Illinois State University’s Kate Plantholt is the 2011 recipient of the Williams Outstanding Technology Service Award established by David and Kay Williams. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the University in the area of technology and service.

Plantholt, a 24-year employee at Illinois State, has been the coordinator of computer support for the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) since 1990. She earned her bachelor’s degree in natural resources at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and her master’s degree in applied computer science at Illinois State. Plantholt previously served as a research associate at Illinois State on a grant from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for three years.

Plantholt has been praised for her dedication in exploring IT (instructional technology) trends and her tireless advocacy for innovation. Her central role in teaching faculty, staff and administrators, either via workshops or individualized tutoring, was mentioned by nominators as well as her pioneering position in advocating for, learning about and teaching early versions of learning management systems. One nominator said Plantholt has “remained at the forefront of issues surrounding learning management systems, transitions from one system to another, online teaching methods, and software to facilitate online teaching and learning.” Her efforts to increase online offerings with the Technology Enhanced Active Learning program was pivotal to the University purchasing a license and using the software across campus.

“CAST administrators, chairs/directors and faculty/staff rely on Kate’s expertise and respect her advice on software and hardware issues,” said Alan Lacy, associate dean in CAST. “Digital signage has increased in our college, and Kate has been at the forefront of exploring new possibilities and applications for this technology.”