John Jay College Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award

John Jay College Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award

John Jay College Wins Blackboard Catalyst Award

(New York, NY)—Last spring, hundreds of professors had just a few days to go from in-person teaching to a fully-virtual classroom and now the people who made the transition possible are being honored for their efforts. Members of the Department of Online Education and Support (DOES) and the Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice have been named winners of the Blackboard Catalyst Award for Training and Professional Development, which honors those who use Blackboard programs to support and enhance their faculty and staff’s training and professional development.

The award is the result of the urgent, extensive work undertaken to transition John Jay College to an exclusively online platform as the Covid-19 pandemic took hold in New York City. The College relied on in-house expertise and a dedicated team of administrators and professors to navigate the changes, rapidly train professors in new software, and offer intensive workshops on teaching in a virtual environment. [Blackboard explains John Jay’s award-winning efforts]

“Covid-19 brought so many new challenges to our community, we are fortunate that our team includes these award-winning educational leaders who stepped up to help our dedicated faculty successfully adapt their teaching to the online environment.” says John Jay President Karol V. Mason. “Their hard work empowered hundreds of faculty to confidently and effectively educate our students in a distance-learning environment.”

“Teaching online presented an entirely new approach to pedagogy for many of our professors; one they had to embrace with no forewarning,” says John Jay College Provost Yi Li. “In a year like no other, the constant was the dedication our professors and educators showed to the well-being of our students. This award reflects well the excellent work of our DOES/TLC to support that dedication.”

The John Jay College administrators honored for their work are:

  • Judith Cahn, Ed.D., Director, DOES
  • HollyDavenport, Director of Instructional Design, DOES
  • Helen Keier, Associate Director for Learning Management Systems, DOES
  • Patrizia Magni, Senior Instructional Designer, DOES 
  • Gina Rae Foster, Ph.D., Director, TLC


“Blackboard Learning Management System is a huge, global company. When you see the list of winners—with only a few from the United States—it hits you how impressive this recognition is,” says Cahn, Director of DOES. “This global corporation saw our workshop and applauded our innovation in teaching. They praised us for adding excellence in education. For us as educators, that’s huge.” [Holly Davenport and Judith Cahn explain the differences in online teaching]

“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, Global Markets at Blackboard. “We’re proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.”

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.

John Jay’s award was announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2021, Blackboard’s annual user conference. 

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, please visit:

About John Jay College of Criminal Justice: 
An international leader in educating for justice, John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York is a Hispanic Serving Institution and Minority Serving Institution offering a rich liberal arts and professional studies curriculum to 15,000 undergraduate and graduate students from more than 135 nations. John Jay is home to faculty and research centers at the forefront of advancing criminal and social justice reform. In teaching, scholarship and research, the College engages the theme of justice and explores fundamental human desires for fairness, equality and the rule of law. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @JohnJayCollege.

About Blackboard
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