2021 Blackboard Catalyst Award

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Elizabeth Romero, Szymon Machajewski, Landen Dixon, Cheryl McKearin and Thomas Okon have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Leading Change, which honors campuses that have developed and implemented high impact educational strategies that scale. Awardees will have developed practices and/or technologies that have had a measurable effect on learning outcomes, student performance or academic progression. The Blackboard Catalyst Award for Leading Change recognizes institutions that actively promote the widespread adoption of innovative strategies with the potential to increase rates of student success nationwide. 

The UIC team, led by Romero, launched a new operating model to support client-centric teaching with technology services, developed efficient processes and built high-performing teams to execute them. Specifically, the team modernized the learning technology ecosystem at UIC’s central IT unit, largely improved the resolution speed of requests and incidents, and reduced the number of incidents and requests while decreasing departmental expenditure and improving client satisfaction. This model is based on work done by a group of highly trained teaching assistants led and mentored by Landen Dixon, academic technologist within CATE Support Team, who was a recipient of the 2019 UIC IT Community Rising Star Award, a prestigious campus-wide honor that recognizes and celebrates members of the UIC IT Community who consistently demonstrate high potential in the daily execution of their role and approach to common issues within IT.

“I am so grateful to have an amazing team at CATE who worked tirelessly to improve services and support for our campus community,” Romero said.

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 and represent the very best in their field. 

“We’re pleased to honor this year’s Blackboard Catalyst Award winners for their commitment to improving the educational experience for all learners through EdTech and sharing these insights with the broader community,” said Lee Blakemore, chief client officer and president of global markets at Blackboard. “We’re proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.” 

UIC CATE’s team will be announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2021, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held virtually over a two-week period, July 13-15 and 20-22. Join the BbWorld conference for free online

More information is available on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards website


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