NJEDge Awards

The George Laskaris Leadership Award

NJEDge established the George Laskaris Award for Leadership this year in honor of our founding CEO and President, George Laskaris, who retired this past summer. The George Laskaris Leadership Award recognizes an early to mid-career professional who has provided a high level of vision, leadership, and service—both to his or her home institution and to NJEDge.Net – demonstrating the leadership qualities embodied in George Laskaris and a promise for even greater future contributions to our higher education community.

We are pleased to announce that the first recipient of this award is Blake Haggerty, Executive Director for Digital Learning and Technology Support at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Blake has been an active member of NJEDge for 15 years. He was the co-chair of our DLAAB (Distance Learning Academic Advisory Board) affinity group now known as the Academic Technology Group. It was Blake’s vision to see that a new group for user services staff members be established in 2014 to serve the community at large. This affinity group is over eighty members strong whose mission is to engage user services and help desk professionals, desktop support technicians, media assistant, IT specialists and consultants. Through Blake’s vision, these un-sung heroes now have a forum.

This year’s recipient is: Blake Haggerty

blake-hBlake Haggerty is the Executive Director for Digital Learning and Technology Support at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. He is responsible for strategic leadership, planning and direction of the university’s digital learning initiatives and management oversight of the IST Service Desk and a broad array of general IT services.

Digital learning is an integral part of every student’s academic experience, a critical aspect of the faculty and instructional role, and the context in which student and administrative support services are delivered. Blake has built a division-wide culture of IT service delivery and support rooted in an appreciation of teaching and learning.

The Charles McMickle Award for Excellence and Innovation

Four years ago, NJEDge established the Charles McMickle Award for Excellence and Innovation in memory of our Director of Technology who was the guiding force behind our network architecture. Charlie was a visionary who designed the NJEDge.Net Regional Optical Network. But Charlie was also instrumental in creating the first video classrooms in NJ’s colleges and universities. This year, we have chosen Beth Ritter-Guth, Director of Instructional Design and Director of American Honors at Union County College, to be the 2016 recipient.

Beth is a trailblazer who brought gamification to her classrooms and is now a recognized scholar in that field. Her use of innovative technology and virtual worlds in the teaching of literature has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, America Online, and Wired Magazine. She received the Nobel Educator of Distinction Award in 2012 and The Faculty of the Future Award from the National Association of Independent Schools in 2010.

This year’s recipients is: Beth Ritter-Guth

beth_ritter-guth_editedBeth Ritter-Guth is the Director of Instructional Design and Director of American Honors at Union County College. Prior to her administrative post, she was tenured in English. Her use of innovative technology and virtual worlds in the teaching of literature has been recognized by the Chronicle of Higher Education, USA Today, America Online, and Wired Magazine. She received the Nobel Educator of Distinction Award in 2012 and The Faculty of the Future Award from the National Association of Independent Schools in 2010. Beth’s most distinctive work was in using Second Life to create 64 literary sims including Dante’s Inferno, Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s Rime of the Ancient Mariner, and Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day. Current projects include augmented reality, artificial intelligence, simulations, gaming, gamification, coding, GPS-based technologies, and escape rooms.  Beth holds a BA in English, a BA in Communication, and a MA in English.

 

The George Laskaris Award for Leadership and the Charlie McMickle Award for Excellence and Innovation are the highest honors we bestow upon our membership.  Please join us at the NJEDge Annual Conference, Thursday, November 17th, at 2:00pm in the Alexander Ballroom to applaud Blake Haggerty and Beth Ritter-Guth.