Texas A&M University-Central Texas was honored to receive the 2013 “Making a Difference for Students” award from the Quality Matters (QM) Program at their annual conference in Nashville, Tennessee. The University was recognized for its achievement in implementing QM standards, while reinventing the campus as a new member of The Texas A&M University System, providing online courses for all students.

The award criteria included the sustainability of an initiative, evidence of impact, and the significance of impact for students. A&M-Central Texas was recognized for online courses, programs, and the flexible learning environments that are available—designed and delivered to meet the needs of an adult student population, not traditionally served by higher education institutions. The University described how the initiative is being maintained and enhanced for continued impact on student outcomes; provided substantive evidence on how the initiative has impacted student outcomes; and has documented and/or demonstrated the significance of the achievements for students. This was done through the implementation and completion of online training, online course design, research grants, surveys, and student feedback.

“This award is a proud moment for the online learning team at A&M-Central Texas, but more importantly is a testimony to the University’s dedication to providing flexible, rigorous, and high quality learning experiences,” said Yakut Gazi, former Director of Distributed Learning and Instructional Technology at A&M-Central Texas, now serving as Assistant Vice Chancellor for Engineering Remote Education at Texas A&M University.

“The complex planning and implementation efforts of the online teaching and learning activities at A&M-Central Texas began in the Fall of 2010 when the University made a commitment to Quality Matters Programming, course design, and faculty development.” Dr. Tracy Teaff, the University’s Chief Liaison Officer continued by saying, “At a time when such a commitment was rare in higher education, Dr. Gazi and her staff were determined to develop online and web-supported programming, using best practices. This award signals not only the fruits of labor, but of building a program in the right way.”


Accepting the award on behalf of A&M-Central Texas was (from left to right) Brenda Boyd, Director of Professional Development and Consulting for Quality Matters; Andria Schwegler, Assistant Professor and Online Coordinator for the College of Education; Barb Altman, Assistant Professor and Online Coordinator for the College of Business; Lisa Bunkowski, Assistant Professor and Online Coordinator for the College of Art and Sciences; Martin Moreno, Instructional Designer; and (not pictured) Yakut Gazi, former Director of Distributed Learning and Instructional Technology.

The Quality Matters (QM) Program is an international private, non-profit, membership-supported organization that upholds a national benchmark for online course design, with a mission to promote and improve the quality of online education and student learning. This award recognizes the institutions or groups that exemplify QM’s focus on student learning through the implementation of QM standards, practices, and processes that have demonstrated impact on student success. The QM Program works to support quality assurance efforts to over 650 academic institutions and K-12 schools in their online courses and content.

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