MERLOT Awards: Distinquished Service

MERLOT recognizes the outstanding contributions that individuals make to the growth and development of MERLOT. This leadership is rewarded in several ways.

Distinguished Service award is reserved as MERLOT's highest honor. The recipient of this award demonstrates the vision that brings MERLOT members together to create the MERLOT Community and our services. Recipients of this award have exemplified, through their vision and leadership, the highest values MERLOT holds. The recipients of this award are selected by the previous winners with consultation from MERLOT management. Previous Award winners are:


Angela Gunder

Angela Gunder 

Angela Gunder is an Associate Editor on the Teacher Education Board. She was instrumental in revising the Discipline Portals and has been a Peer Reviewer Extraordinaire since her first year with MERLOT, 2013. Angela was the recipient of the Innovative Use of MERLOT award in 2017. She is a co-founder of the Technology Test Kitchen and instrumental in the creation of the Innovation Labs. She has served on Innovate’s steering committee and has been a track chair. Angela served as co-chair for this year’s Innovate Conference. For all of this, we are grateful and wish to acknowledge her continuing service to MERLOT.


Houston Davis

Houston Davis

Houston Davis, President of the University of Central Arkansas was selected for his work at the Oklahoma State Board of Regents for Higher Education. He recognized both the value and collaborative nature of the MERLOT community and his strong support helped keep the state’s engagement at high levels.


Robbie Melton

Robbie Melton

Robbie Melton, of the Tennessee Board of Regents was the recipient of the 2016 award. Robbie has been tireless in her efforts to develop the mobile learning collection in MERLOT. Robbie infuses every conversation with enthusiasm and creativity.


Phil Moss

Phil Moss

Phil has been with MERLOT since 1999. He was the Dean of Information Services and Distance Education at Western Oklahoma State College, Director of Instructional Technology for the Oklahoma State Regents Board, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs for the Oklahoma State Regents Board and Director of Educational Partnerships and Planning for MERLOT. Phil retired in 2013.


Cathy Swift

Cathy Swift

Cathy, Editor of the MERLOT Business Editorial Board and retired Director of Academic Partner Services for MERLOT, has been a member of MERLOT since 1999. She retired from teaching at Georgia Southern University in 2006 and became a member of the MERLOT Management Team. She developed GRAPE Camp for training peer reviewers and continues to facilitate it.


Jane Moore

Jane Moore

Jane Moore, Editor of the MERLOT Teacher Education Editorial Board and newly appointed MERLOT Director of MERLOT Editorial and Professional Development Services, has been a Member of MERLOT since 2002. She also served as Conference Chair for the MERLOT International Conf. Jane is Professor Emeritus from National Louis University. She has come out of retirement to direct all of the MERLOT Editorial Boards, be Program Chair of the Emerging Technologies Conference, and write the MERLOT Vineyard. She has already assumed her new role and has great plans for improving the MERLOT Peer Review Process.


Jeanne Sewell, Georgia College and State University

Jeanne Sewell

Jeanne Sewell has been a Member of MERLOT since May, 2000. She has recently co-authored a textbook which is in its 4th edition, entitled Informatics and Nursing. She has served as the Editor of the Health Sciences Editorial Board since its inception and has led that board in increasing the collection of materials in MERLOT. In 2010, her Editorial Board received the MERLOT House Cup for contributions.


Moustapha "Mous" Diack , Southern University

Moustapha Diack

Mous has been a member of MERLOT since October of 2000 and has served as an Editorial Board Member of both the Chemistry Editorial Board and the Faculty Development Editorial Board. His major contribution to MERLOT has been in the development of MAN, the MERLOT Africa Network. MAN is an online network partnership between the faculty of African and United States higher educational institutions and global eLearning providers that will result in joint education, research and development programs in Sub-Saharan Africa.


Laura Franklin, Professor, Northern Virginia Community College

Laura Franklin

Pictured - Gerry Hanley presenting the award to Laura at the Emerging Technologies Symposium - July 21, 2010 in San Jose, California Laura has worked on MERLOT since the year 2000. She has been a great champion of MERLOT, serving as Editor of the World Languages Editorial Boards. She has also been responsible for developing MERLOT 101, a course that has been used to integrate MERLOT into all campuses within her system. She has worked on the MERLOT MAN project (MERLOT Africa Network) and attended the e-Learning conferences in Africa.


Lou Zweier, Director of the CSU Center for Distributed Learning (CDL)

Lou Zweier

Lou has always been interested in working with groups of faculty and staff in developing interactive multimedia instructional applications. He has worked in Higher Education for more than two decades with more than half of those being MERLOT centric. MERLOT's roots started here in the late 1990s and his expertise helped to guide the development and growth of MERLOT. Lou has a multifaceted blend of history and experience which includes, years of professional experience in film and television production. Significant undergraduate work in psychology; Non-violent communication trainer involved in experiential group therapy work; Graduate level coursework and experience in instructional design and Computer-Human Interface design; Co-Founded New Media Centers at California State University, Long Beach and Sonoma State University; Developed University Extension Certificate Program in Interactive Multimedia.


Mike Abbiatti

Long-time MERLOT supporter, Mike Abbiatti (formerly with Louisiana Board of Regents and now with the state of Arkansas), was honored with MERLOT’s Distinguished Service Award, MERLOT’s highest honor. Mike had this to say about MERLOT: “Gerry Hanley has assembled an outstanding group of professionals who not only promise superior leadership and services but also deliver beyond expectations.


Bruce Mason

Bruce Mason

Bruce Mason has served as the Editor of the MERLOT Physics Editorial Board since its inception in 1999.He as also served as the Editorial Board representative on the MERLOT Advisory Board. He is also the Portal Editor for the Physics Discipline. Bruce has been a wonderful role model for all other Editors in MERLOT and has made many contributions to the MERLOT project. He has submitted 98 learning materials to MERLOT, two of which won the Physics Classics Award. Additionally, he has created 9 Personal Collections in MERLOT, annotating them so they can be used by others. He has also created Activity Sheets for the SERC project which will soon be added to the MERLOT collection.

He is the PI for COMPADRE which is filling a stewardship role within the National Science Digital Library for the educational resources used by broad communities in physics and astronomy. This is a partnership of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), the American Astronomical Society (AAS), the American Institute of Physics/Society of Physics Students (AIP/SPS), and the American Physical Society (APS).Bruce has built the COMPADRE collection and will be responsible for adding their collection to the MERLOT collection. Bruce received the 2001 Regents Award for Superior Teaching University of Oklahoma and the 2005 General Education Teaching Award University of Oklahoma. In addition to being an excellent professor, his wife says that he "is totally consumed by the work he does with MERLOT and COMPADRE." At MERLOT, we look to Bruce for advice as he is a reliable participant in conversations, an accomplished instructor and researcher, and a genuine and caring colleague.


David Ernst

The recipient of the fourth annual Distinguished Service Award is David Ernst, Assistant Vice Chancellor and CIO for the California State University System. David is the CSU leader who began shaping the system’s initiative called the "multimedia repository" in 1995 which became MERLOT. It is through David's leadership in the CSU, his delivery of consistent funding and political support, that MERLOT has had a strong environment to develop its capabilities and services which now reaches around the world. Without his vision and leadership within the CSU, MERLOT would have become just another experiment that faded away a few years after it was started. David was the lead member of the MERLOT Advisory Board at its inception and provided critical strategic direction for MERLOT to keep it on a course of service and innovation. As an internationally recognized leader in Information Technology, David has also been instrumental to bringing corporate and organizational partners into the MERLOT community.


Chuck Schneebeck

Distinguished Service Award honors Chuck Schneebeck, the 'founding father' of MERLOT. Through Chuck’s vision and perseverance, MERLOT's rootstock 'took hold' and created the vines that are sustaining today’s services, programs, and innovations.


Jessica Sommers

The second recipient of the Distinguished Service Award is Jessica Sommers of the University System of Georgia. She is the Director of Academic Innovation, Advanced Learning Technologies, in the Office of Academic Affairs, Board of Regents.

Until her retirement this year, she had primary responsibility for Systemwide faculty development activities focused on incorporating technology into instruction. She served as liaison for collaboratively developed online degree programs, such as eCore, WebMBA, WebBSIT, WebBAS, etc. She also served as State Coordinator for SREB's Electronic Campus.

Previously, Dr. Somers served as Assistant Director for the Center for Educational Technology in the College of Education at the University of Georgia. She also spent four years as an Education Instruction Specialist contracting with IBM Corporation for the development of multimedia educational products.

In 1995 Jessica Somers received her PhD in Instructional Technology from the University of Georgia. She also earned BBA and MBA degrees from the University of West Georgia.


Carl Berger

The first recipient of the Distinguished Service Award is Carl Berger from the University of Michigan. Carl is Professor and Dean Emeritus at the University of Michigan, School of Education.

Carl was the Director of Advanced Academic Technologies in the Collaboratory for Advanced Research and Academic Technologies (CARAT) in the Provost's Office since its inception in 1995 through 2005. Prior to that he was a professor at the University for over 33 years and associate dean and dean from 1979 through 1988.

Research projects include design and evaluation on the CoLabNet Project, CARAT/Rackham fellowship evaluation. He was the major designer and analyst of the Surveys of Information Technology Use by Faculty and Students at the University for over 20 years. In addition to work on evaluation and assessment of student and faculty use of technology, he works on displaying research data in colorful graphic and network forms for ease of analysis and decision making.

Professional activities include editor at large of Academic Intersections, member of the advisory board of MERLOT, former Chairman of the Board of IMS Global Learning Consortium, from its inception in 1995 to 2004, member of the board of directors of the New Media Centers from 1994 to 1998 and member of EDUCAUSE Center for Applied Research, The EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative and the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.