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May 16, 2012 / dlitgroup

GRCC Professor Cheryl Kautz Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award


GRCC Press Release

Congratulations to Professor Cheryl Kautz for her recognition as an award winner of the Blackboard Exemplary Course Award!

Here is an excerpt from the press release:

GRCC Professor Cheryl Kautz Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award
Honor Recognizes Outstanding Development of Community Best Practices Through Innovative Course Design

May 16 – Grand Rapids, Mich. –  Grand Rapids Community College Computer Applications Adjunct Professor Cheryl Kautz was named a winner of a Blackboard Catalyst Award for Exemplary Course Program, which honors members of the community who design and develop exciting and innovative courses that represent the very best in technology and learning.

Part of the annual Blackboard Catalyst Awards program since 2000, the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program Award highlights technologically rich, engaging, well designed, and pedagogically sound courses that showcase best practices for the user community. Over 151 entries were evaluated in a rigorous peer-review process by more than 250 faculty and instructional designers. Submissions were judged on the following components: course design, interaction, collaboration, assessment and learner support.

 “I truly understand why Cheryl received this award. She is a talented and dedicated member of our adjunct faculty group,” said GRCC Provost Dr. Gilda Gely in her praise for Kautz.  “Our distance education faculty is outstanding and is supported by a superb staff of amazing professionals and this award represents an outside recognition to the work that is being done.”

The Blackboard Catalyst Awards program annually recognizes and honors innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where teachers and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

 “Taking a course that I teach in the classroom and converting it for online instruction was both fun and challenging, and the Blackboard Exemplary Course Program (ECP) helped ensure the course structure and design met the highest standards for usability, accessibility, and student engagement with equal amounts of work and no compromise in quality,” said Kautz.  “The uses of multiple technologies including Blackboard Collaborate and Instant Messaging for virtual office hours, along with mobile phone alerts to keep students up-to-date, all enhance the learning process.

According to Kautz, the Grand Rapids Community College Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies (DLIT) team and the professors in the Computer Applications Department provided the support, instruction, and resources for me to build an effective online course.  “Their expertise and dedication are invaluable,” She said.

Eric Kunnen, Director of Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department said this about  working with Kautz: “Cheryl is passionate about student success and in creating an engaging, interactive, and motivating learning experience for her students.  She demonstrates this excellence in the innovative design and delivery of the online courses she teaches at GRCC and this is an outstanding recognition for her commitment to providing a quality learning experience for her students.

The Distance Learning and Instructional Technologies Department is proud that she has received this Exemplary Course Award and her recognition is well deserved.  She will serve as a model and inspiration to other faculty as the college continues to expand and deliver high quality online learning experiences for students.”

“We applaud the Blackboard Catalyst Award winners and their accomplishments,” said Ray Henderson, Chief Technology Officer and President of Academic Platforms for Blackboard.  “Their work represents some of the most innovative thinking in education today, and offers great models for how technology can help shape an improved education experience. We congratulate the award winners for their leadership, creativity and passion that is clearly evident in their work.”

Kautz will be honored alongside 37 other Exemplary Course Program winners during BbWorld®, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held in July in New Orleans, La.

About Grand Rapids Community College

Grand Rapids Community College, established in 1914, offers opportunities for over 30,000 students annually in degree courses, certification and training programs, workshops and personal enrichment classes. GRCC holds classes on the downtown Grand Rapids campus as well as several additional locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.

About Blackboard

Blackboard is a global leader in enterprise technology and innovative solutions that improve the experience of millions of students and learners around the world every day. Blackboard’s solutions allow thousands of higher education, K-12, professional, corporate and government organizations to extend teaching and learning online.

For a complete list of Blackboard Catalyst Award winners please visit:


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