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Last modified: Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Innovators in education leadership and technology are newest School of Education Distinguished Alumni Award recipients

Sept. 21, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- The Indiana University School of Education will honor on Friday (Sept. 23) three of its outstanding alumni, who have, among them, had a great impact on the inclusion of students with disabilities, education technology research and education administration innovation.

Education Distinguished Alumni Award

Three alumni of the IU School of Education will receive Distinguished Alumni Awards from the school on Friday (Sept. 23).

The 34th annual IU School of Education Distinguished Alumni Awards are given to individuals who hold a degree from the school and have made a lasting impact through their work since leaving the school. This year's honorees include Christine Cheney, dean of the College of Education at University of Nevada, Reno; Rob Foshay, director of research for Texas Instruments Education Technology Group; and James Mervilde, recently retired superintendent of the Washington Township school district in Indianapolis.

"The individuals we are recognizing with School of Education Distinguished Alumni Awards represent the best of what we in the field of education strive to accomplish," said IU School of Education Dean Gerardo Gonzalez. "These honorees are people who have truly excelled in their professional and civic lives. We pay tribute to their dedication and skills, which have made such a difference to so many."

Below is more information on the newest recipients of the Distinguished Alumni Award:

  • Christine Cheney is dean of the College of Education at University of Nevada, Reno, where she taught for more than 25 years. After completing her doctoral work at the IU School of Education, she came to the University of Nevada in 1984 as assistant professor in special education. She was promoted to the rank of associate professor in 1990 and to full professor in 1997. In 2003, she became founding department chair of the newly organized Department of Educational Specialties and, in 2010, she was named dean of the College of Education. She earned a B.A in psychology and an M.Ed. in special education at the College of William and Mary in Virginia in 1971 and 1973, respectively. She is a former special education teacher and administrator in Virginia, South Carolina and Indiana. Cheney has been involved in education at the local, state and national levels. She has consulted extensively with Nevada school districts around issues of special education, inclusion of students with disabilities and behavior management. She has served on many task forces and work groups for the Nevada Department of Education. In addition, she is the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions from the University of Nevada: the Regents Undergraduate Advisor Award (2001), the University Distinguished Teacher Award (2002), Outstanding College of Education Outreach Award (2003) and the President's Award for Outstanding University Service (2004). She is the author or co-author of more than 30 refereed articles and three book chapters or monographs. She is also the author or co-author of five federal grants, bringing $4.5 million to the university.
  • Rob Foshay has been a leader in the educational technology field for more than 30 years. He is currently director of research for the Education Technology Group of Texas Instruments (TI), where he manages TI's extensive education research portfolio on effectiveness of their products and services in math and science education. For 15 years, he was the chief instructional architect of the PLATO Learning System, one of the oldest and largest e-learning systems. He also managed PLATO's program of independent research on effectiveness. His background also includes faculty appointments at the University of Illinois-Champaign, Governors State University and, currently, Walden University. In addition, he has experience as a high school teacher, school media coordinator, and consultant with major corporations and educational technology startup ventures. He received a doctorate in Instructional Systems Technology from IU in 1977. In 1991 he received a departmental citation as Outstanding Alumnus. His B.A. is from Oberlin College and his M.A. is from Columbia University Teachers College. He has contributed more than 70 major research journal articles and book chapters on a wide range of topics in instructional design, learning science, technology and education, and human performance technology, and he has presented at research conferences worldwide. He currently serves on the editorial boards of four research journals. He chairs the Certification and Accreditation Governance Committee for the International Society for Performance Improvement and contributed to the creation of its Certified Performance Technologist program. He has served on the National Board of Visitors and the Alumni Board of Directors for the IU School of Education.
  • James D. Mervilde has been recognized as an outstanding leader in many different capacities during a 37-year career in education. His experiences range from teaching social studies and English in a Detroit parochial school to being the superintendent of the Metropolitan School District of Washington Township in Indianapolis, from which he retired in June. Along the way, he worked as a long-term substitute teacher, teacher of English in a high school, high school assistant principal, high school principal and assistant superintendent. Those experiences took place in a multitude of communities ranging from inner city to rural and urban/suburban. Mervilde has guided several significant change and redesign projects, including block scheduling in high schools; conducting a successful remonstrance campaign for a school building project; designing and implementing innovative curriculum design projects; redesigning secondary and alternative education in a large, diverse district; leading a successful general fund referendum campaign; and leading Washington Township to become the first K-12 international baccalaureate school district in Indiana. He received an M.S degree in 1981, Ed.S. in 1986 and Ed.D. in 2000, all from the IU School of Education. Mervilde also received the Dean Berkley Emerging Leader Award from the IU School Administrators Association in 2006 and was honored by the University Council for Educational Administration with the Excellence in Educational Leadership Award, "In Recognition of Extraordinary Commitment and Support for the Improved Preparation of Educational Administrators."

The IU School of Education is one of the world's premier programs for preparing tomorrow's teachers, counselors, school psychologists, educational leaders, curriculum designers and educational scholars. Its mission is to improve teaching, learning and human development in a global, diverse, rapidly changing and increasingly technological society. It has more than 68,000 alumni, including the 2011 Indiana Teacher of the Year and eight of 10 finalists for 2011. U.S. News and World Report ranks five of its degree programs in the top 10 nationally.