UW-Milwaukee Receives Grant to Establish National Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancement

Milwaukee – The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has received a $1.48 million grant to establish a national Center for the Study of Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA). The center will work in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin System, UW-Extension, Milwaukee Area Technical College and EDUCAUSE.

Co-directors of the new center are Diane Reddy, professor of Psychology and director of the University’s Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, and Tanya Joosten, director of eLearning Research and Development in Academic Affairs.

“This grant advances UWM’s already strong reputation in online education, and we are delighted to have the opportunity to further understanding of online pedagogies that lead to student success,” said Johannes Britz, provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

The three-year grant is through the U.S. Department of Education’s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE). The DETA Research Center will identify and evaluate effective course and institutional practices in online learning and competency-based education for all students, including those who are economically disadvantaged, students with disabilities, and adult learners. The center will develop and disseminate a national research model for online education.

Work on the DETA research model will begin in February 2015 at a national summit planned in conjunction with the EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative Annual Meeting in Anaheim, Calif.. Grant funding will also support research through subgrant awards to be determined through a nationally competitive RFP process. The Center will work with MATC on the inclusion of two-year colleges in research activities, and UW-Extension, a leader in competency-based education (CBE), will coordinate a CBE research project for the Center.

“The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative along with the teaching and learning community will significantly benefit from a center dedicated to evidence-based online learning and technology research. We know there has been a steady accumulation of successful work and innovation in this area, and we look forward to partnering with and leveraging the practices and models that emerge,” said Julie Little, vice president, teaching, learning, and professional development, EDUCAUSE.

UWM has already won a number of national awards and recognitions for its learning initiatives. The university’s U-Pace instructional approach, a self-paced, mastery-based online learning method with proactive instructor assistance, was one of five recipients of the 2014 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Awards. UWM’s Panther Academic Support Services, a leader in online tutoring, was recognized with the 2014 Frank L. Christ/National College Learning Association (NCLCA) Outstanding Learning Center award for four-year institutions.

CONTACTS: Diane Reddy, reddy@uwm.edu, 414-229-6432; Tanya Joosten, tjoosten@uwm.edu, 414-229-2490; Laura Pedrick, executive director of UWM Online, lpedrick@uwm.edu, 414-229-3203.


EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit membership association created to support those who lead, manage, and use information technology to benefit higher education. A comprehensive range of resources and activities is available to all EDUCAUSE members. For more information about EDUCAUSE, including membership, please contact us at info@educause.edu or visit educause.edu.