Recognizing Leadership in Quality Assurance  

Presented jointly by MarylandOnline (MOL) and Quality Matters, the award recognizes leaders for their positive impact on and contributions to quality assurance for digital education with a particular focus on enhancing quality of online and/or hybrid teaching and student learning.

Award Description and Past Recipients
  • Ron Legon Leadership Award for Quality Digital Education

    This award seeks to recognize individuals — from the QM member community — whose leadership efforts have substantively improved digital education and, in particular, have changed the online education quality assurance paradigm for the betterment of students and educators.

    In honor of the extraordinary leadership and innovative ideas of Dr. Ron Legon, Executive Director Emeritus of Quality Matters, Inc., the Ron Legon Leadership Award for Quality Digital Education, jointly sponsored by Quality Matters and MarylandOnline (MOL), is to recognize leaders whose conceptual, policy, and/or operational contributions to quality assurance in digital education have advanced practice at the institution or system level with demonstrable success. The call for nomination is open to all for nominations that meet eligibility criteria. Awards will be decided by the QM and MOL Award Selection Committee. The award will be presented at the QM Connect Conference.

    The award and recognition include an invitation to be a featured presenter, financial support to attend the QM Connect Conference, and recognition in news releases and other QM communication channels.

    2019 Recipient: Dr. Roxann Humbert
    2018 Recipient: Dr. Michael J. Offerman, President Emeritus, Capella University
    2017 Recipient: Larry Ragan, Penn State
    2016 Recipient: (Inaugural Award) Dr. Ron Legon, Executive Director Emeritus of Quality Matters

Recognize a QA Leader

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Nominations are closed for 2022 — consider nominating for 2023!
  1. Review the Award Criteria.
  2. Type up your entries so they can be copied and pasted into the nomination form.
  3. Look for nominations to open in March, 2023.

Questions? Email us for assistance.

The winner will be announced this fall and recognized at the 2022 QM Connect Conference in Tucson, Arizona.

QM Awards: Making a Difference for Students

The QM Awards recognize individual and institutional efforts exemplifying QM’s focus on learners. Awardees demonstrate a commitment to ensuring high course quality and using different but valuable approaches to improving learner outcomes. Winners for the awards are announced each year at the QM Annual Conference on Quality Assurance in Online Learning.

Award/Recognition Categories and Past Recipients
  • 1 - Outstanding Impact by an Individual in Higher Education

    Presented to an individual implementing QM and making significant contributions to learners’ online experience through instructional design, faculty professional development or related initiatives.

    The demonstrated impact should be directly tied to impact on students’ outcomes or experience (e.g., improved student performance, increased student engagement, increased student persistence, increased student satisfaction, and/or improved student opinion) and documented with qualitative or quantitative data.

    2021 Recipient: Dr. Richard Espinosa, Austin Community College (See Richard's acceptance video)
    2020 Recipient: Bethanne Tobey, North Carolina State University at Raleigh (See Bethanne's acceptance video)
    2019 Recipient: Aamna Nayyar, Santa Fe Community College
    2018 Recipient: Karen White, Amarillo College (See Karen's acceptance video)
    2017 Recipient: Sherrell Wheeler, New Mexico State University Alamogordo
    2016 Recipient: Bethany Simunich, Kent State University
    2015 Recipient: Christen Shea, Polk State College
    2014 Recipient: Dr. Reba Anna Lee, Marist College
    2013 Recipients: Janine Hornung, Pierce College Military Program and Hilda Rizzo-Busack, Johns Hopkins University
    2012 Recipient: Deborah Allen, Anoka Technical College

  • 2 - Outstanding Impact by a U.S. Higher Education Organization

    Recognizes institutions or groups exemplifying QM’s focus on learners. The recipient has implemented QM Standards, practices and processes and demonstrated impacts on learner outcomes.

    The implementation should be either broadly transformative in impacting learners' experiences or significantly and directly meaningful for a specific subset of learners. Evidence of success – statistical and/or anecdotal – should clearly demonstrate positive outcomes.

    2021 Recipient: Cleveland Community College (See Cleveland CC's acceptance video)
    2020 Recipient: Mount Carmel College of Nursing (See MCCN's acceptance video)
    2019 Recipient: Cal State East Bay Online Campus (See Cal State East Bay's acceptance video)
    2018 Recipient: Southeast Missouri State University
    2017 Recipient: SPC St. Petersburg College, Florida (See SPC's acceptance video)
    2016 Recipient: California State University Office of the Chancellor
    2015 Recipient: The College of Westchester
    2014 Recipient: New Mexico State University at Alamogordo
    2013 Recipients: Kenai Peninsula College, University of the Rockies and Texas A&M University-Central Texas
    2012 Recipient: Indiana Wesleyan University and Tidewater Community College

  • 3 - Outstanding Impact by a Non-U.S. Higher Education Organization

    Recognizes Non-U.S. based institutions or groups exemplifying QM’s focus on learners. The recipient has implemented QM Standards, practices and processes and demonstrated impacts on learner outcomes.

    The implementation should be either broadly transformative in impacting learners' experiences or significantly and directly meaningful for a specific subset of learners. Evidence of success – statistical and/or anecdotal – should clearly demonstrate positive outcomes.

    A new award category beginning 2021

    2021 Recipient: King Khalid University (KKU), Saudi Arabia (See KKU's acceptance video)

  • 4 - Outstanding Impact by a K-12 Organization or Individual

    Recognizes a K-12 Organization or Individual that has implemented QM Standards and processes, demonstrated impacts on learner outcomes and/or made significant contributions to learners’ experiences through instructional design, faculty professional development or related initiatives. Implementation should be either broadly transformative or significantly and directly meaningful for learners.

    Evidence of success – qualitative or quantitative – should clearly demonstrate positive outcomes.

    2021 Recipient: Graduation Alliance (See Graduation Alliance's acceptance video)
    2020 Recipient: Virtual Arkansas (See Virtual Arkansas' acceptance video)
    2019 Recipient: LAUNCH, Springfield Public Schools
    2017 Recipient: Michigan Virtual
    2016 Recipient: 
    Florida Virtual School
    2015 Recipient: Dan Badea from the Ohio Department of Education and Sandy Paxton from the Ohio Department of Higher Education

  • 5 - Recognition: Outstanding Poster

    Every poster accepted for display at the conference is automatically nominated for the "Outstanding Poster at the Conference" award, which recognizes a poster that clearly illustrates QM’s implementation, individual or institutional impact.

    Three factors are taken into account with equal weight:

    1. Design of Poster: The originality and design of the poster will be evaluated. The poster design should effectively exploit the potential of the poster medium. How does the poster look and how is the information conveyed to the viewer
    2. Relevance to Online/Blended Learning: The impact on online/blended learning will be gauged. Does the poster provide information as to how it relates to quality assurance in online/blended learning?
    3. Presentation: The poster presenter is assessed for their ability to convey the topic of the poster and its results to the poster audience. The presenter’s quality of communication will also be an important consideration. Did the presentation have an effective impact on the audience?


    2019 Recipient: David Becker, Indiana University Office of Collaborative Academic Programs
    2018 Recipient: 
    Jessica Handley, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley
    2017 Recipients: Patrick Dempsey and Veena Radhakrishnan, Johns Hopkins Carey Business School
    2016 Recipients: Sherrell Wheeler and Kim Gallagher, New Mexico State University Alamogordo
    2015 Recipient: Tahnja Wilson, Arizona State University

  • 6 - Special Award Category: Directors' Award for Exceptional Service to Quality Matters

    The Directors' Award for Exceptional Service will be presented to members of the QM community who have gone above and beyond common service to the organization. These people have made extraordinary contributions to QM’s quality assurance efforts with online and/or blended education at institutions, and for learners. It is presented at the discretion of the Quality Matters Directors Group and may not necessarily be awarded every year.

    2021 Recipients: Barbara Frey, Point Park University and Stephen Kaufman, University of Akron
    2020 Recipients: Racheal Brooks, North Carolina Central University; Steven Crawford, Maricopa Community Colleges; Megan Ash, Educational Service Center of Central Ohio; CJ Bracken, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College; and Kathy Bright, Olympic College
    2019 Recipients: Bethany Simunich, Kent State University and Clay Ham, Virtual SC
    2018 Recipient: Eddie Andreo, Cowley College
    2017 Recipient: Penny Ralston-Berg, Penn State - World Campus
    2016 Recipients: JJ Johnson, Pierce College; Ray Lum, Drexel University; and Elizabeth McMahon, Minnesota Online Quality Initiative and Northland Community & Technical College
    2015 Recipient: Carol Parenteau, University of the Rockies

Recognize Impact on the Student Experience

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Nominations are closed for 2022 — consider nominating for 2023!
  1. Review the awards submission criteria.
  2. Download and complete the nomination form (Word doc).
  3. Look for nominations to open in March, 2023.

Winners will be announced this fall and recognized at the 2022 QM Connect Conference in Tucson, Arizona.

Questions? Email us for assistance.