UA Instructor Named Nation’s Best K-12 Distance Education Teacher

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. ‚ Grinell Smith, on-air instructor for “Integrated Science,” The University of Alabama’s innovative middle-school video-based science curriculum, recently received the “Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching-K-12 Education” award by the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

Smith received the honor, awarded to the person deemed the nation’s best K-12 distance education teacher, during ceremonies at the International Distance Learning Conference held in Washington, D.C.

Smith has been the eighth grade Integrated Science instructor for seven years. He has communicated with thousands of middle school students who e-mail and write him frequently. Smith’s energy, professionalism, and ability to present difficult concepts with clarity make him a favorite with his students, USDLA presenters noted in making the award.

A native of Tuscaloosa, Smith holds a bachelor’s of science degree from Auburn University and a master’s degree in chemistry from Georgetown University.

“It’s a well-deserved honor for Grinell, because he has had such a major impact on thousands of kids around the country,” said Dr. Larry Rainey, director of UA’s Center for Communication and Educational Technology, which houses “Integrated Science.” “He is a very gifted teacher who is able to convey complex scientific concepts to his students in a way they can easily understand, and that’s not always easy.”

This is the second time within three years that “Integrated Science” has been recognized by USDLA. In 1997, Rainey, the founder of “Integrated Science,” received USDLA’s “Most Outstanding Achievement by an Individual in K-12” honor.

USDLA is a non-profit organization founded in 1987 to promote the development and application of distance learning for education and training. Its awards program was created to acknowledge major accomplishments in distance learning and to highlight those instructors, programs, and distance learning professionals who have achieved excellence in the field. Categories include Higher Education, K-12 Education, Government, Corporate/Business and Healthcare & Telemedicine.


Suzanne Dowling, 205/348-8324