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Two TBR leaders among Top 30 improving education through technology

TBR Leaders

Two senior Tennessee Board of Regents administrators – one from the TBR system office and one from Walters State Community College – are among the top 30 education technology leaders honored by the Center for Digital Education for their efforts to improve education through technology.

TBR’s vice chancellor for academic affairs, Dr. Tristan Denley, and Joe Sargent, assistant vice president of information and educational technologies at Walters State, are among CDE’s Top 30 Technologists, Transformers and Trailblazers for 2016

CDE, based in Sacramento, Calif., is a national research and advisory institute specializing in K-12 and higher education technology trends, policy and funding.

The 2016 honorees were selected based on their efforts to improve education through effective use of technology, their impact on student outcomes, and their overall initiative, creativity and leadership skills, according to the center.

“Our 2016 Top 30 award winners are visionaries who are going against the grain to increase funding, bandwidth, privacy protocols, predictive analytics and to improve the personalization of learning. With technology as their catalyst, they are dedicated to transforming education at the local, state and national levels in ways that have a positive impact on student success,” said Dr. Kecia Ray, executive director of the Center for Digital Education. “I am thrilled to recognize our award winners and applaud their achievements.”

CDE cited Denley’s extensive work using data and analytics to improve college completion and students’ academic success. “He wanted to find out the ‘unintended barriers’ that put certain students at a disadvantage when they attend college and that could end up jeopardizing their academic career. ‘My focus is on removing those barriers,’ he explained,” CDE’s citation said. It also cited his creation of Degree Compass while at Austin Peay State University to help students make more informed choices about their education.

CDE cited Sargent’s role in leading Walters State’s information and educational technologies department (IET) in making sure students have the tools to complete projects, track graduation progress and access learning resources. It quoted Sargent: “Students first is our philosophy here. Students are our end product. If they don’t get a good education, they’re not succeeding. The technology IET supports should enhance education, not impede it.”

They join two other Tennessee educators on the list: Kim Clemmons, instructional technology supervisor for Wilson County Schools, and Ginann Franklin, director of libraries and educational technology, Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood.

The College System of Tennessee is the state’s largest public higher education system, with 13 community colleges, 27 colleges of applied technology and the online TN eCampus serving approximately 100,000 students. The system is governed by the Tennessee Board of Regents.