Congratulations to the 2020 Catalyst Award Winners


For the past 15 years, Blackboard has been honoring innovation and excellence in the education community through the Catalyst Awards Program.  

This year we’re proud to recognize 43 winners in 7 categories. These winners are shaping the future of teaching and learning through innovation. By leveraging technology in new and powerful ways, these leaders are advancing learning on their own campuses.  

We also want to recognize all the nominees for their important accomplishments that continue to raise the bar for innovation in education.  

Winners of the 2020 Catalyst Awards: 

Leading Change: This award honors those institutions who are on the forefront of educational innovation and have developed and implemented high impact educational strategies that scale. The winners are: 

Name/Team Institution Name Location
IT and Digital Transformation Teams Fundación Universitaria San Pablo CEU Spain 
Students, Faculty, Staff, and Board of Trustees Montgomery County Community College Pennsylvania, US 
Blackboard Ultra Project Team Northumbria University United Kingdom 
Dr. Sahar Almasoud and the Online Learning Administration Team Princess Nourah bint Abdulrahman University Saudi Arabia 
SHSU Online Sam Houston State University Texas, US 
Andrew Maxey, Lesley Bruinton, Mike Daria, Junelle Christian Tuscaloosa City Schools Alabama, US 
Professor Riyadh Yousif Hamza, Faculty, Staff, Students and Board of Trustees University of Bahrain Kingdom of Bahrain 

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: 

Name/Team Institution Name Location
Leslee Hackett Alief ISD Texas, US 
Claire Gardener Kristen McCartney-Bulmer University of Derby Northumbria University United Kingdom 

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: 

Name/Team Institution Name Location
Kathryn Biacindo California State University, Fresno California, US 
Rasha Al-Malik and Abeer Al-Hattami Dar Al-Hekma University  Saudi Arabia 
English Department – Tina Crowder, Carly Ghantous, Jessica Potts, Tracy Sangster, and Erica Shumaker Davidson Academy Online Nevada, US 
Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner Program – Rachael Hovermale, Aileen Jones, Maurine Hume, Wanda France, Kara Renfro Taylor, Chris Daniels, Lindsey Turner, Christi Isaacs, and Angie Wheeler Eastern Kentucky University Kentucky, US 
Department of Mathematics and Statistics and Instructional Design Center – Patrick Coen, James Grogan, and Mary Henson Eastern Kentucky University   Kentucky, US 
Dr. David L. Porter and Ms. Margo Williams – Whiting School of Engineering Johns Hopkins University Maryland, US 
MEF University Leadership Team, Faculty, Administration, Library and Students MEF University Turkey 

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: 

Name/Team Institution Name Location
eLearning Instructional Design and Blackboard Support Texas Tech University Texas, US 
Walker Center for Teaching and Learning The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga Tennessee, US 
Centro de Educación Abierta y a Distancia Universidad Autónoma de Baja California Mexico 
GPS Faculty Development Team – Lisa Panagopoulos, Carrie Powanda-Croft, Lois Reynolds, Alena Woods University of Massachusetts Lowell Massachusetts, US 

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

Name/Team Institution Name Location
Center for Teaching and Learning  College of Western Idaho Idaho, US 
Distance Learning Team Schoolcraft College Michigan, US 
Learn Foundations Project Team in ISG University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 

Training & Professional Development: This award recognizes those who display an organization-wide dedication to innovative training and development programs. The winners are: 

Name/Team Institution Name Location
Online Division Keiser University Florida, US 
Center for Teaching and Learning  College of Western Idaho Idaho, US 
Distance Learning Team Schoolcraft College Michigan, US 
Learn Foundations Project Team in ISG University of Edinburgh United Kingdom 
Samira Rasulova, Director of Faculty Affairs and Academic Administration  ADA University Azerbaijan  
ASEC Learn Team – 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 Auditoría Superior del Estado de Coahuila Mexico 
Learning Management Support Group & Network Security Team Baltimore City Public Schools Maryland, US 
Chris Rains Belmont University Tennessee, US 
Kriss Ferluga, Ph.D. Davenport University Michigan, US 
Dr. Nedim Slijepcevic and e-Campus Instructional Design Center Eastern Kentucky University Kentucky, US 
Division of Education Technologies – Dr. Abdullatif Alshamsi, Dr. Jihad Mohaidat, Azim Ahmed and Sarah Whittaker Higher Colleges of Technology United Arab Emirates 
Tammy J. Dreyer-Capo’ National Defense University Washington, US 
Benjamin Coomber, Cesare Rizzo, Larry McGuirk, and Lee Hall Northumbria University United Kingdom 
Center for Educational Innovation The State University of New York at Buffalo New York, US 
Digital Learning Team – Jorge Bossio, Silvana Balarezo, Isabel Arana, and Cleofe Vergara Universidad Peruana de Ciencias Aplicadas Peru 
Digital Learning Team, iSolutions – Bobbi Moore, Anna Ruff, Matthew Deeprose, Sarah Fielding, and Tamsyn Smith University of Southampton United Kingdom 

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