Main Content Start

IRSC Awarded Three Prestigious Blackboard Catalyst Awards

IRSC Awarded Three Prestigious Blackboard Catalyst Awards

June 30, 2021 Robert Lane

Three teams from Indian River State College (IRSC) are recipients of 2021 Blackboard Catalyst Awards that recognize their work to deliver innovative programs through technology to IRSC students. The annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice—where educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology.

IRSC earns three Blackboard Catalyst awards

“We are 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 are proud to partner with institutions who are innovating to advance student success.”

IRSC teams were recognized with Catalyst Awards in the following three categories:

Teaching and Learning:
IRSC National Preparedness Institute staff members Dr. Brenda Rante, NPI Director; Sara Peterson, NPI Program Specialist; and Virginia Keating, adjunct instructor, collaborated with IRSC Global Instructional Designer Katie Profeta to develop, design, and launch a blended version of the American Heart Association’s Basic Life Support (BLS) Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) Course to allow the NPI to continue to offer this essential training during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since June 2020, more than 600 individuals—including current and future IRSC students and public citizens—have completed the training, resulting in new or renewed CPR certifications.

Inclusive Education:
IRSC Global instructional designers Lucimara Mello and Katie Profeta partnered with IRSC Counselor/Assistant Professor Sherise Hobson to improve the accessibility of online courses. To facilitate this goal, the team formed an Accessibility Workgroup to provide recommendations for an accessible and ADA-compliant learning environment, resulting in a series of accessibility training webinars, a compilation of templates and resources available to faculty, and the installation of an alternative format software to assist instructors and all online learners. The team introduced these resources to the College as part of IRSC's inaugural participation in Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD) in 2020.

Optimizing Student Experience:
Dr. Patti Corey-Souza and Jennifer Owens of the IRSC Health and Wellness Center (HWC) partnered with IRSC Global student learning coordinators Dr. Leigh Clay and Veronica Martabano to ensure Health and Wellness resources were available during the COVID-19 pandemic. IRSC Global collaborated with the HWC team to create a Blackboard Organization to provide students with anytime access to vital resources on mindfulness, sexual violence, substance abuse, suicide awareness, the Pioneer Pantry, and more. To date, more than 3,100 students have accessed these items or activities, and HWC has plans to continue its use and further raise awareness of this valuable resource.

“Remote learning quickly became the ‘norm’ for everyone in 2020—demanding new, innovative approaches to meet the needs of our students,” states Kendall St. Hilaire, Campus President for IRSC Global. She adds, “The exemplary effort and commitment to student success demonstrated by each of these teams are worthy of the regard and recognition demonstrated by these three Blackboard Catalyst Awards.”

The IRSC team will also be announced alongside other Blackboard Catalyst Award winners during BbWorld 2021, Blackboard’s annual user conference to be held virtually over two weeks, July 13-15 and July 20-22.

For more information on the Blackboard Catalyst Awards, please visit

For more information on BLS-CPR training offered through the IRSC National Preparedness Institute, visit or contact Sara Peterson, NPI Program Specialist, at

New version available REFRESH  DISMISS