James P. Pappas, vice president for outreach and dean of the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma, was honored with the President’s Award for Exceptional and Innovative Leadership in Adult and Continuing Education for his contributions to lifelong learning.
The award to Pappas was presented on November 19 at the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (AAACE) conference in Oklahoma City. The President’s Award is given to individuals in the field who “demonstrate exceptional and innovative leadership to or in support of adult and continuing education,” according to the AAACE website. The AAACE, founded in 1982, is a leading resource for the field of adult and continuing education.
“I am very humbled to receive this recognition,” Pappas said. “AAACE is known as one of the most prestigious associations in the field and I am deeply honored by this award from my esteemed colleagues. I believe it recognizes, too, the great work in which the University of Oklahoma and OU Outreach are engaged and it is another opportunity to showcase the university on the world stage. And for all of that I am very thankful.”
“For nearly 30 years Jim Pappas has directed the outreach program at the University of Oklahoma, one of the largest and most successful continuing education operations in the nation,” said Wendell Smith, dean emeritus of continuing education, University of Missouri at St. Louis. “He has been a national leader in the field and has been instrumental in recognizing other continuing education leaders through his tireless efforts working with the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame.”
Pappas joined the University of Oklahoma in 1987 after a number of years as a higher education administrator at the University of Utah. In addition to his roles in Outreach and the College of Liberal Studies, he is a professor in Educational Psychology and Liberal Studies. Pappas has served as an officer on numerous community service and professional association boards, including the Association of Public and Land-Grant Universities, the Association of Continuing Higher Education (ACHE), University Professional and Continuing Education Association (UPCEA) and the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs (AGLSP). He has served as president of UPCEA and AGLSP and is currently executive vice president of ACHE.
He has produced more than 100 professional presentations and articles in the fields of adult education, counseling and administration. In addition, he has edited and co-edited monographs addressing economic development, adult degree programs, the nontraditional doctoral degree and coaching for adults.
Pappas oversees OU’s academic outreach program that serves more than 250,000 participants, has 55,000 credit enrollments, provides 17 adult degree programs, offers more than 1,000 distance and online courses and administers numerous large federal and state grants and contracts that provide education and training for government employees. These sponsored programs include supervisory and executive training for the Postal Service, a nine-state substance abuse prevention program, a national resource center for runaway youth, comprehensive educational resource centers serving seven states and a contract to deliver graduate degrees to armed forces bases internationally. Outreach also offers business and executive programs in economic development, banking, engineering and management.