SANsational Awards Media Release 2016

SANsational Award logo

Winners accounted for the second annual SANsational Awards

October 6, 2016
Contact: Lindsey Downs

WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2016 State Authorization Network SANsational awards: University of New Mexico; University of Northern Arizona

Boulder, CO –The WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies (WCET) State Authorization Network (SAN) is pleased to announce the winners of the 2nd 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.

The 2016 SANsational Award winners are categorized into two areas: identifying where students are located and notifications/disclosures for authorizations and compliance status.

Northern Arizona University

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

University of New Mexico

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

"Some regulations appear to be so straight forward and simple, for example ‘tell us where your students are located,’ said Brianna Bates, Associate Director, Academic Program Review & Academic Assessment at New York University (NYU) and chair, SANsational Awards committee.  “To many, it is shocking to learn that for an institution to respond to a seemingly simple regulatory inquiry, hours of high level intellectual capital from legal, policy and IT experts may be required. The SANsational Awards provide esteemed recognition to individuals and institutions who have thoughtfully navigated the creation and implementation of systems that work.”  

Bates adds: “By highlighting and sharing success stories through SANsational Awards, institutions are saved from reinventing the wheel and are often inspired to, at the very least, comply and in some cases to improve upon existing systems after learning more about them. The SANsational Awards create a collaborative community that fosters transparent information sharing through a unique award program."

The SANsational awardees will be recognized by WCET’s national community of higher education innovators during the WCET Annual Meeting in Minneapolis, MN October 12 – 14, 2016.  

A webcast to highlight the SANsational award winners will be held. For more information on the webcast and the awards, please visit:

Further Information

Northern Arizona University. 

Northern Arizona UniversityNorthern Arizona University (NAU) is a public degree granting institution with a total enrollment of 29,031 students for fall semester 2015, with 23,865 enrolled at its 26 Arizona campuses and an additional 5,166 enrolled online.  It has hundreds of courses that are designated as experiential (using the SARA definition for supervised field experience) in PeopleSoft. NAU has students across the globe and in nearly every state, both online and in experiential placements.

To track the physical presence of NAU students and activities, a cross-disciplinary team created an accessible in-house solution using the student login system which sends a message each semester to a registered student whenever they attempt to access an NAU technology such as email, bblearn, etc. asking for their physical location (by state or country). The process is integrated with PeopleSoft, so if a student is enrolled in an experiential course, they receive a second question asking for physical location information for each experiential course listed. The process takes less than 30 seconds and requires no faculty involvement. Once the student answers, they are directed automatically to their destination and they do not receive the message until they register again. The response rate for this voluntary process is in the mid-ninety percent range without external prompting. A targeted follow up email reminder increases the response rate. The data is timely and accurate and is now being used for IPEDS distance education reporting as well as state authorization purposes at NAU.

Contact: Shari Lea Miller
Title: Compliance Director – State Authorization
Phone: 928-523-9520 |

University of New Mexico. 

University of New MexicoIn January 2016, the University of New Mexico (UNM) Extended Learning Unit launched an interactive state authorization map which provides an up-to-date and approachable explanation of UNM’s authorization status in each state. The map allows a user to easily discern whether UNM is authorized to deliver online education in a particular state, and tells a user which of UNM’s online programs are available in that state. In addition to providing authorization information, the page links students to higher education agencies in each state, complying with regulations which require disclosure of student complaint processes. The map is located at the following website:

Contact: Debby Knotts
Title: Executive Director of Extended Learning Strategic Initiatives
Phone: 505-277-9000 |  

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) guides, supports, and facilitates collaboration of its members to understand and apply state and federal regulation compliance requirements for institutions’ out of state activities.