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Association for Faculty Women Muriel Oaks

Muriel Oaks

Muriel Oaks receives Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award

Muriel Oaks, Dean, Distance and Professional Education at Washington State University, received the Samuel H. Smith Leadership Award on January 24, 2007. The award is presented annually by the Association for Faculty Women at WSU to honor an AFW member whose leadership has advanced the role of women at WSU and demonstrated exceptional leadership in higher education and her profession.


Oaks, whose career at WSU spans 30 years, was instrumental in launching the Distance Degree Program at Washington State University in the early 1990s. This program grew rapidly under her direction. Today, it is recognized as one of the most innovative and respected distance degree programs in the nation. The program makes a high quality college education available to place bound working adults and other nontraditional students. Nearly 70% of DDPÕs 1800 graduates are women. Prior to the development of this program, Oaks was Director of WSUÕs Washington Higher Education Telecommunication System (WHETS) and Director of Extended Academic Programs. She served as Interim Vice President for Extended University Affairs (2000-01).


Oaks is recognized nationally as a leader in distance education. She was a founding member and served as President (1993-98) of the National Universities Degree Consortium, and continues to serve as a member of its Board of Directors. She served as President of the University Continuing Education Association (UCEA) in 2003-04. She received the UCEAÕs Gayle B. Childs Leadership Award in 2004.


In addition to her various leadership roles, Oaks is referred to as an inspiring role model and mentor for countless women throughout higher education.