Janet Poley, PhD
CEO/President, American Distance Education Consortium
Janet Poley, PhD, is professor emeritus at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the past president and CEO of the American Distance Education Consortium (ADEC).
Dr. Poley’s interest in accessibility issues has steered her entire career. She grew up on a farm in Nebraska, where her uncle was badly hurt in a tractor accident and paralyzed from the waist down. Without access to distance education, he would not have been able to pursue a career. But thanks to the learning opportunities made available to him, he ended up living a full life working as a professional accountant and, after additional training in an unrelated field, became Nebraska’s first paraplegic pilot.
Dr. Poley continues to regard her uncle as a source of inspiration in her work. She has been an important participant in national summits and meetings on accessibility issues since the Internet’s educational uses emerged in the 1990s. As the US Department of Agriculture’s director for communication, information, and technology during the Clinton-Gore administration, she developed the national information infrastructure’s extension and outreach capabilities.
Dr. Poley has received the Excalibur Award for Exceptional Government Service from the United States Congress and the Mildred B. and Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for Outstanding Practitioner in Distance Education.