Barry Sponder - 2013 FAC Nominee

Barry SponderE-mail: bsponder@faculty.umuc.edu
Division: Graduate Adelphi
Category: Adjunct
Program: Educational Technology

Autobiography

My background includes public school teaching, military service (U.S. Air Force), Educational Technology training and development (Ed.D. Utah State University), The U.S. Peace Corps (Nepal) and several years of working with educators to integrate technology into the classroom. These days that has evolved into teaching with technology and training others to train others as well.

I was an Alaska Writing Project Fellow in 1984, a Christa McAuliffe Fellow in 1988 and a Fulbright Senior Scholar at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) during 2003-2004.

I took my first distance learning course from the University of Maryland in 1969 (English) while stationed in Southeast Asia. I first used distance learning courses (broadcast over the radio from Kathmandu, Moscow and Beijing) in 1978 while teaching English as a Foreign Language in a small rural Himalayan mountain village situated in a remote area of Nepal, three days walk from Mt. Everest.

I started teaching courses to off-campus students in western Alaska in 1983 using audio conferencing, videotapes, fax machines, US Mail, village hops in private planes and self-made laserdiscs while based at a rural campus of the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. From 1983-1992 I taught an average of four distance education courses a year to students from 53 bush villages located in an area five times larger than the state of Maryland. In fact, at that time the state of Alaska itself stretched across four time zones. That was in Bethel, Alaska, where the Kuskokwim River freezes three feet thick or more in the winter and becomes a state highway.

Since 1997 I have been a professor of Educational Technology at Central Connecticut State University and a few years later, in 2005, started here at UMUC as an adjunct faculty teaching courses in the Educational Technology graduate degree program—and loving every minute of it.

Nomination Essay

I believe that an institution such as the Faculty Advisory Council is an important component in the overall structure of University governance and academic support for our main constituents—the students. In fact, a good flow chart of the University's departmental structures and lines of responsibility might have students at the very top because that is to whom we are ultimately responsible. I feel that being a member of the FAC fits right into how I view my role as an Adjunct faculty, working with colleagues and administrators to improve the instruction, products and services that we deliver to our world—wide and far—flung student body.

My background includes membership on several higher education and statewide committees dealing with non-traditional education, budgeting, cooperation with the military and distance learning. I believe that my experience in working with such timeless issues such as offering quality programs, promoting diversity and facilitating continuous program improvement—while serving diverse populations and many language groups—will help me to provide additional ideas and perspectives to our already rich mix of eclectic educators.