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Naming Ceremony Honors Professor, Tech Pioneer
November 29, 2017

A pioneer in online and mobile learning was honored during a naming ceremony recently at Walters State Community College.
A faculty training area was renamed the Dr. David White Instructional Design Suite. White, a professor of English and assistant dean for distance education, is retiring in January. The suite is used to train faculty members in new instructional technology.
“It is an honor to name this facility for someone who has shown such dedication to both faculty and students,” said Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State. 
“Dr. White realized the transformative nature of technology in higher education early and first incorporated it into his classes and then shared his knowledge with other professors. He leaves the college in an enviable position regarding our response to the use of mobile devices and the diversity of delivery methods,” Miksa said.
White joined Walters State in 1986. He was the college’s first full-time professor at the Sevier County Campus and he taught the first dual enrollment course at Gatlinburg-Pittman High School.
White developed and taught the college’s first online class in 1998. 
“At the time, I thought it was just a flash in the pan. As more technology became available, we realized how useful this could be in the classroom,” White said.
“Technology allows a great deal of interaction between faculty and students and between students and students. That was originally a big attraction for higher education. Now, technology makes it possible for everyone to fit education into their lifestyle. Everyone has a computer or a mobile device and most have access to the Internet.”
White said the secret to being an innovative institution in using technology is looking for the next “fuzzy wave,” what he refers to as coming technology.
“It hasn’t been invented yet, but everyone will be using it to teach in five years. Instructors have to be looking out for it. After all, did we ever think we would keep all of our photos on a phone? Did we ever think we would be using our phones to shop? You have to keep your eyes open all the time,” White said.
Miksa also recognized White as a supporter of the Walters State Foundation. He serves as an honorary trustee and is a member of the President’s Trust.

In the picture: Dr. David White, professor of English and assistant dean for distance education at Walters State, was honored with the naming of the college’s instructional design room. From left are Dr. Tony Miksa, president of Walters State; Matthew Hunter, dean of distance education; White, and Dr. Lori Campbell, vice president of academic affairs.