Inaugural SANsational Awards Bestowed this Fall

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WCET is pleased to announce the recipients of the inaugural 2015 State Authorization Network SANsational award – Drexel University; New York University; University of Louisville; University of Minnesota

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"The recipients of the SANsational Awards demonstrate creativity and commitment to compliance,” said Sharyl Thompson, CEO, Higher Education Regulatory (HER) Consulting, and chair, SANsational Awards committee.

In its inaugural year, the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) State Authorization Network's SANsational Award recognizes 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 Award present solutions that meet the needs of regulators, the institution and most especially students and serve as a model which can be adapted or replicated for others.

The 2015 SANsational Award winners are are categorized into three categories:

  • Location: How do you identify where your students are located?

         o New York University
         o University of Louisville

  • Institutional Authorization: Notifications and disclosures for institutional state authorizations and compliance status

         o Drexel University

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

         o The University of Minnesota

"The recipients of the SANsational Awards demonstrate creativity and commitment to compliance,” said Sharyl Thompson, CEO, Higher Education Regulatory (HER) Consulting, and chair, SANsational Awards committee. “They are great examples of how institutions are managing their state authorization work.”

The SANsational awardees will be recognized by WCET’s national community of higher education innovators during the WCET 27th Annual Meeting in Denver, CO November 11 – 13, 2015.

Drexel University
Drexel University is committed to maintaining ongoing compliance to program authorization requirements in all US states and territories. To increase awareness and a greater understanding of the importance of our state authorization compliance efforts among Drexel University’s stakeholders, we use multiple communication channels including, memos, website disclaimers, and an internal SharePoint site that houses all applications and letters of approvals.

In order to maintain accurate regulatory knowledge across all states, we regularly consult a variety of resources such as SHEEO, Cooley LLP, WCET, and most importantly, direct communications with state legislators. It is our goal that every application that Drexel University submits is accurate and meets all requirements.

Contact: Iuliana Balascuta
Title: Director, Regulatory Affairs
Phone: (215) 571.3853; ib53(at)

New York University
New York University (NYU) is a large, decentralized research institution with over 1,000 program offerings and 50,000 students. NYU has 25 online program offerings, 17 different degree granting schools and units, 11 study away sites and 2 international degree granting portal campuses. In an effort to comply with varied state authorization regulations nation-wide, Brianna L. Bates, Assistant Director of Academic Program Review in the Office of the Provost spearheaded1 the development of a system to track the location and residences of all NYU students. Due to the decentralized nature of NYU's organizational structure and global scope geographically, it was necessary to create a multi-pronged approach to compliance in order to accommodate existing systems and structures at the University. Bates was able to identify NYU's Office of Institutional Research, NYU's Wasserman Career Center, and individual NYU schools systems as the three points of entry for data to begin to track the information that regulators require reporting on. With the system, NYU is not only able to comply with state authorization reporting requirements by notifying state agencies when required to do so of educational activity taking place in the respective state, but the university is now able to make data driven decisions and projections related to where students are likely to seek opportunities to engage in non-classroom experiences.

This project at NYU was made possible by support from: Office of the Provost (Barnett Hamberger, Associate Provost, Academic Program Review; Brianna L. Bates, Assistant Director, Academic Program Review; Cybele Raver, Vice Provost of Research and Faculty Affairs); Office of Institutional Research(Kimiko Altamirano, Senior Reporting Analyst; Rachel Maxwell, Director of Reporting & Survey Research); Wasserman Career Center (Bernadette So, Director of Graduate Student Career Development; Richard Orbe-Austin, Former Director of Graduate Student Career Development; Trudy Steinfeld, Executive Director, Center for Career Development)

Contact: Brianna L. Bates
Title: Assitant Director, Academic Program Review
Phone: (212) 998.2388; brianna.bates(at)

University of Louisville
Upon the announcement of the federal regulations regarding state authorization in 2010, the Online Learning team in the Delphi Center for Teaching and Learning at the University of Louisville (UofL) assumed responsibility for applying for authorization of online programs and became the institutional expert on state authorization compliance issues. In partnership with the Office of Academic Programs and Accountability, UofL SACS liaison, and associate deans, the Delphi Center designed a thorough process that makes use of existing technologies and systems to identify students’ state of residence, from initial inquiry to their start each academic term. The systems include PeopleSoft and Hobsons Radius, which are supplemented by clearly defined communication plans. Stakeholders throughout the University are provided with the information they need to ensure compliance and transparency with both prospective and enrolled students.

UofL has identified three types of location management – prospective online students, enrolled online students, and enrolled campus students in programs with field placements. Within this framework, the Delphi Center and its partners strive to achieve compliance by being proactive in admitting from and approving field placements only in authorized states, and also by serving in an auditory role to ensure there are no compliance issues. With weekly, monthly and semester-based reports in addition to regular and frequent communication with the stakeholders, UofL is able to know the volume of educational activity outside the state and take necessary action to ensure compliance. As the University of Louisville and the Delphi Center strive for excellence, we are constantly looking for ways to implement new strategies to enhance processes so that we become the model in addressing state authorization.

Contact: Kristen Brown
Title: Assistant Director for Online Learning
Phone: (502) 852-8565; Kristen.brown(at)

The University of Minnesota
The University of Minnesota developed a “professional licensure” website in order to meet the following SARA requirement: “Any institution operating under SARA that offers courses or programs potentially leading to professional licensure must keep all students, applicants and potential students who have contacted the institution about the course or program informed as to whether such offerings actually meet state licensing requirements.”

We have only one or two online programs that traditionally lead to professional licensure, and informing students in those programs would be quite straightforward. However, the requirement to notify students enrolled in an online course that potentially leads to professional licensure is much more complex. We have over 50,000 students on five campuses and over 2,000 online courses across many disciplines. We have no idea what a student might have in mind when they sign up for an online course.

The professional licensure website is part of our Digital Campus, a system-wide site targeted to prospective students and currently enrolled students who are interested in online offerings ( The professional licensure page ( contains a list of professions that are commonly licensed. The student clicks on the link for their chosen profession and is taken to a page where they self-select the state they’re interested in. From there, they’re directed to licensure resources within that state.

Students are informed of the professional licensure page in three ways:
1. Every program page on the Digital Campus site has a link to the licensure page.
2. Each of our five campuses has a consumer information website that links to the licensure page with this message: "If you are not a resident of Minnesota, and you are taking an online course leading to professional licensure, check with the appropriate licensing board in your state to verify that the course meets the requirement for licensure."
3. A consumer information email is sent to all enrolled students at the beginning of each academic year and the site is referenced there, using the same language as the consumer information website.

Contact: Sandra Ecklein
Title: elearning Analyst, Center for Educational Innovations
Phone: (612) 626.8976; email: eckle001(at)

About WCET
The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of technology-enhanced higher education. More information about WCET’s institutional membership resources and services can be found on WCET’s website.

About the State Authorization Network
Working collaboratively, institutions can navigate the state regulations processes more efficiently than working on their own. WCET's State Authorization Network (SAN) assists the 'Coordinators' from each member system, consortium, or institution through access to experts and networking among others seeking to comply with state regulations.

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Cali Morrison
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