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UT Arlington wins third consecutive award for excellence in distance education

News Release — 1 May 2009


Media contact: Teresa Newton, (817) 272-7078,

ARLINGTON - For the third year in a row, The University of Texas at Arlington has a faculty member who has received a top honor from the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

Gina Thames, a clinical instructor with the School of Nursing, won the Gold Best Practices in Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching. Thames teaches Pharmacology in Nursing, a prerequisite course that nursing students must pass before entering the nursing program.

The three consecutive wins "speak very highly of our online teaching efforts and our commitment as an institution to quality online education," Pete Smith, assistant vice president for distance education, said.

Thames, online and offline, personifies enthusiasm, dedication, diligence and creativity, said Jenny Jopling, director of the UT Arlington Center for Distance Education. For example, the online course includes video vignettes or mini-soap operas about misdiagnosis.

Previous winners from UT Arlington include Debbie DeWitte, who won the 2008 platinum medal for Best Practices Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching, and Caryl Segal, who received the 2007 gold medal for Best Practices in Online Distance Learning Programming. DeWitte is an adjunct assistant professor of art and art history, and Segal is a former lecturer in criminology and criminal justice

Also honored this year was Dr. Darcy W. Hardy of the University of Texas System, who was named to the USDLA Hall of Fame. Hardy is the assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs and executive director of the University of Texas TeleCampus.

The awards were presented April 29 at the USDLA national conference in St. Louis, Mo. The USDLA is a nonprofit association that promotes the development and application of distance learning for education and training. It serves the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking and opportunity. The USDLA International Awards acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and by distance learning instructors, programs and professionals. Visit for more information.


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