M. David Alexander, professor and head of the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies in the School of Education at Virginia Tech, received the university's 2009 Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach.

Sponsored by the Virginia Tech Alumni Association, the Alumni Award for Excellence in International Outreach is presented annually to a faculty or staff member who has had a significant impact on international outreach at Virginia Tech. Selection is based on contributions to the internationalization of Virginia Tech, global impact, significance of the project, and sustainability of the project. Recipients are awarded $2,000.

Since joining the Virginia Tech faculty in 1972, Alexander has been a key participant in promoting the internationalization of Virginia Tech. His extensive list of accomplishments and participation in outreach programs in school systems, curriculum, program development, and research and international conferences have established his position as a leader in the promotion of international education.

Richard Salmon, professor of educational leadership and policy studies at Virginia Tech, noted that during his more than 30 years of international service Alexander “has positively affected the education of children and the enhanced professional development of teachers, administrators, and university personnel.”

“He has interacted with educators in Iran, China, England, Russia, Czech Republic, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, Ukraine, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa,” Salmon said. “He has brought hundreds of educators together for the simple purpose of providing better educational systems for children.”

Alexander’s international outreach began in 1977 when he and a Virginia Tech colleague designed and delivered a master’s degree program in educational leadership for an American school in Shiraz, Iran, for children of expatriates employed by U.S. corporations and qualified local nationals. After the Iranian Revolution interrupted that program, Alexander collaborated with the University of Oxford to study the educational reforms in the United Kingdom. He and an Oxford colleague began inviting U.S. educators and administrators to annual international conferences to study these reforms and interact with English educators.

“This exchange and facilitation by Virginia Tech has led numerous school districts to establish partnerships between American and British educators,” said Joe A. Hairston, superintendent of Baltimore County Public Schools. “My school district continues today to dialogue at both the teacher and student level with school districts in the United Kingdom. This would not have been possible without Dr. Alexander’s vision.”

Other projects have created opportunities for U.S. educators to learn about educational systems in numerous countries on five different continents. In addition, Alexander has reached out to high school students in Virginia and Maryland to further his international outreach outside the borders of Virginia Tech and to the students of tomorrow’s global community. He is currently assisting with a Chinese exchange program for high school students in Baltimore County, Md.

Alexander earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and business administration from Western Kentucky State College, a master’s degree in educational administration from Western Kentucky University, and a doctorate in educational administration from Indiana University.