texas at Arlington 

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 33,800 students and 2,200 faculty members in the heart of North Texas and the second largest member of The University of Texas System. Research activity has more than tripled over the past decade to $71.4 million last year with an emphasis on bioengineering, medical diagnostics, micro manufacturing, advanced robotics and defense and Homeland Security technologies, among other areas. Visit to learn more.


The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.