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Blackboard Announces Winners of 2018 Catalyst Awards

WASHINGTON, June 18, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, today announced the winners of the 2018 Blackboard Catalyst Awards.

Blackboard Logo (PRNewsFoto/Blackboard Inc.)

Founded in 2005, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts. The honorees from around the world will be recognized during BbWorld 2018, Blackboard's annual user conference to be held July 17-19 in Orlando.

"I'm proud to recognize this year's Catalyst Award winners for their dedication to using technology to enhance the learning experience and sharing their best practices with the larger community," said Bill Ballhaus, Chairman, CEO and President of Blackboard. "We look forward to continuing to partner with the winners and their institutions to support learner success."

Below are the winners, listed by category:

Leading Change: This award recognizes institutions that have developed practices and/or technologies that have had a measurable effect on learning outcomes, student performance, or academic progression. The winners are:

  • California State University, East Bay: Office of the Online Campus
  • Kettering University, Michigan: Kettering Global - Kettering University Online
  • Metropolitan State University of Denver: MSU Denver Instructional Design Team (Jeff Loats, Alex McDaniel, Taylor Kendal, Dennis Smith, Sarah Debbek, Adrienne Christy, and Todd Wolfe)
  • Prince Sattam bin Abdul Aziz University, Saudi Arabia: Dr. Tahani Aldosemani and Dr. Abdullah Albahdl
  • University of Northampton, UK: Rob Howe, Julie Usher and the Learning Technology team
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: Division of Strategic Enrollment Management

Community Engagement: This award recognizes clients who are improving student achievement by fostering a connection between school districts, institutions, educators, students, and their communities. The winners are:

  • Fremont School District 79, Illinois: FSD79 Staff
  • University of Leeds, UK: Barbara Becker, Steve Carr, Paul Cave, Stuart Robinson, Michael Thomas, Adam Watson and the Learning Technologies team
  • Vestavia Hills City Schools, Alabama: Youth Leadership Vestavia Hills program

Teaching & Learning: This award recognizes those who have adopted flexible, distance and online delivery, including using mobile technologies to positively impact the educational experience. The winners are:

  • Capella University: FlexPath 2.0 Project Team
  • Davidson Academy, Nevada: Stacy Hawthorne and Jessica Potts, PhD
  • George Mason University, Virginia: David Miller and Larisa Olesova
  • Mayo Clinic: Andre Lapeyre, III, MD, Jerry Donney, Stacy Craft, Jennifer Mears, Kelley Sandvik, Kurt Simon, Tammy Simpkins, and Victoria Staifer, Dr. David Farley and the Farley Innovative Research Surgical Team
  • Montana Digital Academy: Mike Agostinelli, Robert Currie, and Jason Neiffer, Ed.D.
  • Saint Mary's College, Indiana: Dr. Joel Ralston
  • University of Derby, UK: Christopher Bell, John Hill and Claire Gardener
  • University of Mississippi: Marc Watkins
  • Wilmington University, Delaware: The College of Arts and Sciences and The College of Online and Experiential Learning

Inclusive Education: This award honors those institutions whose methods have ensured their pedagogy, content, technology, and educational services are fully inclusive and supportive of all learners with disabilities. The winners are:

  • Edge Hill University, UK: Martin Baxter, John Haycock, Andrew Billington, and John Bostock
  • University of Cincinnati: Megan Wuebker, Dave Rathbun, Heidi Pettyjohn, and Paul Foster

Optimizing Student Experience: This award honors those institutions whose educational and administrative innovations have markedly improved the total learner experience. The winners are:

  • Concordia University, Wisconsin: Christopher Brandt, Andy Miller, and Elizabeth Polzin
  • Lamar University, Texas: Office of Marketing Communications - Kate Downing, Daniel McLemore, Charla Pate and Bri Gore
  • Technical College System of Georgia

Training & Professional Development: This award recognizes those who use Blackboard programs to support and enhance professional development within or outside of their organization. The winners are:

  • Calcasieu Parish Public Schools, Louisiana: Dr. Sheryl Abshire
  • Central Michigan University: Jeremy Bond, Kendra Brown, and Ming Dai
  • Edge Hill University, UK: Heather Johnson, Rachel Bury, Mark Wilcock and Learning Services staff
  • Grand Valley State University, Michigan: eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team
  • Indian River State College, Florida: Katherine Profeta and Michael Pelitera, IRSC Virtual Campus
  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System: James Gibson

Student Success: This award recognizes individuals and/or institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and/or improved outcomes. The winners are:

  • Bryant University, Rhode Island: Dr. Laurie L. Hazard, Laura Kohl, Stephanie K. Carter, and Stephen Payne
  • Continental University, Peru: Miguel Córdova and the Digital Technologies Team
  • Obridge Academy, New York: Dr. Jennifer Albert, Kristin Bestler, Harry Yang, and Laura Levarity

Exemplary Course: This award recognizes faculty and course designers who develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

  • Beaufort County Community College, North Carolina: Robin Lilley, M.Ed.
  • Boise State University, Idaho: Dr. Elisa Barney Smith
  • Boston University, Massachusetts: Amber Navarre, Liling Huang, Jonathan Araullo
  • Bowie State University, Maryland: Erica Hernandez
  • Charles Darwin University, Australia: Ann Bolton, Meagan Gaskett, Zachary Watt, Nijel Ratonel, Kobi Schutz
  • City University of Seattle, Washington: Dr. Jan Lüdert
  • Columbia Southern University, Alabama: Julia Hart
  • Eastern Kentucky University: Alix Heintzman, Margaret Frozena
  • Hawai'i Pacific University: Dr. Han Nee Chong
  • Johns Hopkins University, Maryland: Kelly Tzoumis
  • Lord Fairfax Community College, Virginia: Jennifer Peachey Schaefer
  • Luzerne County Community College, Pennsylvania: Karen Droms
  • Stonehill College, Massachusetts: Dr. Elizabeth A. Chase
  • University of Arkansas at Little Rock: Dr. Amar Kanekar
  • University of North Carolina Wilmington: Ashlee S. Balena, PhD
  • University of St. ThomasHouston, Texas: Dr. Janet McCollum
  • University of Toledo, Ohio: Dr. Claire Stuve
  • Wake Technical Community College, North Carolina: Shelley Evans, Dr. Chris Roddenberry, Cynthia Bowers
  • Wayne State University, Michigan: Laurel Whalen
  • Wilmington University, Delaware: Stephen Scheib, M.Ed

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards and this year's winners, please visit

About Blackboard
Our mission is to partner with the global education community to enable learner and institutional success, leveraging innovative technologies and services. With an unmatched understanding of the world of the learner, the most comprehensive student-success solutions, and the greatest capacity for innovation, Blackboard is education's partner in change.

Shawnee Cohn, Blackboard


SOURCE Blackboard Inc.

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