Thomas Edison State University President Dr. Merodie A. Hancock announced that the university would rename its Center for Learning and Technology ‘The W. J. Seaton Center for Learning and Technology’ in honor of the provost and vice president’s years of commitment to the university and educational technologies that support adult learning.
“Bill’s uncompromising commitment to quality and high standards in the application of technology as an academic tool, has played a significant role in the university’s standing as a pioneer and symbol of academic integrity in adult learning,” said Dr. Merodie A. Hancock, president. “Our Board of Trustees, on the recommendation of President Emeritus Dr. George A. Pruitt, agreed to rename the university’s Center for Learning and Technology in honor of Bill and we are thrilled to have the center reflect his legacy.”
Seaton, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at Thomas Edison State University, announced his intention to retire this past fall. When he joined the institution in 1981, the nine year-old college was already familiar in higher education circles for awarding adult learners credit for prior learning and testing. He anticipated that distance education modalities would need to be expanded to respond to the burgeoning adult learner market and oversaw the institution’s launch of the guided independent study program. In 1987, the Computer Assisted Lifelong Learning (CALL) Network, a pre-internet innovation, was introduced enabling students to take courses and access the college’s services via a dial-up computer network. Soon after, Seaton became associate vice president of the university’s Directed Independent Adult Learning (DIAL) program. Under the program’s auspices, the college was able to position itself as one of the first accredited institutions in the nation to offer courses and, later, entire degree programs online.
Since then, the institution has grown from offering a handful of courses and 18 enrollments, to enrolling more than 16,000 students and celebrating tens of thousands of alums – from active-duty military service members to registered nurses – who depend on the university’s course technologies to advance their education.
“I’d like to thank Bill for his 37 years of service to both the university and the field of adult education,” said Hancock, during a reception and portrait unveiling held in Seaton’s honor on Dec. 7. “His counsel, advice and the foundation he has laid have been invaluable to me. I wish him the very best in his well-deserved retirement.”
Prior to joining the university, Seaton held faculty positions at Susquehanna University, Penn State University, Bucknell University and The College of New Jersey. He has been an active participant in both national and international higher education-focused presentations and has also served on numerous accreditation teams both domestically and internationally. He has been active with several international foundations that focus on adoption and education for indigenous people and has been active with the U.S. Humane Society and the ASPCA – all of which he plans to continue in retirement. “It has been an honor to work for Thomas Edison State University,” said Seaton. “I am proud of my contribution to expanding access to higher education for adult learners and confident that Thomas Edison State University will build upon this in creating an exciting, meaningful future for itself and the community it serves.”
The university will begin its search for Seaton’s replacement in early 2019.