Meet the Vice Provost

Cheryl Murphy, Vice Provost for Distance Education

Cheryl Murphy
Vice Provost
for Distance Education

Distance education is a passion for me. It opens the door for more people to access the transformative power of education and gives them a chance to build better lives for themselves, their families, and their communities.

As the Vice Provost for Distance Education and leader of the Global Campus, I am eager to work with academic colleges and schools at the University of Arkansas to open that door wider. I also look forward to working with business and industry leaders to help align educational options with workplace needs. Working together, we can create more educational pathways that allow prospective students to envision and attain long-term career advancement.

U of A ONLINE programs attract students who otherwise are unlikely to come to the Fayetteville campus. Online education removes the barriers of distance, time and, to a degree, cost for students who want a prestigious degree but cannot take the traditional route. Thanks to modern technology and innovative pedagogical strategies, the U of A brings high-quality educational opportunities to those students, no matter where they are.

Online enrollments at the U of A grew 159 percent over the last seven years. In academic year 2018-2019, more than 10 percent of all U of A students, or 3,154 students, studied in online degree programs. In the same year, 812 students earned U of A degrees by studying in online programs. Their names, like those graduates who studied on campus, will be etched in Senior Walk.

U of A Professional and Workforce Development programs, developed by academic colleges and schools and industry experts, provide employees with enhanced skills and employers with better qualified applicants. These training opportunities help fill skills gaps identified by northwest Arkansas business and industry leaders. Each year, hundreds of professionals earn certificates in Information Technology, sharpen their workforce skills, and increase their productivity by upgrading computer and software skills.

The Global Campus is a support unit for both online programs and professional and workforce development training. The goal of this website is to provide our academic partners with clear conduits to access our services and to forge collaborative partnerships that will produce more educational pathways. I hope you will explore our website and reach out to our team members. We are excited about the future of education, and we invite you to work with us to achieve the U of A’s goals.



Cheryl Murphy is the Vice Provost for Distance Education and leader of the Global Campus. Provost Jim Coleman said Murphy was chosen for this critical role based on her expertise and national leadership in distance education.

Murphy is a nationally recognized expert in distance education and has worked at the U of A for more than 20 years. She served as the Department Head of Curriculum and Instruction in the College of Education and Health Professions at the U of A from 2017 to 2019, leading a diverse department of 100 faculty and staff members and 10 academic program areas.

Prior to her work as department head, Murphy served in different leadership roles at the university, including director of distance education for the College of Education and Health Professions, Co-Director of the Teaching and Faculty Support Center, and Program Coordinator for Educational Technology. Additionally, she has served as a team chair and peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission since 2007. She holds the title of professor of educational technology and will retain her faculty tenure and rank as vice provost.

Murphy, who grew up in rural West Virginia with limited access to higher education, became passionate about distance education “as a means to provide access and opportunities for all, regardless of location, socioeconomic status, or peoples’ life circumstances.”

Murphy earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology and master’s and doctoral degrees in educational psychology, all from West Virginia University. As a professor at the U of A, she taught classes for many of the instructional designers at the Global Campus who studied in the M.Ed. in Educational Technology online program.


  • Murphy, C.A., Leighton, R.M., & Kenner, S. (submitted). The profile of on-campus students who take online courses.  Online Learning.
  • Murphy, C. A., & Keiffer, E. A. (submitted). Completion and withdrawal rates in lower-level online math courses.  Journal of Educators Online.
  • Allred, J.B., & Murphy, C. (2019).  Interactive electronic textbook use in higher education: Grades, engagement, and student perceptions. International Journal of Innovation and Learning, 25(3), 296-309.
  • Murphy, C. A., Allred, J. B., & Brescia, W. F. (2018).  The role of educational technology professionals as perceived by building administrators.  Education and Information Technologies, doi:10.1007/s10639-017-9593-2.
  • Murphy, C., & Stewart, J. (2017).  On-campus students taking online courses: Factors associated with unsuccessful course completion.  The Internet and Higher Education, 34, 1-9.  https://doi.org/10.1016/j.iheduc.2017.03.001
  • Murphy, C. A. 2017). A framework for aligning your campus data with accreditation requirements. To appear in Pina, A. A., Walker, V., & Harris, B. R. (Eds.), What the e-Learning Leader Needs to Know: Leading and Managing e-Learning. Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.
  • Murphy, C. A., & Jensen, T. (2016).  Faculty teaching development: Using the Multidimensional Matrix of Teaching Development to guide teaching improvement activities.  The Journal of Effective Teaching 16(2), 61-75.
  • Murphy, C. A., & Stover, E. (2016).  A peer observation of teaching process for faculty who teach online.  Journal of Applied Educational and Policy Research, 2(1), 3 - 11Retrieved from https://journals.uncc.edu/jaepr/article/view/465/531.
  • Murphy, C. A., Keiffer, E. A., Neal, J. A., & Howton, J. (2016).  Customizable tool for online training evaluation. In Spector, M. J., Lockee, B. B., & Childress, M. D. (Eds.), Learning, Design, and Technology: An International Compendium of Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy (pp. 1 - 27). Switzerland: Springer International Publishing.  doi:10.1007/978-3-319-17727-4_22-1
  • Howton, J., Keiffer, E., Murphy, C., Sirsat, S., O’Bryan, C., Ricke, S., Crandall, P., & Neal, J. A. (2016). A comparison of online food safety training programs using the Customizable Tool for Online Training Evaluation.  Food Control, 59, 82-87.  doi:10.1016/j.foodcont.2015.04.034 
  • Murphy, C. A. (2016). The impact of instructor posts on student participation.  In Bansal, D. (Ed.), Teaching strategies for the online college classroom (pp. 132-136).  Madison, WI: Magna Publications.
  • Murphy, C. A., & Stewart, J. (2015). The impact of online or f2f lecture choice on student achievement and engagement in a large lecture-based science course:  Closing the gap.  Online Learning, 19(3). Retrieved from http://olj.onlinelearningconsortium.org/index.php/olj/article/viewFile/670/158
  • Jones, L. C., Murphy, C. A., & Holland, A. (2015).  The more things change, the more they stay the same, or do they? Revisiting classroom interaction approaches and their effects on quantity and characteristics of language production.  CALICO, 32(2), 245-272.  doi:10.1558/cj.v32i2.24544
  • Murphy, C., & Orlando, J. (2015).  The impact of instructor posts on student participation.  Online Cl@ssroom, 15(8), 7-8. Retrieved from http://www.magnapubs.com/newsletter/online-classroom/138/
  • Beck, D. & Murphy, C. (2014). The creation of a theoretical framework for avatar creation and revision.  International Journal of Virtual and Personal Learning Environments, 5(3), 1-17.  doi:10.4018/IJPLE.2014070101
  • Murphy, C. A., & Fortner, R. A. (2014).  Impact of instructor intervention on the quality and frequency of student discussion posts in a blended classroom.  MERLOT Journal of Online Learning and Teaching, 10(3), 337-350. Retrieved from http://jolt.merlot.org/vol10no3/abstracts.htm
  • Murphy, C., & Miller, V.  (2014). Faculty training for online teaching.  Academic Exchange Quarterly, 18(3), 70-76.
  • Murphy, C. (2014).  Distance learning in COEHP.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Murphy, C. (2014).  COEHP best practices for planning and participating in online academic endeavors.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Murphy, C., Keiffer, E., Neal, J., & Crandall, P. (2013). A customizable evaluation instrument to facilitate comparisons of existing online training programs.  Knowledge Management & E-Learning: An International Journal, 5(3), 251-268.
  • Advisory Committee on Web Learning. (2013). Progress report on web learning.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • COEHP Technology Strategic Planning Committee. (2013). COEHP technology strategic planning initiatives: 2013 - 2015.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Beck, D., & Murphy, C.  (2013). Avatar creation and revision: The enforcement of gender and ethnicity stereotypes. Paper presented at the American Education Research Association Annual Conference.  Retrieved January 23, 2014 form the AERA Online Paper Repository.
  • Beck, D. & Murphy, C.  (2013). Applied Research in Virtual Environments for Learning SIG workshop.  Paper presented at the 2013 annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association conference. Retrieved January 23, 2014 form the AERA Online Paper Repository.
  • COEHP Technology Strategic Planning Committee. (2012). COEHP Technology Planning Committee: Yearly report. Technical report submitted to the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Advisory Committee on Web Learning. (2012). Recommendations for web learning.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Crandall, P. G., Neal, J. A., O'Bryan, Murphy, C. A., Marks, B. P., & Ricke, S. C. (2011). Minimizing the risk of Listeria monocytogenes in retail delis by developing employee focused, cost effective training.  Agricultural Food and Analytical Bacteriology, 1(2), 159 -174.
  • Neal, J. A., Murphy, C. A., Crandall, P. G., O’Bryan, C. A., Keiffer, E., & Ricke, S. C.  (2011). Development of an evaluation tool for online food safety training programs.  Journal of Food Science Education, 10(1), 9-12.
  • Murphy, C.  (2011). Online learning at the University of Arkansas: A status report.  Technical report for the Provost, University of Arkansas.
  • Murphy, C., Longer, D., & Allison, N (2007).  Using video conferencing to "bring" experts to campus.  All Things Academic, 8(2), 2-3.
  • Murphy, C., Riffle, B., Martindale, R., Stover, E., Terrell, E., Bateman, S., & Badgett, J.  (2007). Snapshots of success:  Technology integration in Arkansas schools.  Technical report for the Joint Education Committee of the Arkansas State Legislature, Little Rock, AR.
  • Wainscott, L., & Murphy, C. (2006). Designing online courses to encourage community with the seven principles of good practice. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 2006(1), 2708-2712.
  • Brescia, W., & Murphy, C.  (2006). The role of educational technology professionals as perceived by building administrators. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 2006(1), 3335-3336.
  • Murphy, C.  (2006). Proposal for the establishment of a Center for Instructional Technology.  Technical report for the Provost and Vice Chancellors, University of Arkansas.
  • Technology Strategic Planning Task Force. (2005). Final report:  Technology Strategic Planning Task Force.  Technical report for the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • Murphy, C., & Martindale, R. (2004). Electronic tools for technology evaluation, assessment, and planning. In Society for Information Technology & Teacher Education International Conference, 2004(1),1605-1606.
  • Murphy, C.  (2004). Teachers and teaching technology:  What’s the point?  Relative to Teaching, 4, 1-3.
  • Technology Mediated Learning Task Force (2002).  Final report:  Technology Mediated Learning Task Force.  Technical report for the Walton College of Business, University of Arkansas.
  • Dennison, R., Howard, B., Hill, L.A., & Murphy, C.  (2001). Measures of children's metacognitive knowledge and regulation.  Contemporary Educational Psychology, 26(4). 465-479.

Dr. Murphy has an extensive teaching, research, and service record. She has been recognized numerous times for teaching excellence, including winning the Blackboard (Bb) Exemplary Course Award, the U.S. Distance Learning Association's Gold Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching, the College of Education and Health Professions Outstanding Teaching Award, and several departmental teaching awards, as well as the Faculty Career Award. She has served as the Co-Director of the University of Arkansas Teaching and Faculty Support Center and is an active member in the Teaching Academy, a teaching honor society.  A list of her specific awards appears below.

  • 2016 - "Faculty Career Award" Awarded by the Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2014 - “Most Downloaded Paper Award in an IFT Journal” Awarded by the Institute of Food Technologists, based on 1,655 downloads within a 2-year span.
  • 2013 - “University of Arkansas Faculty Distinguished Achievement Award for Service” Awarded by the University of Arkansas. 
  • 2013 - “COEHP Outstanding Service Award” Awarded by the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2013 - “CIED Outstanding Advising Award” Awarded by the Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2011 - “USDLA Best Practice Gold Award for Excellence in Distance Learning Teaching.”  National distance learning award presented by the United States Distance Learning Association.
  • 2009 - “Blackboard Exemplary Course Award” International online design award given by Bb, Inc.
  • 2009 - “CIED Outstanding Service Award” Awarded by the Curriculum and Instruction Department, College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2008 - “COEHP Outstanding Service Award” Awarded by the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2004 - “COEHP Outstanding Teacher” Awarded by the College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.
  • 2004 - “ELCF Outstanding Teacher” Awarded by the Educational Leadership, Counseling, and Foundations Department, College of Education and Health Professions, University of Arkansas.