Rob Branch, a professor and head of the department of career and information studies, and Mike Orey, a retired associate professor in the College of Education, were recently awarded the 2017 Special Service Award from the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) for their significant contributions to the association.
AECT is a professional organization focused on improving instruction and learning through technology. Members of the organization hold a wide range of responsibilities in the planning, study, application and production of communications media for instruction.
The Special Service Award is AECT's second highest award and honors individuals who provide substantial services to the association as a whole or to one of its programs or divisions by revamping various functions of AECT; advocating and creating new initiatives; taking existing programs to a new level; or serving a vital leadership role at a major juncture in the association's history.
Branch and Orey earned the award for co-editing the book, "Educational Media and Technology Yearbook," which has been published annually since 1974. The publication has become a standard reference in many libraries and professional collections, and provides a valuable historical record of current ideas and developments in the fields of learning, design and technology.
Branch has served continuously as an editor since 1997, with Volume 41 currently in press for publication in 2018.
In addition to serving as a member of AECT, Branch worked as a Fulbright lecturer and researcher at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in South Africa, conducting research on the complexities of intentional learning spaces. His areas of expertise include instructional design, visual literacy, project management and strategic planning.
During his time at the College of Education, Orey researched computer-mediated communication and the use of social media and other digital tools for collaboration in research practice. Along with his students, Orey completed various projects with the Institute of Plant Breeding, Genetics and Genomics; Disney's Club Penguin; and Army Critical Grief Therapy Training.