A familiar face is the first leader of the recently launched Anderson University Office of Technology, Online Learning and Innovation.
Dr. Benjamin Deaton, who currently serves as Assistant Provost for Academic Innovation and Digital Learning and Executive Director of the AU Center for Innovation and Digital Learning (CIDL), was named Vice President in charge of the Office of Technology, Online Learning and Innovation. The new initiative was created in 2018 in an effort to bring together the core services of learning and information technology, online learning, learning design and academic innovation in order to serve the needs of AU students, faculty and staff. The new office is comprised of three areas: the CIDL, Information Technology and a unit dedicated to online and continuous learning.
"Anderson University thrives on a culture that recognizes the importance of casting a vision for the future rather than reflecting on past accomplishments," AU President Dr. Evans Whitaker said. "Elevating Dr. Deaton to this new position reflects that institutional priority because he challenges us to re-think the ways we deliver learning opportunities in the 21st century. His leadership, emphasis on innovation and singular focus on the entire AU family will serve him well in this new role."
Named as to U.S. News & World Report's Most Innovative Schools list, AU has established a reputation as a pioneer in delivering learning experiences amid rapid changes in technology. Under Dr. Deaton's leadership, the CIDL recently opened a Makerspace through which faculty and students are utilizing virtual and augmented reality tools, 3D printing technology and a new multi-media recording studio, among others.
Dr. Deaton is one of only about 2,500 Apple Distinguished Educators worldwide. Since coming to AU in 2010, he's helped lead a number of innovative initiatives, including
* the 2011 launch of the Mobile Learning Initiative (MLI), which positioned AU as a national leader in the use of mobile devices and digital learning; MLI provides all undergraduate students and faculty members with iPads as a common technology platform;
* the creation of the Center for Innovation and Digital Learning (CIDL), which aims to enrich teaching and learning by: providing professional development experiences for faculty and students; promoting active, engaged classroom experiences; supporting learning technologies; learning space design; and supporting online and blended courses and programs;
* partnering with AU's College of Arts and Sciences and CIDL to launch a Coding and App Development minor, in collaboration with Apple's "Everyone Can Code" curriculum;
* a two-time designation as an Apple Distinguished School - one of only 400 institutions to receive the prestigious distinction;
* receiving grant support of $600,000 for the creation of the South Carolina Center of Excellence for Mobile Learning with Dr. Margaret Walworth, housed in the College of Education, that has supported more than 250 educators from the Upstate;
* and a U.S. News & World Report designation in January listing AU among the best schools offering online bachelor's degree programs, ranking it the best among all schools in Upstate South Carolina, and No. 3 statewide.
"We are at an exciting time in higher education where there is continually growing connectivity among teaching, learning and technology," Dr. Deaton said. "This new office illustrates AU's unremitting commitment to develop a culture of innovation and finding solutions that will enable us to continually seek ways to better serve our entire campus community. I'm extremely thankful to our administrative leadership in affording me this opportunity. Since beginning my work at AU, I've been blessed by the opportunity to work with an amazing team in the CIDL and a creative, innovative community of faculty and staff members and I look forward to the opportunity to continue growing and expanding those relationships in the future."
Dr. Deaton received a PhD in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia, a MS in Computer Science from Clemson University and a BS in Mathematics and Computer Science from Carson-Newman College. Prior to joining Anderson, he held positions at Clemson University and the University of Mississippi. Dr. Deaton has over 10 years of experience in teaching online courses and actively participates in academic scholarship. Benjamin and his wife Cynthia have two young children.