IAUNRC Receives CILC Pinnacle Award Honorable Mention
The Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center was awarded in August 2011 a 2010-2011 Pinnacle Award Honorable Mention by the Center for Interactive Learning and Collaboration (CILC). Each academic year, the CILC evaluates the many hundreds of Content Providers that provide video conferencing resources to K-12 educators, librarians and others around the country and awards the best of the best with a Pinnacle Award in recognition of these Providers’ efforts.
This year, the IAUNRC found itself amongst an impressive array of national and regional organizations receiving the CILC’s award. Other nominees for the 2010-2011 academic year included the Columbus Zoo & Aquarium, the Lower East Side Tenement Museum, the Professional Football Hall of Fame, NASA’s Digital Learning Network, the National World War II Museum, and numerous others. To receive an Honorable Mention and be counted amongst such leading institutions, the IAUNRC was evaluated based in large part on the responses left by those with whom it had worked through the CILC videoconference platform. Over the last year the IANURC has received an outpouring not only of interest in its videoconference offerings, but also in positive responses to what it has offered. All of the IAUNRC’s CILC Programs enjoy a rating of at least 2.5 / 3, and the Center takes the feedback it receives very seriously in reevaluating and improving its programs. As the IAUNRC’s Assistant Director, Kasia Rydel-Johnston, remarked, the drive to develop new and better materials has been at the heart of the Center’s efforts since the beginning.
“The presentations were developed and given by the Center’s area specialists and our own graduate assistants,” Rydel-Johnston said, “My special thanks go to Michael, who started the IAUNRC’s CILC programming, and to Maggie, who took it to a whole new level. We are hoping to keep our menu growing and to educate more young Americans about culture, history, and life in our fascinating region of the World. The entire IAUNRC staff is very excited to have received this honor!”
The IAUNRC began working with the CILC and offering videoconferencing as part of its broader outreach efforts in the summer of 2009. Since then, videoconferencing has grown from a small part of the IAUNRC’s work to distribute information about the Central Eurasian region, with just one or two conferences offered each semester, to a major element of the Center’s program: today, IAUNRC staff provide videoconference opportunities to teachers across the country at least a few times a week. During the 2010-2011 school year the IAUNRC was able to reach more than 2250 students and 123 teachers in forty schools across 20 US States and in Alberta, Canada. Moreover, the Center connected with hundreds of members of underserved communities across the country, including retirement centers, juvenile homes, and others. These achievements did not go unrecognized by CILC and its base of educators – and served as the basis for the IAUNRC’s Honorable Mention. Julia Shildmyer-Heighway, Director of Content Services for CILC, noted to the Center that she had heard only the best about the IAUNRC and that the Center was truly fulfilling a needed role: “The Inner Asian & Uralic National Resource Centeris a tremendous asset to schools around the world. Their educational outreach provides much needed content about a part of the world that is often misunderstood.”
Along with other award and honorable mention recipients, the IAUNRC’s content offerings through CILC were noted for the level of knowledge they brought to viewers and the degree to which they engaged audiences. In particular, the Center’s videoconference programs on Islamic Architecture, the Silk Road, and the links between the Soviet space program and Central Eurasian all received laudable evaluations. Teachers were quick to remark on their students’ interest in learning more about the IAUNRC’s programs and region – “They asked, "Can we do that again?" I'd love to use your resources again next year when we are studying Asia,” one said – and the Center looks forward to another year of offering of working with CILC to offer the best of videoconferencing and interactive material on the Central Eurasian region.