Columbia Southern University Receives Community Engagement Award

Blackboard Inc. named Columbia Southern University as one of six international recipients of its Catalyst Award for community engagement.

Blackboard Inc., a leader in virtual learning environments and course management systems, recently named Columbia Southern University as one of six international recipients of its Catalyst Award for community engagement. This is the university’s fifth Blackboard award.

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

Chantell Cooley and Elizabeth MacWhinnie
Chantell Cooley, Columbia Southern University co-founder, left, and Elizabeth MacWhinnie, a CSU instructional designer, were honored with a Blackboard Catalyst Award for community engagement for a course series they helped create.

Launched in 2018, the series features online, life and career enrichment courses instructed by Chantell Cooley, CSU co-founder and board of trustee member.

“I knew from my years of mentoring experienced leaders and young people seeking their first leadership position that we were lacking practical, real-world leadership training in our community, and that if we could put together something that was easy to access for leaders at all levels, it was destined to be successful and helpful to so many,” said Cooley.

Instructional designer Elizabeth MacWhinnie spearheaded the series’ course design.

“I believe this course series has appealed to our community and has been so successful because it is that perfect combination of organized, researched content on leadership and practical advice, tips and stories from experienced leaders, primarily Chantell,” said MacWhinnie. “The series speaks to leaders of young people who are still learning how to dress for an interview as well as seasoned leaders seeking new ways to be effective in today’s business world.”

CSU’s winning entry features four classes: “Building Your Team,” “Foundations for Success,” “Leading Through Failure” and “Servant Leadership.”

“This leadership series was driven by a passion to make an impact in our community,” said Dayna Fuller, director of CSU’s Department of Instructional Design and Technology. “Chantell and Elizabeth wanted to reach out to current and future leaders and guide them through a series of courses that would enrich both their personal and professional lives. Their collaboration was inspirational to everyone who worked with them.”

To learn more about Columbia Southern University, visit ColumbiaSouthern.edu.

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