Photo By: Town Crier File PHoto
Two organizations recognized Foothill-De Anza Chancellor Linda M. Thor, right, for her contributions to higher education.
Two national organizations honored Linda M. Thor, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, for innovative leadership in higher education.
Thor accepted the Morris T. Keeton Award Nov. 8, joining a roster of educators, leaders and scholars recognized by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL). Established in 1989, the award honors the organization’s founding president and is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant contribution to the field of adult or experiential learning or workforce development.
Thor served on the CAEL board from 1990 to 2005 and is the longest-serving board member in the organization’s history. CAEL works within higher education and the public and private sectors to enable easier access to education and training.
“When you are presented with a lifetime achievement award like the Morris T. Keeton Award, you begin to consider what others will say has been your legacy,” Thor said. “For me, I hope that they conclude that I was a dedicated, caring, forward-thinking leader who always made decisions on what was the best for students and who was passionate about both student access and success.”
Earlier this fall, Thor received the National University Technology Network’s Distinguished Service Award at the organization’s annual conference, where she delivered the keynote address on developing a culture of innovation and change to distance learning and educational technology leaders. The Distinguished Service Award is the network’s highest honor.
From the beginning of her career in higher education, Thor has worked to expand educational opportunities for adult learners and students seeking workforce training in innovative ways, often through the use of technology.
Early in her career she worked as director of high-technology centers and services for the Los Angeles Community College District, and later became the district’s senior director of occupational and technical education.
During her 20-year presidency at Rio Salado College in Arizona, the school became a national model for delivering quality online education. Its effective use of technology to deliver instruction and student services led to increased student success and significantly expanded access to higher education for a wide range of new students, including military service members.
As chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District, Thor has continued her support for expanding educational opportunity through collaborations and partnerships and the use of technology to deliver instruction and services to students.