Quality Matters Celebrates 2021 Making A Difference for Students Award Winners

Industry: Education

Recipients of the 2021 Directors’ Award for Exceptional Service Also Announced

Annapolis, MD (PRUnderground) October 6th, 2021

Quality Matters (QM) — the international leader for quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments — is pleased to announce the 2021 Making A Difference For Students Award winners.

Each year, the QM community celebrates individuals and institutions that exemplify QM’s focus on student success. Awardees demonstrate an unwavering commitment to ensuring high course quality and use varied but valuable approaches to improving learner outcomes, including the implementation of QM Standards, practices and processes.

Recipients of the 2021 QM Making a Difference for Students Awards are:

  • Outstanding Impact by an Individual in Higher Education: Dr. Richard Espinosa, Austin Community College Dr. Espinosa is recognized for his leadership to improve the quality of online courses through faculty development and course certification. Six of his courses have earned the QM Certification Mark, including HPRS 230, which saw a 14% increase in the student success rate (grade of A, B, C) after QM Certification.

“I am thrilled to be receiving the Making a Difference for Students Award and am humbled by this national recognition,” shared Dr. Espinosa. “This honor lets me and the college know that our courses promote engagement, retention, satisfaction, and achievement for all of our students. With the times we are in now, I am glad our courses are ready for our students so they can grow with the latest technology tools and interactive applications we have incorporated.”

  • Outstanding Impact by a Higher Education Organization: Cleveland Community College — Cleveland Community College is recognized for establishing Quality Matters as part of their course quality initiative for their online programs, which includes faculty training and a cross-department team approach with mentors and instructional designers. Their initiative saw student course completion with a C or above increase between 7% and 20%. 

  • Outstanding Impact by a K-12 Organization or Individual: Graduation Alliance — Graduation Alliance is recognized for its efforts to redesign its courses to align with learner needs, state standards and the Quality Matters research-supported Standards for online and blended learning. Following the implementation of its redesign initiative, the credit earned rate for its courses more than doubled.

“Graduation Alliance provides students with alternative pathways to graduation, and we currently serve more than 8,600 students. The 360 degrees of structured support each student receives is key to their success, but we also know quality courses lead to better outcomes which is why Quality Matters needed to be implemented,” explained Dr. Jeff Kissinger, Chief Academic Officer for Graduation Alliance. “For nearly fifteen years, Graduation Alliance has dedicated itself to helping individuals reach their educational and career goals. This award validates the quality and effectiveness of what we do, and how we do it. Our students deserve nothing less, and we can’t wait to keep doing it… a little better every day.”

This year marks the inaugural Outstanding Impact by a Non-U.S. Higher Education Organization Award. The recipient is King Khalid University (KKU) in Saudi Arabia. KKU is recognized for the significant strides it has made to ensure quality course design. The university currently has 25 QM-Certified courses — an additional 20 courses were previously certified — and nearly 900 faculty and staff members have participated in the Applying the Quality Matters Rubric workshop. These efforts led to an increase in the student success rate from 85% to 93%. 

Other leaders recognized this year for contributions in quality assurance include recipients of the Quality Matters Directors’ Award For Exceptional Service. The Award for Exceptional Service is presented to members of the QM community who have gone above and beyond in their service to the organization. These individuals have made extraordinary contributions to QM’s quality assurance efforts with online and/or blended education at institutions and for learners. 

Recipients of the 2020 Directors’ Award for Exceptional Service are:

  • Barbara Frey, Point Park University 

  • Stephen Kaufman, University of Akron 

All award recipients will be recognized at the upcoming QM ConnectLX Online Conference. An awards ceremony will be held on Thursday, November 4, at 10:00 a.m. ET. During the ceremony, acceptance videos from the winners will be shared with attendees. 

The awards ceremony is just one component of the five-day event. Pre-conference workshops will be held on October 28 and 29, followed by three days of interactive, engaging sessions and networking events November 3 to November 5.

About Quality Matters

Grounded in research. Driven by best practices. A community that puts learners first. Quality Matters (QM) is the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments. It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations. When you see QM Certification Marks on courses or programs, it means they have met QM Course Design Standards or QM Program Review Criteria in a rigorous review process.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Press Contact

Grace Hall
Contact Us