Meg Benke of Saratoga Springs, a professor and mentor at the SUNY Empire State College School for Graduate Studies, was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame was created to honor leaders in the fields of continuing education and adult learning and to serve as a record and inspiration for the next generation of continuing education leaders.
A nationally and internationally recognized leader, Benke has devoted her entire career to improving the quality of education and increasing access and choice for students, Empire State College officials said. In addition, she has worked to advance professionalism in her field and as an advocate for adults at the state and national levels.
“Induction into the Hall of Fame is a great honor,” said Benke. “While this recognition is individual, it is built on substantial support from my colleagues at Empire State College and the Sloan Consortium and it recognizes the significant advancements that the college and the consortium have made to improve quality and increase access to higher education for those that have been under served.”
Benke first joined Empire State College in 1991 and has served the college as acting president, provost, vice provost and as dean of the college’s Center for Distance Learning. Working with colleagues at CDL, she led the effort to expand the college’s programs throughout the state, nation and around the world. As a result, enrollment with the college’s online programs grew to more than 10,000 full- and part-time students, college officials said.
Today, more than 70 percent of all online bachelor’s programs offered within the 64-campus SUNY system are provided by the college and CDL is one of the foremost and innovative open and distance learning systems in the U.S., said officials.
As the college’s acting president and provost, Benke provided her leadership and expertise to the systemwide Open SUNY initiative, while leading an institution with an enrollment of approximately 20,000 students learning at 35 locations across the state, with partners at eight international locations and online everywhere.
Benke mentors and teaches in the college’s School for Graduate Studies’ master of arts in learning and emergency technologies and the master of arts in adult learning programs. These online programs are specifically designed for professionals responsible for training employees in the private and nonprofit sectors, community college faculty and administrators, online instructional designers, those working in adult learning for social change and community engagement, international educators, as well as K-12 educators. In addition, she currently serves on the state Regents Advisory Council on Institutional Accreditation.
Sloan-C is the largest membership society devoted solely to improving scale, quality and choices in online education where adult learners comprise the majority of students. Benke was first recognized by Sloan-C in 2007, which conferred on her the Most Outstanding Achievement in Online Learning by an Individual award for extraordinary qualifications, significant experience, distinguished service and leadership in the field. In 2010 Benke was named to the inaugural class of Sloan-C Fellows.
Photo Courtesy of Empire State College