Dr. Ken Esbenshade, associate dean and director of Academic Programs in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at N.C. State University, has been honored with the 2012 Friend of the Great Plains IDEA Award for significant contributions to the development and operation of the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance (Great Plains IDEA). The announcement came at the annual meeting of the alliance April 3 in Kansas City, Mo.
Esbenshade has been key in originating AG*IDEA, an affiliate of the Great Plains IDEA. Initiated in 2008, AG*IDEA is now offering agriculture-related online degrees, certificates, and course shares among a consortium of universities.
“Dr. Esbenshade has been a great resource for our member institutions, particularly those in the southeast part of the country. He has attended many meetings, both program- and administrative-related, as a representative of AG*IDEA,” said Don Boggs, immediate past-chair of the AG*IDEA board of directors, who nominated Esbenshade.
N.C. State University participates in the Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance in five agriculture areas. There are 20 member institutions in Great Plains IDEA and two affiliate institutions.
Students enroll in one alliance university as a home institution. They then take online courses from any of the universities in the alliance offering their program of study.
Esbenshade is an animal husbandry graduate of Delaware Valley College with master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue University. He has been at N.C. State since 1981 and has been in his current position with CALS since 2001.