Congratulations to our 2021 Catalyst Awards Winners!



Now in our 16th edition, the Blackboard Catalyst Awards honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice.

This year, we received a record number of submissions from across the globe. We want to thank all the nominees for their great work and dedication to redefine what is possible in education when leveraging technology.

We are very proud to announce 58 winners from 12 countries.

 “It’s an honor to recognize this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to advancing learning and delivering outstanding online education experiences. Their passion for sharing best practices around leveraging technology in innovative ways is helping to drive student success around the globe. In a year like no other, winners demonstrated an unparalleled level of ingenuity and resolve.” 

Lee Blakemore, Chief Client Officer and President, Global Markets at Blackboard

For more information on the Catalyst Awards, and to view the full list of nominees and winner stories, please visit

The winners of the 2021 Catalyst Awards are:

Leading Change:

  • Nebrija University – Spain: Global Campus Nebrija
  • ADA University – Azerbaijan: ADA University
  • University of Illinois at Chicago – United States: Dr. Elizabeth Romero, Dr. Szymon Machajewski, Landen Dixon, Cheryl McKearin, Thomas Okon
  • Istanbul Okan University – Turkey: Emel Koc, Learning Application and Research Center Director
  • Imam Abdulrahman Bin Faisal University – Saudi Arabia: Dr. Muneerah B. Almahasheer (Dean) and The Deanship of eLearning
  • Universidad Católica de Ávila – Spain
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas – Peru: Educational Innovation Team: Jorge Bossio, Silvana Balarezo, Juan Nazario, Manuel Bazalar, Diego Nue, Isabel Arana, Edson Cocha, Bruno Chacón, Jorge Ramírez, Cleofe Vergara
  • Keiser University – United States: Sherry Olsen, Instructional Design Team, Dean Team, and Online Faculty for the Online Division at Keiser University
  • United Arab Emirates University – United Arab Emirates: Prof. Hassan Selim, Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL)
  • University of Tabuk – Saudi Arabia: Dr. Ali Nazil Alshammari (Dean) and the Deanship of e-Learning and Distance Education Team
  • Wellesley College – United States: Business Intelligence and Integrations Team: Lisa Newman, Rachael Coombes, Tony DiPesa, Mary Sprague
  • TRADOC Proponent Office ATIS / Learning Management Team – United States: Learning Management Team, Valerie Wilkinson, Cheryl Cassell, Alexis Reed

Community Engagement:

  • Columbia Southern University – United States: Chantell Cooley and Elizabeth MacWhinnie IDT, CE, and Marketing Departments
  • University of York – United Kingdom: Amy Eyre
  • The School District of Osceola County, FL – United States: Community Relations Team
  • Grupo Ser Educacional – Brazil: Jânyo Diniz, Joaldo Diniz, Enzo Moreira, Sérgio Murilo, Pollyana Dias, Dayanna Ximenes, Luis Andre de Sena e Equipe Digital do Grupo Ser Educacional.
  • Kansas Blackboard Users Group (KBUG) – United States: Casey Eubank, WSU Tech; Dawn Fry; Paula Phelps, Southwestern College; April Robbs, Ottawa University
  • Rush-Henrietta Central School District – United States: The Rush-Henrietta Equity Journey Team: Heather Campo, Travis Anderson, Diane Wynne, Dominic Piacentini, Nerlande Anselme, Qianna Reaves-Campbell, Janette Biehler

Teaching & Learning:

  • Mayo Clinic – United States: ADAPT team – Chase Sims, Theresa Freese, Kristopher Kolish
  • Abu Dhabi Vocational Education and Training Institute – part of Institute of Applied Technology (IAT) – United Arab Emirates: Phil Burgess, Educational Technology Specialist
  • VIU – Universidad Internacional de Valencia – Spain: Customer Intelligence team, Daniel Soriano; Israel Bru;
    Rosa del Hoyo; Marcos Cellilli; Mario Maestro: Ignacio Palomo; Jaime Yagüe
  • University of Louisville – United States: Jamie R. Abrams, JD, LLM; Marija Sasek, DMD; Valerie Harris Weber, DMD
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas – Peru: Jorge Bossio Montes De Oca, Jessica Vlasica Malpartida, Anabelén López Orchard. Estefanía Agurto Espinoza, Alejandra Begazo Villanueva, César Ernesto Maeda Ruiz, Hugo Román Pilco, Lissett Campos Chonta
  • The Johns Hopkins University – United States: Ann Garrison Darrin, Hong Shaddy
  • Universidad de Sevilla – Spain: Juan Ramón Lacalle Remigio
  • Indian River State College – United States: Katie Profeta, Brenda Rante, Sara Peterson, and Virginia Keating, IRSC National Preparedness Institute & IRSC Global
  • Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School – United States: Faculty and Students of Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School
  • Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas – Peru: Equipo Aprendizaje a Distancia DADO – UPC (Distance Learning DADO – UPC): Jorge Bossio Montes de Oca, Silvana Balarezo Perea, Jessica Vlasica Malpartida, Gabriela Gonzales Gaspar, Isabel Arana Glave, Juan Francisco Nazario Vargas

Inclusive Education:

  • The University of Lincoln – United Kingdom: Digital Education Team
  • Indian River State College – United States: Lucimara Mello, Katie Profeta, Sherise Hobson, IRSC Global and Student Accessibility Services
  • California State University, Fresno – United States: Kathryn J. Biacindo
  • Grand Valley State University – United States: Julia K. VanderMolen, Ph.D., CHES Hybrid Program Coordinator, Associate Professor Department of Public Health
  • University of York – United Kingdom: E-Accessibility Working Group
  • Angelo State University – United States: Dr. Dara Anderson, LMS Administrator; Dr. Lesley Casarez, Program Coordinator and Associate Professor; Mrs. Rebecca Schkade, Learning Technology Support Manager; Dr. Dallas Swafford, Director of Student Disability Services

Optimizing Student Experience:

  • Notre Dame University-Louaize – Lebanon: Dany Azzi, Office of Information Technology and University eLearning Center
  • Eastern Kentucky University – United States: Department of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy and the Office of e-Campus Learning, Dr. Shirley O’Brien, Dr. Steven Shisley, Mrs. Haile Sissle, Mrs. Elizabeth Sartor
  • Cowley College – United States: Distance Learning Team (Eddie Andreo, Associate VP for Distance Learning and Site Management, and Shelby Huddleston, Director of Instructional Technology)
  • University of Derby – United Kingdom: Student Virtual Induction Project team
  • Universidad Privada del Norte – Peru: “Carlos Raúl Olivera Fatacioli, Adriana Ynga Peña, Antonio Rodríguez-Campra García, Jhon Franko Jorge
  • Indian River State College – United States: IRSC Global, Dr. Leigh Clay and Veronica Martabano
    IRSC Health and Wellness Center, Dr. Patti Corey-Souza and Jennifer Owens
  • George Brown College – Canada: Michelle Hahn – Events and Industry Officer, Miguel Roman and Jimi Rockley – ITS Infrastructure and Operations CCET Industry Liaison Office Team

Training & Professional Development:

  • University of Derby – United Kingdom: The University of Derby – ‘Best of Blends’ Staff Development Programme
  • John Jay College of Criminal Justice (CUNY) – United States: Department of Online Education and Support: Judith Cahn, Holly Davenport, Helen Keier, Patrizia Magni; Teaching and Learning Center: Gina Rae Foster
  • Universidad Tecnológica Centroamericana (UNITEC) – Honduras: Dirección de Innovación Educativa y Desarrollo Docente
  • Universidad Privada del Norte – Peru: Carlos Villanueva, Jhon Franko Jorge, Antonio Rodríguez-Campra
  • Batterjee Medical College – Saudi Arabia: E-Learning Unit Head: Dr. Maher Alandiyjany; E-Learning specialist: Mr. Wael Rabie; E-Learning Specialist: Miss. Ghadeer Alshamrani; College CIO: Adnan Mustafa Albar
  • Parker University – United States: CTL/Online Education Team: Lisa Gabriel, Dana Lawrence, Ashley Long, Renee Carillo, Kevin McGuirk, Jason Pollack, Mary Lee Carter, Jessica Prado
  • University of San Diego – United States: Learning Design Center: Ashley Kovacs, Heather Leslie, Alejandra Lizardo, Erika Adams, Boe Esan
  • University of Houston – United States: CLASS Office of Educational Technology: Dr. Linda Davis, Thanh Tran, Fang Fang, and Jingyuan Fu
  • Davidson Academy Online – United States: DAO Leadership Team: Stacy Hawthorne, Jessica Potts, Ashley Zahn, Erica Shumaker, Ben Brown, Christi Hines-Coates, Krysta Pascual, Erin McKenna
  • Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi – United Arab Emirates: Hamdan Alkalbani, Khader Alabsi – IT  Department
  • Umm Alqura University (UQU) – Saudi Arabia: Deanship of e-learning and Distance Education
  • Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges System – United States: Dr. Juli Gatling Book, Kim Calebs, Dr. Leah Parsons Simpson, KCTCS Online

Student Success:

  • The IDEALS Institute – Johns Hopkins University School of Education – United States: Workforce Development Team: Christine Alexander, Amy Haflett, Matt Schneider, Shannon Williams, Kimberly Anderson, Hanju Lee
  • Eastern Kentucky University – United States: Office of e-Campus Learning – Jordyn Daws, Dr. Treva Macy, Dr. Barbara Shoemaker, and John Hepner
  • University of St. Thomas – United States: Freshman Symposium Planning Committee, Jo Meier Marquis, Catherine Barber, Ulyses Balderas, Nicole Walters, Shundeez Faridifar
  • Nipissing University – Canada: The Teaching Hub (Learning Systems Technologists and Online Learning Partners). LSTs: Chris Bird, Rob Boulet, Kyle Charron, Mark Giddens, Mary Toye OLPs: Brianna Dos Santos, Tate Drynan, Kathryn Schefter, Miranda Wilby