The NMC has awarded the 2015 Center of Excellence awards to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) and the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP), two institutions that have demonstrated excellence and outstanding achievement in the application of technology to teaching, learning, or creative inquiry. This award is the highest honor bestowed by the NMC.

“The NMC Center of Excellence Awards celebrate the innovation and creativity that is part of the fabric of every member institution,” said NMC CEO Larry Johnson. “The NMC organizations recognized this year represent the best of our field, and each has had a tremendous history of accomplishment.”

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas
Situated in a desert valley at the southern tip of Nevada, UNLV has distinguished itself as an entrepreneurial university that embraces emerging trends in technology to solve research problems, assist faculty, and enhance students’ educational experience. The university’s College of Education prepares teachers to integrate technology in the classroom, and pedagogical professionals in online education use a team approach to support campus wide research and instruction. UNLV faculty are actively involved in the discovery, trial, and implementation of innovation in both virtual and physical learning spaces through data analytics, virtual labs 3.0, and wearable technologies. As part of the Nevada System of Higher Education, UNLV is able to discover and tap into educational technologies being used across the state.

“Normally my job is to keep everybody in their boxes at the university,” said Mark Fink, Associate Provost for Online Education. “I am thankful to NMC and to the other members that I can call up and ask how we can get out of these boxes, because all of us are about innovation, which means moving forward and getting our universities out of the box.”

The University of Texas at El Paso
Also a desert campus surrounded by mountains, UTEP is located just a few hundred yards from the U.S.-Mexico border, in the world’s largest metropolitan area on an international border. In 2013, UTEP created Academic Technologies (AT), an interdisciplinary organization that fosters student access and success through a synergistic approach for instructional and curriculum development. Through the design of new learning environments and the creative use of technology, AT staff help faculty and students work in cooperation to achieve academic and research excellence. UTEP has a long history of serving non-traditional and first-generation students through distance learning and creative uses of technology in order to aid those who may not be able to attend academic classes in a full time status.

“I want to thank NMC for this opportunity,” said Dr. William H. Robertson, an Associate Provost at UTEP.  “We are a dynamic group. We are all about exploring and engaging in the use of technology for teaching and learning. We cover a great distance, we do it in an interdisciplinary way, and we do it for our students.”

Symbolized by a specially struck medallion suspended in a translucent obelisk, the NMC Center of Excellence Award was designed to be distinct from other award or recognition programs. Universities and colleges do not compete for the award, nor is it granted within predefined categories. The selection process is based on the MacArthur Awards, and like that program, the nominators and others involved in the selection process remain anonymous. They are chosen from organizations both within and outside of the NMC, and represent a considerable diversity of knowledge.

Previous Center of Excellence Award Recipients

  • Abilene Christian University
  • Ball State University
  • California State University, Chico
  • California State University System
  • Carleton College
  • Case Western Reserve University
  • The Center for Digital Storytelling
  • Centro Superior para la Enseñaza Virtual
  • City College of New York
  • Full Sail University
  • Houston Community College System
  • Johns Hopkins University
  • Kent State University
  • Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Medical College of Ohio
  • Northeastern University
  • The Ohio State University
  • Otis College of Art and Design
  • Pasadena City College
  • Pennsylvania State University
  • Rochester Institute of Technology
  • San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
  • St. Edward’s University
  • Tulane University
  • Universitat Oberta de Catalunya
  • University of British Coumbia
  • University of Calgary
  • University of California, Berkeley
  • University of Maryland, Baltimore County
  • The University of Michigan, Ann Arbor
  • University of Nevada
  • The University of Texas at Austin
  • University of Wisconsin, Madison
  • Wesleyan University