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Executive vice chancellor honored for media literacy leadership

Faculty Jul 12, 2021
Portrait of a man in a suit and tie
Portrait of a man in a suit and tie

KOKOMO, Ind. — Leadership in teaching media literacy led to national recognition for Mark Canada, Indiana University Kokomo executive vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Canada received the William M. Plater Award for Leadership in Civic Engagement from the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU)’s American Democracy Project (ADP). It recognizes an AASCU chief academic officer for leadership in advancing the civic learning of undergraduates.

“I’m delighted and honored to be the recipient of this national award,” Canada said. “I’m very fortunate to work at IU Kokomo, where we have a number of faculty, staff, and students committed to the kind of work that the ADP promotes. Any success I have had is largely due to their leadership and contributions.”

Catherine Copeland, ADP director, said his work with colleagues to develop the Mind Over Chatter curriculum was part of the reason he was selected from a field of distinguished nominees. The program is a freely available online curriculum, with modules designed to improve digital literacy  — the ability to find, identify, evaluate, and use information found on the internet — through bias mitigation.

“The contributions he’s made at IU Kokomo, and how he’s created an atmosphere for students to explore how digital literacy affects their lives is why we chose Mark for this award,” Copeland said. “Students and faculty and staff want to have resources and the ability to understand the massive amounts of information they are getting every day. Mind Over Chatter, which he developed with his colleagues on campus, is an excellent resource. Leaders on other campuses appreciate this open access resource to use.”

Canada worked with Paul Cook, associate professor of English; Christina Downey, associate vice chancellor for academic affairs and student success; and Polly Boruff-Jones, former dean of the library, to create the program, with funding from the Rita Allen Foundation and RTI International.

He was also cited for development of the IU Kokomo Experience and You (KEY) program, which provides students with opportunities for experiential learning, travel, service learning, and other forms of community engagement, and also as a leading participant in the AASCU’s Re-Imagining the First Year project.

Canada said he was especially pleased to receive the award because it’s named for William Plater, one of the original team of provosts who helped envision and launch the ADP.

Canada’s nomination letter remarked on his leadership, commitment to civic engagement, vision, and humanity, adding that he’s always available to talk about ideas or speak at an event.

“He has shown extraordinary academic leadership during the pandemic, and even in the midst of a global tragedy, has continued to work on behalf of civic literacy with a full-time provost job keeping him busy around the clock.”

Canada has been executive vice chancellor for academic affairs since 2015, and is also currently serving as interim deputy chancellor.

Education is KEY at Indiana University Kokomo.

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