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Blackboard Announces Winners of 2020 Catalyst Awards

 Blackboard Inc., a leading education technology company for teaching, learning and student engagement, today announced the winners of the 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Awards. 

Now in their 15th year, 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. Honorees from across the globe will be recognized during BbWorld, Blackboard’s premier annual global conference, to be held virtually July 21 and 22.

“We’re thrilled to recognize this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to reimagining what’s possible when it comes to delivering outstanding online education experiences to all learners,” said Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard. “Their passion for sharing best practices around leveraging technology in innovative ways is helping to advance student learning across the globe.”

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:

  • CEU Educational Group, Spain: IT and Digital Transformation teams
  • Montgomery County Community CollegeBlue Bell and Pottstown, Pa., U.S.: Students, Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees
  • Princess Nourah Bint Abdulrahman University, Saudi Arabia: Dr. Sahar Almasoud and the Online Learning Administration Team
  • Sam Houston State UniversityTexas, U.S.: SHSU Online Team
  • Tuscaloosa City Schools, Tenn., U.S.: Andrew MaxeyLesley BruintonMike DariaJunelle Christian
  • Northumbria University, United Kingdom: Blackboard Ultra Project Team
  • University of Bahrain, Kingdom of Bahrain: Professor Riyadh Yousif Hamza, Faculty, Staff, Students and Board of Trustees

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:

  • Alief ISD, Texas, U.S.:  Leslee Hacket
  • Northumbria University, United KingdomKristen McCartney-Bulmer
  • University of Derby, United KingdomClaire Gardener

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:

  • Dar Al-Hekma University, Saudi ArabiaRasha Al-MalikAbeer Al-Hattami
  • Davidson Academy Online, Nev., U.S.: Tina CrowderCarly GhantousJessica PottsTracy SangsterErica Shumaker
  • Eastern Kentucky University, Ky., U.S.:  Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program, Rachael HovermaleAileen JonesMaurine HumeWanda FranceKara Renfro TaylorChris DanielsLindsey TurnerChristi Isaacs, and Angie Wheeler
  • Eastern Kentucky University, Ky., U.S.: Department of Mathematics and Statistics, Instructional Design Center, Patrick CoenJames GroganMary Henson
  • Ser Educacional Group, Brazil: Fábio Maia, Fabio SouzaEnzo Moreira and the Distance Learning Team
  • Johns Hopkins University, Md., U.S.: Whiting School of Engineering, Dr. David L. Porter and Ms. Margo Williams
  • MEF University, Turkey:  MEF University Leadership Team, Faculty, Administration, Library and Students
  • The University of Lincoln, United Kingdom: Digital Education and Student Life
  • Universidad Internacional de Valencia, SpainDaniel R. Soriano i Argente
  • Universidad de Palermo, Argentina: Education Lab Team

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:

  • Texas Tech UniversityTexas, U.S.: eLearning Instructional Design & Blackboard Support
  • The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Tenn., U.S.: Walker Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Universidad Autónoma de Baja California, Mexico: Centro de Educación Abierta y a Distancia
  • University of Massachusetts Lowell, Mass., U.S.: Lisa PanagopoulosCarrie Powanda-CroftLois ReynoldsAlena Woods

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

  • College of Western IdahoIdaho, U.S.: Center for Teaching and Learning
  • Schoolcraft College, Mich., U.S.: Distance Learning Team
  • University of Edinburgh, United Kingdom: Learn Foundations Project Team in ISG

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:

  • ADA University, AzerbaijanSamira Rasulova
  • Auditoría Superior del Estado de Coahuila, Mexico: C.P.C. José Armando Plata Sandoval, Ing. Néstor Espinoza Guajardo, Ing. María del Carmen Yadira Herrera Romo, Lic. Alma Paulina Amador Duéñez, Ing. Danna de Jesús Zavala García, TSU Miguel Arispe Núñez
  • Baltimore City Public Schools, Md., U.S.: Learning Management Support Group & Network Security Team
  • Belmont University, Tenn., U.S.: Chris Rains, Department of Instructional Technology
  • Davenport University, Mich., U.S.: Kriss Ferluga, Ph.D.
  • Eastern Kentucky University, Ky., U.S.: Instructional Design Center, Dr. Nedim Slijepcevic
  • Higher Colleges of Technology, United Arab Emirates: Dr. Abdullatif Alshamsi, Dr. Jihad Mohaidat, Azim AhmedSarah Whittake
  • Keiser University, Fla., U.S.: Keiser University’s Online Division
  • National Defense UniversityWashington, U.S.: Tammy J. Dreyer-Capo
  • Northumbria University, United KingdomBenjamin CoomberLarry McGuirkCesare RizzoLee Hall
  • University at Buffalo, The State University of New York, N.Y., U.S.: Center for Educational Innovation
  • University of Southampton, United KingdomBobbi MooreAnna RuffMatthew DeeproseSarah Fielding and Tamsyn Smith
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, PeruJorge BossioSilvana BalarezoIsabel AranaCleofe Vergara and the Bb Educators Teams

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:

  • Indian River State College, Fla., U.S.: Virtual Campus, Veronica Martabano and Dr. Leigh Clay & Advising Services, Dale Hayes and the Academic Advising team
  • King Abdulaziz University (KAU), Saudi Arabia: KAU Deanship of e-learning and Distance Education
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas, PeruHector Viale Tudela and Jessica Vlasica

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

About Blackboard
Blackboard’s mission is to advance learning in partnership with the world’s education community so that more students, educators and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow. Learn more at and follow @Blackboard on Twitter.

Contact: Hillary

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