Congratulations to the 2020 SANsational Award Winners

Institutions often ask, “who is doing good work with state authorization compliance”? The WCET|State Authorization Network (SAN) is pleased to celebrate our sixth year recognizing the outstanding efforts of SAN member institutions and organizations by awarding SANsational Awards.

About the SANsational Awards

These awards are given for the development of high-quality, comprehensive solutions for challenging state authorization issues. Each summer, SAN members may self-nominate their institution or organization to share their practices, processes, or institution policy developed and implemented to manage state authorization compliance.

sansational logo

Nominations are accepted each year in the following three categories:

  • Licensure Programs: Notifications and disclosures for professional licensure program status in each state.
  • Location: How do you identify where your students are located while taking online courses, doing internships/practicums etc., and to meet new Federal regulations (34 CFR 600.9(c)(iii) & 34 CFR 668.43(c))? How does your institution report this information?
  • Compliance Innovations: Institution policy, tools, compliance teams, or other inventive or novel compliance management practices.

Award Process

An Awards Committee reviews the nominations, and the winning submissions are typically recognized at the WCET|SAN Coordinator meeting held each fall at the WCET Annual Meeting. Due to the pandemic, all meetings went virtual with little opportunity for a public celebration of the award winners. However, SAN took to the road to deliver the SANsational Awards to this year‘s award winners at their beautiful campuses. Award winners provided virtual presentations of their work to SAN members. Recordings of these presentations can be found here.

Congratulations to the 2020 SANsational Award Winners!

sansational logo and list of winners.

University of Kentucky

  • Title – Licensure Disclosure Project

Awarded: Licensure Programs – Notifications and disclosures for professional licensure program status in each state.

Cheryl Dowd meeting with Kentucky award winners
Cheryl Dowd meeting with Kentucky award winners

The University of Kentucky is the recipient of two SANsational Awards this year. While this is not the first year that an institution has won two awards, this fete is not typical and points to spectacular work by this institution overall.

The first SANsational Award earned by the University of Kentucky was in the category of Licensure Programs – Notifications and disclosures for professional licensure program status in each state. The University of Kentucky’s Licensure Disclosure Project is of special importance this year due to the July 1, 2020 effective date of new Federal regulations that require professional licensure notifications for all educational programs leading to professional licensure or certifications regardless of modality. Kentucky’s Distance Learning Team recognized the need to ensure that students have access to the most current and accurate information about state educational requirements to obtain a professional license in another state in order to make an informed decision about their education.

The Distance Learning Team worked with key stakeholders including Information Technology Services to develop an interactive database using Tableau. The team is then able to enter updated disclosures to this database which is connected to Tableau via a SQL server. The student is able to easily search by state and program as Tableau converts the information into an ADA accessible dashboard that is embedded on the TLAI Out of State Educational Activities page.

You may wish to note that the development of this project included collaboration with academic programs, University Leadership, UK Legal, Information Technology Services, Admissions, and other campus units to evolve into the streamlined process that is used to meet disclosure requirements. Additionally, key stakeholders at the University of Kentucky maximize distribution of the information though academic programs, advisors, and college liaisons. Ultimately, students are served by this collaborative effort to ensure that prospective and enrolled students have information to make informed decisions about programs leading to professional licensure or certification.

University of Kentucky

  • Title – Field Placement Coordination

Awarded: Compliance Innovations – Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process.

The second SANsational Award earned by University of Kentucky was in the category of Compliance Innovations – Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process for their Field Placement Coordination Project. Like many institutions, managing and tracking out-of-state field placements varied greatly by department and college. A communication project was created to provide consistent institution-wide process to track students and ensure that all programs conducting out-of-state field placements were compliant with state laws and to assist with SARA reporting. This project, like the Licensure Disclosure Project, shows effective collaboration of key stakeholders at the university.

Development of this project began with collection of information through surveys and evaluation of over 200 University of Kentucky programs’ webpages, promotional materials, and curricula to determine if the programs offered out-of-state activities and then determine applicable. A communication strategy was then necessary to identify and train institution colleagues to be college or program level experts for what University of Kentucky called “state authorization liaisons”. This communication project includes a communication chain between central compliance coordinators and these trained “state authorization liaisons” to divide the work and create buy-in and accountability within these programs to manage compliance requirements. The compliance coordinators, state authorization liaisons, and the programs’ representatives have access to a password protected website to review the details regarding the programmatic out-of-state activities.

Ultimately, this has provided the University of Kentucky with a more streamlined process with centralized compliance to coordinate the programs across a decentralized campus. Students benefit as this communication strategy allows any new regulations or processes to flow more quickly through the liaisons to advise faculty and students regarding out-of-state field placements.

The Ohio State University

  • Title – State Auth 101 Online Training Module

Awarded: Compliance Innovations – Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process.

The Ohio State University won a 2020 SANsational Award in the Compliance Innovationscategory for its State Auth 101 Online Training Module. Like many organizations, Ohio State requires employees to periodically complete online training modules on topics like data security and Title IX requirements. Ohio State’s state authorization team saw an opportunity to develop a similar training module to share basic state authorization information.

The state authorization team worked with an educational technologist to develop an interactive “State Auth 101” course. The course contains recorded interviews with five university stakeholders to learn how state authorization impacts their units and how each unit implemented processes to comply with the regulations. Video from the interviews was incorporated in the training module to illustrate the impact of state authorization regulations using real examples in an engaging format. The course includes quizzes as well.

The training module allows the team to widely share basic state authorization information with Ohio State faculty and staff. Although there is no substitute for building stakeholder relationships and communicating directly with faculty and staff, the online training module would be a good tool to share basic state authorization information with a large number of stakeholders.

University of Michigan

  • Title – Online and Hybrid Development Playbook

Awarded: Compliance Innovations – Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process.

The University of Michigan (U-M) won a 2020 SANsational Award in the Compliance Innovationscategory for its Online & Hybrid Program Development Playbook. The Playbook serves as an introductory guide to online and hybrid program development and compliance and as a directory to connect readers with appropriate subject matter experts on campus to engage in deeper discussion. The Playbook exists as a Google Doc maintained by a small team at U-M’s Center for Academic Innovation but reflects a highly collaborative effort with contributions from across U-M (e.g., from academic units, the Office of the General Counsel, the U-M Library, Information and Technology Services, the Registrar’s Office, the Office of Financial Aid, the International Center, and the Office of Research, Ethics, and Compliance). It was designed to identify online education expertise across units, establish a network for administrative problem solving, and establish workflows where gaps existed in the distance education infrastructure at a university that has no central coordinating office for online education.

Cheryl Dowd with the Michigan award winners
Cheryl Dowd with the Michigan award winners

The Online and Hybrid Program Compliance section of the Playbook, which accounts for more than half of the total content, is broadly applicable—considering that the featured laws, regulations, and standards of this section are themselves broadly applicable—much of the Playbook can be readily adapted at other institutions. Other sections, including those relating to external approval processes, accreditation, operations, student accounts, and student services, speak more to U-M specific processes, but these sections are helpful in shining a light on how to coordinate administrative functions relating to online and hybrid programs. The Playbook also provides other institutions a method for reviewing their own practices and processes, allowing them to adopt similar resources more germane to their specific needs.

University of Missouri – Kansas City

  • Title – The State Authorization One Stop Shop

Awarded: Compliance Innovations – Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process.

University of Missouri – Kansas City (UMKC) won a 2020 SANsational Award in the Compliance Innovationscategory for its State Authorization One Stop Shop website. The One Stop Shop features a clickable map where students can select any state to see which distance education programs are available. Each listed program is linked to its designated home page featuring more information. To satisfy NC-SARA requirements, student consumer protection information is included in case a student has a grievance or a complaint.

Cheryl Dowd with UMKC award winners
Cheryl Dowd with UMKC award winners

Each state web page has a list of both face-to-face programs and distance education programs that lead to licensure and certification and which category they fall into: meets educational requirements, does not meet educational requirements, or the institution has not made a determination. This satisfies the Department of Education’s Federal Regulation 34 CFR 668.43 (a)(5)(v). Each program is linked to its designated home page featuring more information on the individual program as well contact information should they have questions. As we discover which programs meet requirements, or if a program no longer meets requirements, this website will be updated accordingly.

Finally, to meet a number of requirements, the contact information for certain licensing entities have been included so a student can request more information if need-be.

UMKC believes that the One Stop Shop for students will allow students and potential students to make an informed decision based on their educational and professional needs.

A Concluding Round of Applause!

Each year, our SAN members continue to amaze us by sharing dynamic new ideas. We are so thrilled to be able to showcase these outstanding projects. You can learn more about these award winning projects on the SANsational Webpage on the SAN website. These ideas are not only strong solutions to meeting compliance requirements, but also share qualities that can be adapted or replicated as models for other institutions.

You may also wish to review our previous years’ winning projects.

We are grateful to our 2020 Awards Committee; Sharyl Thompson, Jeannie Yockey-Fine, Cheryl Carroll, and Sarah Cheverton who carefully reviewed and considered each award nomination.

The call for the 2021 self-nominations will be made in Spring 2021. No doubt there will be new and exciting processes and procedures shared by SAN members!

Poster that reads, "WECET San."

For more information about the activities, events, and resources provided by the WCET|State Authorization Network (SAN), please review the SAN Website or contact Cheryl Dowd or Dan Silverman.


Cheryl Dowd – Senior Director, Policy Innovations
WCET State Authorization Network
cdowd@wiche.edu  @dowdcm

dan silverman headshot

Dan Silverman
Assistant Director, WCET State Authorization Network
dsilverman@wiche.edu


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My name is Lindsey Rae Downs. I am the Assistant Director of Communications and Community for WCET, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. I work remotely from beautiful Helena, MT.

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