N.B.: The detail displayed about each honorary degree recipient varies, as
the database was compiled from a variety of sources. However, more information may
be available at the University Archives.
Name: Glen Michael Farrell, B.S.A., M.Sc., Ph.D.
Convocation date: May 25, 2000
Discipline / contribution: distance education
Citation / biographical information:
Glen Michael Farrell was born in Tonkin, Saskatchewan. He attended a one room school for 8 years, followed by high school in Yorkton. He graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Agriculture from the University of Saskatchewan in 1959, and also served as President of the student body. He received a M.Sc. and a Ph.D. in adult education from the University of Wisconsin in 1964 and 1969 respectively. From 1959 to 1975 he worked as an Extension Specialist and Professor of Continuing Education in the Extension Division of the University of Saskatchewan, then moved to the University of Victoria as Associate Director of Extension, becoming Director in 1978. In 1985 he became President of the Knowledge Network and three years later he was appointed founding President of the Open Learning Agency. He completed his terms as President in June 1998.Degree received: Doctor of Laws
During his tenure as President, Dr. Farrell facilitated the merger of the Open Learning Institute (a distance education development and delivery agency) and the Knowledge Network (an educational television service) to form the Open Learning Agency (OLA). OLA is a fully accredited educational institution which is a world leader in the delivery of distance education. Under Dr. Farrell’s leadership OLA grew and evolved into a multi-faceted educational organization serving British Columbians (plus other Canadians, and an increasingly international clientele) with lifelong learning and training programs in all academic areas, at all levels, for all ages.
Over 400 students receive degrees from its Open College and Open University each year; the Knowledge Network reaches 95% of BC homes and transmits nearly 9,000 hours of educational programs annually. Its Workplace Training Systems provide analysis, training and development for government, corporate and educational clients; and its International Credential Evaluation Service provides evaluations of secondary and post-secondary educational credentials from around the world and identifies their equivalents in terms of Canadian educational credentials. Initially patterned after the United Kingdom’s Open University, the Open Learning Agency has carved out new ground in distance education, in Canada and internationally. Electronic communications technology has made it possible for OLA to reach out to learners in all parts of Canada and around the world. By working in partnership with other educational institutions, including the other universities in British Columbia, associations, corporations and government bodies in Canada and abroad, OLA is able to offer everything from basic skills and training to undergraduate degrees. As of 1997 OLA has offered one of the few master’s degrees in music therapy in the country. Internationally, over 2000 students in India are enrolled in the Open University’s Bachelor of Technology (Computing) degree program; the Open University’s Bachelor of Business Administration program is serving students in Singapore. Service contracts and consulting in other countries (including Mexico, Germany, Sri Lanka, China, and Chile) make the OLA a world leader in distance education.
Glen is married to Leone (Robison) of Indian Head who received her B.Sc.(H.Ec.) and M.Ed degrees from the University of Saskatchewan. They have two children, Carmen and Brad and two grandchildren.
Degree presented by: Gordon Thompson, Dean, Extension Division
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