Margaret “Maggie” O’ Hara, director of e-learning for the 17-campus University of North Carolina, has received a 2014 International Distance Learning Award given by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA). O’Hara, who was honored for outstanding leadership by an individual, accepted the award during the USDLA National Conference, held in St. Louis, Mo.
The USDLA International Awards were created to acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and to highlight those distance learning instructors, programs and professionals who have achieved and demonstrated extraordinary results through the use of online, videoconference, satellite and blended learning delivery technologies.
“Each year these recognized leaders raise the bar and exceed best practice expectations for the industry as a whole,” said USDLA executive director John Flores.
Since joining the UNC General Administration in 2012, O’Hara has provided UNC system leadership and direction for the design and implementation of an online outreach strategy for distance education programs. She has also helped establish and expand the University’s online presence as a preferred choice for degree attainment, continuing education and professional development.
In the process, O’Hara has helped UNC analyze its tuition and fee structure for distance education instruction, develop a viable and seamless inter-institutional course registration system, and launch efforts to encourage North Carolina adults with some college credit to return and complete their undergraduate degrees. In large part due to her efforts and leadership, the UNC Online proctoring network received the 2013 WCET Outstanding Work (WOW) Award from the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education’s Cooperative for Educational Technologies.
Previously, O’Hara served for seven years as assistant dean for online programs in the College of Business at East Carolina University. She holds a doctorate in business administration from the University of Georgia, and her areas of research include technology-enhanced learning, organizational change, and data management. A former president of the NC Distance Education Association, she is a frequent conference presenter and has consulted on distance teaching and learning in the United States and internationally.
Based in Boston, the USDLA 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. Distance learning and training constituencies served include pre-K-12 education, higher and continuing education, and home schooling, as well as business, corporate, military, government, and telehealth markets.
The oldest public university in the nation, the University of North Carolina enrolls more than 220,000 students and encompasses all 16 of North Carolina’s public institutions that grant baccalaureate degrees, as well as the NC School of Science and Mathematics, the nation’s first public residential high school for gifted students. UNC campuses support a broad array of distinguished liberal-arts programs, two medical schools and one teaching hospital, two law schools, a veterinary school, a school of pharmacy, 11 nursing programs, 15 schools of education, three schools of engineering, and a specialized school for performing artists. The UNC Center for Public Television, with its 11-station statewide broadcast network, is also under the University umbrella.