What Are the Biggest Challenges for Distance Learning?

Dr. Beverly D. HillWashington, DC (USA), October 2022 - The United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA) interviewed Dr. Beverly D. Hill, Dean of Academic Affairs at the Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development. She previously served as Eaker's Chief, Institutional Effectiveness. A retired USAF Chief Master Sergeant, Dr. Hill's expertise is in curriculum, organizational, and professional development, where she serves daily as a reliable, committed teammate who goes the distance for the Eaker team. "I am passionate about bettering the community and the families therein, particularly our youth," says this active USDLA member from Macon, Georgia.

USDLA: Tell us a little about yourself and the work you do.

Dr. Hill: I am employed at Air University in Montgomery, AL, as Dean of Academic Affairs at the Ira C. Eaker Center for Leadership Development. In this role, I oversee and consult on various aspects of instructional systems design of 70+ courses representing five agencies, ensuring compliance with higher echelon directives and guidance.


USDLA: Regarding the distance learning industry, what are you most excited about in the future?

Dr. Hill: The ability to holistically support all components of the human domain with the ability to reach more disadvantaged populations. I immediately think of telehealth from a physical, emotional, and mental standpoint.


USDLA: What do you think are the biggest challenges for distance learning?

Dr. Hill: Compatibility of systems to maximize efficiency. For example, learning-management systems should be able to add another proprietary "add-in" that enhances learners' and faculty's ability to reduce cumbersome processes and academic reporting requirements and data gathering.


USDLA: As a member of USDLA, how has the organization helped you professionally?

Dr. Hill: USDLA allows me to open my aperture to varied ways to engage learners and perpetuate faculty development.


USDLA: Why do you think joining our organization is a great idea?

Dr. Hill: It is a network of diverse committed educators and trainers providing a wealth of knowledge and experience. They are inclusive and influential in an innovative educational space.


USDLA: What's next for you professionally and personally?

Dr. Hill: Honestly, my current position is the highlight of my career. I never had aspirations of becoming a dean and influencing leadership, faculty, students, and colleagues; however, preparation and possibilities led me here, and I plan to retire and leverage everything I have experienced on my terms. Being part of USDLA resides in this plan.