Skip navigation
All People > tjatkin > CCO Blog > 2018 > June

Every year Blackboard recognizes innovative uses of Blackboard technology and services, and we are pleased this year to announce 32 Blackboard Catalyst Award winners.


This year we had 75 submissions across 7 categories. The submissions highlighted a variety of programs including providing woman access to education in remote areas of Saudi Arabia, and transforming online course design processes to providing surgery students just-in-time feedback after taking assessments on the mobile app.  This year’s winners are:


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:

  • Kettering University: 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)
  • California State University, East Bay: Office of the Online Campus
  • Prince Sattam University: Dr. Tahani Aldosemani & Dr. Abdullah Albahdal
  • Virginia Commonwealth University: Division of Strategic Enrollment Management
  • University of Northampton: Learning Technology Team

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:

  • Vestavia Hills City Schools, Alabama: Youth Leadership Vestavia Hills
  • Fremont School District 79: FSD79 Staff
  • University of Leeds: Learning Technologies Team

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
  • Montana Digital Academy: Mike Agostinelli, Robert Currie, and Jason Neiffer
  • 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
  • Saint Mary’s College: Dr. Joel Ralston
  • University of Derby: TEL Team
  • 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: Learning Services Staff
  • 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:

  • Edge Hill University: Learning Services Staff
  • Indian River State College, Florida: Katie Profeta and Michael Pelitera, IRSC Virtual Campus
  • Central Michigan University: Jeremy Bond, Kendra Brown, and Ming Dai
  • Grand Valley State University, Michigan: eLearning and Emerging Technologies Team Eric Kunnen
  • Kentucky Community and Technical College System: James Gibson
  • Calcasieu Parish Public Schools: Sheryl Abshire

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:

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


Please join me in congratulating this year’s winners. The winners will be honored and receive their awards at the Catalyst Awards luncheon on July 19th at BbWorld in Orlando.


And, it’s important to share these innovations as they strengthen our efforts as a community.  To that end, we will be sharing summaries of each winning Catalyst submissions through a variety of channels in the coming weeks. Stay tuned!


Catalyst Baner.png

This will be my 3rd BbWorld and I’m looking forward to reconnecting with many of you, and excited to have the chance to meet in person those who I haven’t yet met.


At BbWorld, I found tremendous value in the opportunity to share ideas, best practices, tips and tricks. I’ve also found it a great way to talk with others about challenges we are each facing – usually they are shared by others, and someone has often found a way to solve them, or minimize the impact. And, the networking is AWESOME! It’s so great to make strong connections, to establish friendships and to create a network of colleagues to call upon throughout the year.


  • We expect this will be the first BbWorld for about 35% of the attendees this year. If this is your first time attending BbWorld, we will have a NEW first-time attendee webinar before BbWorld and an orientation session onsite on the first day at BbWorld to help you navigate the conference (they’re not scheduled yet, more details to follow!). We want to make you feel welcome and help you get the most out of your time at BbWorld.
  • We have over 175 sessions planned as well as many specialized keynotes and events. I am eager to hear Sheila Johnson share why she’s an impassioned education advocate, and how she became a successful entrepreneur and philanthropist.
  • Check out the latest info here for the full program online.


I am looking forward to spending time with our Blackboard MVPs, presenting awards at the Catalyst Awards Lunch, attending sessions and walking the exhibit hall, and hosting our Leadership Summit.  If you see me in the exhibit hall or walking around, please be sure to stop me and introduce yourself.


If you’re a BbWorld veteran, please share any thoughts or ideas you have about how those attending for the first time can get the most out of BbWorld!


Orlando bound . . . 39 days and counting!


BbWorld Banner.png