IRSC recognized with 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Student Success


Stock photography for the virtual campus
photographed on Tuesday, October 22, 2019, on the Main Campus in Fort Pierce.

Recognizing innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, the Indian River State College (IRSC) Virtual Campus and Advising Services teams have been selected as 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award winners in the “Student Success” category for the innovative Student Learning Coordinator (SLC), Advisor Connect Program. This award recognizes institutions whose creative program application has led to increased retention, increased completion, and improved outcomes through the implementation of new academic and administrative resources, data analytics solutions, scalable advising and intervention strategies, student support programs, and more.

The full team consists of Dr. Leigh Clay alongside Dale Hayes, Director of Advising Services, Veronica Martabano, SLC, and a team of more than 40 advisors that work across five campuses. The SLC Advisor Connect program expands collaboration and relationships across departments, increases data familiarity and use and provides advisors with up-to-date knowledge of student status so that students get needed attention throughout the semester—all resulting in improved outcomes for students with grades under 70%.

Data from SLC Advisor Connect demonstrate the program’s positive impact. Of the students included in the SLC Advisor Connect reports, more than half (53.76%) achieved a final grade of A, B, or C in the class. Of potential graduates facing challenges in week 12 or 15 of their coursework, 62.55% increased their final grade and successfully earned their credential at the end of the semester.

The individuals who assist students daily at IRSC appreciate what access to the data facilitated. “Advisors now know much more about their students and are better prepared to provide them with the assistance necessary to support them,” shares Dale Hayes, Director of Advising Services. “The analytics reports are remarkable tools that enable advisors to be more timely and effective.”

Now in their 15th year, the annual Catalyst Awards recognize and honor innovation and excellence in the Blackboard global community of practice, where millions of educators and learners work every day to redefine what is possible when leveraging technology. Winners are selected by a cross-functional team of Blackboard experts.

“We’re proud to recognize 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. “Clients like these inspire us to accelerate innovation that drives student success and we’re proud to be a part of their story.”

The IRSC team will be recognized alongside other honorees from across the globe during Blackboard’s premier annual global conference, to be held virtually July 21 and 22.

About Indian River State College 

A leader in education and innovation, Indian River State College (IRSC) transforms lives by offering high quality, affordable and accessible education to the residents of Indian River, Martin, Okeechobee and St. Lucie counties through traditional and online delivery. IRSC is recipient of the 2019 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges.

IRSC serves nearly 30,000 students annually and offers more than 100 programs leading to Bachelor’s degrees, Associate degrees, technical certificates and applied technology diplomas.

About Blackboard

Blackboard’s mission is to advance learning in partnership with the world’s education community so that more students, educators and institutions can realize their goals today and prepare for tomorrow. Learn more at and follow @Blackboard on Twitter.


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