San Award 2019

2019 State Authorization Network SANsational Award

WCET (the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies) and the State Authorization Network (SAN) are pleased to announce the winners of the 5th annual SANsational Awards. These awards recognize outstanding efforts by SAN member institutions and organizations in developing a high-quality, comprehensive solution to a challenging state authorization issue. Works recognized by the SANsational Awards present solutions that meet the needs of regulators, the institution and, most especially, students. These efforts serve as models which can be adapted or replicated by others.

James Madison University and University of Virginia won in the category of Compliance Innovations - Institution policy, tools, compliance teams or other inventive or novel compliance management process.

The volume and variety of policies, conditions, exceptions, and expectations around state authorization call for a tool that will enable a state authorization coordinator—especially an inexperienced one -- to have an organized “To Do” list and tracking tool at their fingertips. Sarah Cheverton, Assistant Coordinator of Online Learning at James Madison University and Cheryl Carroll, Manager of Academic & Distance Education Compliance at the University of Virginia collaborated to develop such a tool called the Distance Learning Compliance Organizer and Toolkit. Cheverton and Carroll demonstrated that the core spreadsheet can be used as a standalone tool or as a central coordination tool integrated within a larger online collaboration environment. In either “flavor,” the Organizer and Toolkit will help inexperienced and skilled coordinators develop a more organized, efficient, and effective state authorization compliance process.

The Distance Learning Compliance Organizer and Toolkit core spreadsheet is a simple Excel file, easily adaptable to an institution’s unique needs. Content is entirely editable and new content can easily be added. When integrated into an institution’s organizational tools and collaboration systems, it can be shared with learning activity coordinators and others who need to enter content, upload and link to data files, and communicate with their state authorization coordinator. Carroll demonstrated that at UVA, the core spreadsheet was uploaded to and easily integrated with the Smartsheet® environment, an enterprise collaborative platform, creating a “program management tracker” version of the Organizer and Toolkit. Utilizing the Smartsheet platform enables users to create input forms, dashboards and reports from templates as well as creating workflows with only one license being required: the institutional state authorization administrator must have a license, which allows other distance learning stakeholders at the institution to view and edit documents and data depending on their permissions level.

The Distance Learning Compliance Organizer and Toolkit core spreadsheet is freely available for download at A functional sample of the Distance Learning Compliance Organizer and Toolkit - program management tracker is available upon request from Carroll. For more information about Smartsheet®, visit

To see the full list of winners read more here

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