The 2021 Inductee for the Hall of Fame is Patrick Pluscht. Patrick Pluscht has had a successful career spanning thirty years as a practitioner, leader, and advocate in the field of distance education. His career success can be attributed, in part, to “doing what’s right, the right way, at
the right time.”

Patrick has held positions ranging from his work with Alabama Public Television, to the University of Alabama System, to the majority of his career and most recently, the University of North Texas. Patrick currently serves as the Executive Director of DSI Digital Growth for the University of North Texas and reports to the Vice President of the Division of Digital Strategy and Innovation. One of Patrick’s greatest accomplishments at UNT was to successfully advocate improving instructional quality as the required Quality Enhancement Plan for SACS-COC. This effort was important because (a) it provided a mechanism to formally train a fairly large cohort of faculty in best instructional practices for distance learning; (b) taught faculty to organize, frame, and build their courses on measurable learning outcomes; (c) minimize didactic approaches to instruction and develop experiential elements; and (d) assess student learning through the formally developed learning outcomes. Because the QEP is a multi-year process, it resulted in training large numbers of faculty and improving the instructional experience for thousands of students.

Patrick also co-chairs the Learning Technology Advisory Committee of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, serves on the USDLA Advisory Board, and has served on the TxDLA Board for nearly a decade, including five years as Board Chair. He received the “Outstanding Commitment to TxDLA by an Individual” award (2002 and 2004) and the Don Foshee Award (2005).

For more than a decade, Patrick has served on the Learning Technology Advisory Committee (LTAC and formerly called the Distance Education Advisory Committee) for the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Through the work of the committee, he has been deeply involved in a number of activities supportive of distance learning in Texas, including the development of the principles of good practice in distance learning, access to affordable textbooks, and the creation of open access learning repositories. He worked to facilitate Texas’ participation in NC-SARA, in order to allow Texas institutions to deliver online courses in other states without needing to pursue costly and complicated individual state approvals. Through the THECB committee, Patrick has also worked to provide resources to the Texas Legislature as they worked on revisions in the Texas Administrative Code related to distance education.