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Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Contact: Daphne Borromeo
Voice: 408-792-3153
E-mail: dborromeo@highereducation.org


Carol A. Twigg Honored with Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award for 2007

San Jose, CA— Carol A. Twigg, a widely respected leader in higher education, has been awarded the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award for 2007.

The award recognizes individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership and innovation in American higher education.

Twigg is president and CEO of the National Center for Academic Transformation (NCAT) and developed the Program in Course Redesign (PCR). The effort proved that colleges and universities can use technology to reduce costs while improving the quality of instruction.

All of the 30 institutions that participated in the PCR reduced their costs by an average of 37%, and produced a total annual savings of about $3 million. Twenty-five of the projects measured significant increases in student learning.

"Carol Twigg has shown that technology can not only improve the quality of student learning, but play a key role in tackling the rising cost of higher education," says Patrick M. Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. "Moreover, she has shattered the notion that these improvements cannot be made without spending more money."

NCAT is an independent, nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide leadership in using information technology to redesign learning environments to produce better learning outcomes for students at a reduced cost to the institution.

With funding provided by the Pew Charitable Trusts, Twigg created the PCR, largely building on her former work as vice president of Educom and founder of the National Learning Infrastructure Initiative. Between 1999 and 2004, NCAT worked with 30 two- and four-year colleges, focusing on introductory courses with large enrollments. In addition to reducing costs and improving the quality of instruction, the program resulted in improved student attitudes towards the subjects they were learning, as well as increased satisfaction among the students and faculty.

Prior to her work at NCAT, Twigg served as the Associate Vice Chancellor for Learning Technologies for the State University of New York. She has also occupied several senior academic administrative posts at Empire State College in addition to teaching at University at Buffalo and Empire State College.

In 2003, Twigg received the 16th annual Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education. In 1995, Newsweek profiled Twigg as one of 50 of the information revolution movement's most influential thinkers.

Twigg holds a B.A. from the College of William and Mary and a Ph.D. in English Literature from University at Buffalo.

Established in 1999, the Innovative Leadership Award is named for Virginia B. Smith, a highly-regarded innovative thinker and leader in higher education. Throughout her career as an educator, foundation director, and public policy scholar, Smith has made immeasurable contributions towards advancing innovative strategies to improve opportunity and excellence in higher education.

Smith is president emerita of Vassar College, and was founding director of the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. She was also associate director of the Carnegie Commission on Higher Education, and assistant vice president of the University of California system.

Previous winners of the Innovative Leadership Award include David Spence, president of the Southern Regional Education Board; George Kuh, director of the National Survey of Student Engagement and chancellor's professor of higher education at Indiana University Bloomington; Barbara Leigh Smith, emeritus faculty member of The Evergreen State College; Jean MacGregor, senior scholar and director of the Curriculum for the Bioregion Initiative at The Evergreen State College; Robert Olin, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Alabama; Tim Riordan, professor of philosophy and associate dean for academic affairs at Alverno College; Peter Ewell, vice president of the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems; and Susana Navarro, executive director of the El Paso Collaborative for Academic Excellence.

The award is jointly administered by the Council for Adult and Experiential Learning and the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. A steering committee for the award oversees nominations, and a stipend of $2,500 accompanies each award.

The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education is an independent, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization. It is not affiliated with any institution of higher education or with any government agency. The National Center conducts policy research and fosters public awareness and discussion of public policy issues affecting education and training beyond high school. The purpose of the National Center's studies and reports is to stimulate public policies that will improve the effectiveness and accessibility of higher education.

The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL) is a nonprofit organization committed to providing better access to education for adults through partnerships with business, government, labor, and higher education. CAEL works to remove policy and organizational barriers to learning opportunities, identifies and disseminates effective practices, and delivers value-added services.

For more information about the Virginia B. Smith Innovative Leadership Award, please see: www.highereducation.org/vsmithaward/.

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