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EDUCAUSE honors Virginia Tech for innovative achievements

August 17, 2005

Virginia Tech has received a 2005 EDUCAUSE award for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning.

EDUCAUSE is a nonprofit association whose mission is to advance higher education by promoting the intelligent use of information technology. The EDUCAUSE annual awards recognize exemplary achievement in six areas of higher education information technology, including Virginia Tech's category of learning technologies. One of the most important priorities of EDUCAUSE awards is to encourage and reward individual growth within the profession of higher education information-technology management. This program honors prominent leaders for significant achievement and broad influence.

"We are honored to receive this prestigious EDUCAUSE award," said Anne Moore, associate vice president for Learning Technologies. "In the award letter, the selection committee recognized Virginia Tech's grassroots approach to investing in the creativity of its faculty. This award is the result of the vision and hard work of many - faculty, staff, and students - who have created a climate at Virginia Tech that is ready for today's learning challenges. We are truly grateful and proud as we all share in this award."

For more than a decade, Virginia Tech has demonstrated a strong university-wide commitment to improving learning through technology. "At this institution serving nearly 28,000 FTE students, focused planning has resulted in a multi-disciplinary culture of technological innovation grounded in a suite of supporting programs that includes the Center for Innovation in Learning (CIL), Faculty Development Institute (FDI), Graduate Education Development Institute (GEDI), and the well-known and frequently emulated Math Emporium, which traces its roots to early FDI workshops," according to EDUCAUSE.

Today, 85 percent of Virginia Tech's academic departments participate in online distance education. More than 90 percent of the faculty have participated in Faculty Development Institute programs, leading to more than 100 course transformation projects during the past five years through grants totaling more than $3.1 million. The Math Emporium alone serves 6,000 students each semester.

According to EDUCAUSE, among the many outcomes of Virginia Tech's efforts, led by Moore, are: =>A climate of faculty champions engaging colleagues across departmental and disciplinary boundaries to share successful teaching and learning strategies; =>An increase in active learning and constructive collaboration among students and between students and faculty; =>Valuable assessment data and tools from the Math Emporium and other initiatives that have proven to be replicable models in other disciplines as well as at other institutions; and =>Expansion of innovative instructional efforts even through an era of near-continuous budget constraints due to coordinated management of resources.

The award selection committee said: "Overall, this exemplary set of activities at Virginia Tech has expanded the university's leadership role in the effective integration of instructional technology with pedagogy and enabled the university to serve as a model and a resource for other institutions across the state and the nation."

Virginia Tech's Strategic Plan for 2001-2006 made it "important to highlight strategic statements within this plan that speak forthrightly to our reasoned intentions and action-oriented goals to integrate technology in teaching and learning across the university and to do so in ways that enrich and transform these activities," said Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger. To reach the highest level of technological literacy for students and faculty, Steger said, "We will individualize and improve instruction and learning by breaking the paradigm of traditional classroom-based learning." Universities that do not work to incorporate innovative and diverse teaching methods now "will miss the curve and may never catch up," he said.

Winners of the 2005 awards will be honored before more than 6,000 of their higher-education colleagues at the association's annual October conference in Orlando. For more information on the EDUCAUSE awards program, click here. To identify sessions at the annual conference in which the award winners will highlight their achievements, click here.

Membership of EDUCAUSE comprises more than 1,900 colleges, universities, and educational organizations, including 200 corporations, with 15,000 active members. EDUCAUSE has offices in Boulder, Colo., and Washington, D.C.