University of Washington Wins Digital Government and Education Award

June 25, 2002

The UW won in the higher education category of the Third annual 2002 Digital Government Award, a national contest organized by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Accenture. The awards recognize organizations that demonstrate best practices in digital government and higher education. The UW was one of about 125 finalists chosen by the nominee’s level of innovation, leadership and transformational results, and Web site accessibility and usability.

Led by the UW’s Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies and built upon the robust and ubiquitous infrastructure provided by UW Computing & Communications, the Catalyst Initiative consists of a suite of ten Web-based tools that are accessed easily by the entire University community; a primary Web site ( that serves as a information clearinghouse on technology-related topics; a workshop series that provides technology training for instructors; and personalized individual consulting for faculty.

The Accenture and MIT Digital Government Award continues the national recognition that the University of Washington has received for it teaching, learning, and technology programs. UWired earned the Association of College and Research Libraries Innovation in Instruction Award in 1995. UWired and the Catalyst Initiative won the first ever EDUCAUSE for Systemic Progress in Teaching and Learning in 2000, while Catalyst also won 2000 Effective Practices Award from the Council of Higher Education Management.

Now in its third year of operation, the Catalyst Initiative reaches instructors in all departments and schools at the University of Washington, and all of its resources were developed from the ideas and feedback of UW instructors. This collaborative design, development, and support strategy has proven quite successful: from a pool of about 6000 instructors (faculty, instructional staff, teaching assistants, and librarians) the Catalyst Web Tools boast 4500 instructor users over the past three years; 40,000 unique visitors each month are engaging in almost 1.1 million online learning activities with Catalyst Web Tools; visitors view over 100,000 pages of content on the Catalyst Web site every month; in the past three years on average, Catalyst workshops reached an average of 900 participants and instructors received personal, one-to-one help 1600 times.

“This is a great honor for us, because it is built upon the partnership amongst our staff and hundreds of UW faculty and thousands of students” said Tom Lewis, the director of the Educational Technology Development Group, which manages the Catalyst Initiative.

According to Louis Fox, the Vice Provost of Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies, “this award acknowledges that a large university can effectively support teaching and learning with technology by listening to educators and students, and investing in a home-grown, sustainable solution.”

Ron Johnson, Vice President of Computing & Communications also notes that “Catalyst is a pioneering effort in learning how to infuse the teaching and learning of important skills into the existing curriculum, at the same time exploring the possibilities for technology infrastructure to facilitate teaching and learning.”

Contact Information:

Louis B Fox, Vice Provost

Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies

320 Mary Gates Hall

UW Mailbox: 352820

Phone: 685-4745 FAX: 221-2658


Tom Lewis, Director

Ed-Tech Development Group

Educational Partnerships & Learning Technologies

230 OUGL

UW Mailbox: 353080

Phone: 616-8156 FAX: 616-2873


Additional information about the award recipients will be posted to the Digital Government Awards Web site: