Dr. Henry van Zyl

Dr. Henry van Zyl was appointed interim dean of the Heavin School for Arts and Sciences at Thomas Edison State College in June 2013. Dr. Van Zyl’s professional career and active involvement in distance learning encompass more than three decades, during which he filled leadership positions in South Africa and the United States.

Dr. Van Zyl joined Thomas Edison State College in 1997 as lead instructional designer. In 1998, he was appointed director of Distance Learning Programs and became the vice provost for Directed Independent Adult Learning in 2002. In 2012, he was named vice provost for Academic Administration in the Provost’s Office.

As vice provost for Directed Independent Adult Learning, Dr. Van Zyl spearheaded the College’s move towards fully digital delivery of all courses and initiated several innovations that have ensured that Thomas Edison State College remained a leader in the field of online, distance education. Under his leadership, there was a significant surge in student enrollments in online courses. He introduced online testing and remote online proctoring, innovations that have greatly enhanced students’ learning experience at the College. He also developed the concept of fully portable online courses, delivered via FlashTrack® on USB drives.

He has traveled extensively to study distance and open learning systems in the United Kingdom, United States and South Africa and he is a frequent presenter at educational conferences held throughout North America, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Dr. Van Zyl is a graduate of the University of South Africa, where he earned a doctorate in Didactics with a dissertation entitled A Didactical Model for Electronic Distance Learning, which presaged that institution’s transition to digital delivery of distance learning. He earned a Bachelor’s degree, a Teacher’s Diploma (post-graduate) and a post-graduate Bachelor’s degree in Education before going on to earn a Master’s degree cum laude in Pedagogical Psychology from the University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa.