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JSU blossoms again as Apple Distinguished School for 2015-2017

Robert Blaine, dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at JSU, said the university is being honored for for its innovation, leadership and education excellence. (Photo by Charles A. Smith)

Dr. Robert Blaine, dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at JSU, said the university is being honored for its innovation, leadership and education excellence. (Photo by Charles A. Smith)

Jackson State has earned its second consecutive designation as an Apple Distinguished School, which is awarded biennially.

The honor praises the institution for incorporating technology into its curriculum.

“We are delighted to be recognized again as an Apple Distinguished School for 2015-2017. Once again, JSU is deemed a national exemplar for innovation, leadership and education excellence,” said Dr. Robert Blaine, dean of Undergraduate Studies and CyberLearning at JSU.

Digital enhancements have paved the way for the university to transform the institution’s learning environment with innovative teaching methods, thus increasing students’ creativity.

Blaine said, “When we received our first recognition in 2013, we were designing INNOVATE and CREATE and planning our curricular redesigns. Now, we have completed both and are implementing our new Digital Core.”

JSU’s CyberLearning Ecosystem won national acclaim as a recipient of Campus Technology magazine’s Teaching and Learning Innovation Award. The HBCU also received a $1.2 million award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as an institutional partner and a $2.9 million award from the Department of Education’s First in the World Grant.

The expansion of technology on campus is becoming more ubiquitous.

“We are redesigning the C.F. Moore Building to become a model of 21st-century learning spaces, building new systems to rethink how we advise students and creating clearly articulated degree pathways,” Blaine said. “In the spring, we will open one of our newest spaces in the H.T. Sampson Library, ENGAGE, which will enable students through technology to take theoretical information from the classroom to the real world in one semester.”

Moreover, Blaine said, “Students will have access to scores of 3D printers, micro controllers and equipment to build anything they can imagine. JSU has built a national reputation for innovation, and we are excited to see how we will continue to challenge minds and change lives.”

Because of its extraordinary efforts, JSU received a plaque and banner from the Apple Education Recognition Program.