Celebrating Excellence in Digital Leadership and Education: 2023 OLC Accelerate Award Winners and Fellows


Veronica Hoff, Director of Marketing and Communications, Online Learning Consortium

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The Online Learning Consortium is proud to announce the distinguished recipients of the 2023 OLC Accelerate Awards and Fellows, recognizing their outstanding contributions to the field of digital leadership, digital education, and online learning. These exemplary individuals and institutions have demonstrated unwavering dedication, innovation, and leadership in advancing online, blended, and digital learning. The annual OLC Awards program continues to be a platform to celebrate their remarkable achievements and inspire others in the education community.

“Our awards and fellows program is a platform to highlight and thank these leaders in their respective fields, and their insights will inspire us to think beyond boundaries and embrace the limitless possibilities of collaboration and creativity,” shared Jennifer Mathes, CEO of the OLC.

That’s why each year the OLC launches a call for nominations for a variety of awards, to coincide with our Accelerate conference. We’re pleased to announce our 2023 awardees as inspirational models for our field.

2023 Class of OLC Fellows

For the 14th year, the OLC specially recognizes individual members for outstanding contributions. OLC Fellows cannot self-nominate, but instead must be nominated by others in the field. Nominees are then evaluated with a substantial set of criteria:

Outstanding qualifications in the field of online learning
Significant experience in online learning or an allied field
Extraordinary contributions and leadership in the field of online learning
Distinguished service to OLC or the field

For 2023, the Fellow Selection Committee recommended the following exemplary change-makers to the OLC Board of Directors to become OLC Fellows:

  • Curtis Bonk, Ph.D.: Recognized for “Extraordinary Global Leadership and Contributions to the field of Online and Blended Learning.”
  • Jason Rhode, Ph.D.: Acknowledged for “Visionary Leadership and Dedication to Mentoring Future Leaders in the field.”
  • Bettyjo Bouchey, Ed.D.: Celebrated for “Exceptional Contributions and Service to the field of Online and Blended Learning.”
  • Christopher Dede, Ph.D.: Honored for “Distinguished Scholarship, Research, Leadership, and Service to the field of Online and Blended Learning.”
  • Deborah Adair, Ph.D.: Acknowledged for “Extraordinary Leadership and Commitment to Quality Online Learning.”

Accelerate 2023 Award Winners

This annual OLC Awards program is an opportunity to showcase leadership and innovation in the field of online, blended, and digital learning. The winners represent individuals who are pushing the envelope of creativity to empower learners. Inclusivity, digital transformation, and collaboration are key features inherent across these bodies of work.

While the competition was strong this year, please join us in congratulating the selected winners:

Excellence in Faculty Development
Unitek Learning
Unitek Learning has set a new standard for faculty development in online education. The collaborative efforts of Jamie Holcomb, Ed.D., Scott Tierno, D.A., PMP, Abdel Yosef, Ph.D., RN, CNE, and Kyejung Yang, Ph.D. have produced the “Unitek Learning Faculty Institute.” This project exemplifies excellence in nurturing faculty expertise and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.

Excellence in Instructional and Teaching Practice
Martha Hubertz, University of Central Florida
Martha Hubertz’s dedication to enhancing the quality of online teaching in large psychology courses at the University of Central Florida is truly commendable. Her project, “Excellence in Online Teaching in Large Psychology Courses,” reflects her commitment to effective instructional practices that benefit both educators and learners.

Gomory-Mayadas Award for Excellence in Online Educational Leadership
Dr. Hazzaa Alshareef and Dr. Maha Helal, Saudi Electronic University
Dr. Hazzaa Alshareef and Dr. Maha Helal have propelled Saudi Electronic University into a leadership role in the online education landscape. Their project, “Leading Online Education in Saudi Arabia – SEU’s National LMS Project,” exemplifies their visionary leadership and commitment to advancing online education in their region.

John R. Bourne Award for Excellence in Online Programs and Programming
Ultimate Medical Academy
Ultimate Medical Academy, represented by Zoaib Mirza, Amy Lakin, Craig Cuatt, Kevan Van Cleave, John Winchester, and Debra Stonikas, has redefined course development processes in online education. Their project, “Ultimate Medical Academy Course Development Process,” showcases innovation and excellence in online program development.

Accelerate 2023 Scholarship Winner

This scholarship recognizes individuals achieving extraordinary accomplishments in the field of online education at an early stage in their careers. Recipients – including this year’s winner – are known for leadership activities, service to the profession, scholarly publications, and/or contributions to advancing online and blended learning.

Bruce N. Chaloux Scholarship for Early Career Excellence
Meina Zhu, Wayne State University
Meina Zhu of Wayne State University is the embodiment of early career excellence in online learning. Her remarkable achievements and dedication to scholarship have earned her the prestigious Bruce N. Chaloux Scholarship.

These esteemed individuals and institutions have illuminated the path toward a brighter future for online education. We commend them for their remarkable achievements and look forward to their continued contributions to the field. Their work serves as an inspiration to all who strive for excellence in digital leadership and education.

Congratulations to the 2023 OLC Accelerate Award winners and Fellows! Your dedication and innovation are shaping the future of online learning.

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