CSUN Receives Innovation in Education Award

CSUN faculty member Wendy Murawski and LA Economic Development Corporation CEO Bill Allen stand in front of a Valley Economic Alliance step-and-repeat, while Murawski holds a glass award from the alliance.

Wendy Murawski, executive director of CSUN’s SIMPACT Immersive Learning Program and Eisner Endowed Chair for CSUN’s Center for Teaching and Learning, receives the “Innovation in Education” award from the Valley Economic Alliance, on May 21, 2019. Bill Allen (right), CEO of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, presented the award. Photo courtesy of the Valley Economic Alliance.

CSUN’s SIMPACT Immersive Learning program, an initiative of the Michael D. Eisner College of Education and housed within the Center for Teaching and Learning, received the “Innovation in Education” award from the Valley Economic Alliance this spring. The award recognizes outstanding educational leaders and programs for their innovative use of the arts in the classroom and the community.

The SIMPACT program is used in university classes, for teaching K-12 educators and professional trainings. SIMPACT is a mixed-reality simulation system designed for students in fields such as social work, counseling and teaching. Students use the technology to practice and gain skills such as counseling techniques or teaching strategies. The simulation allows them to practice those skills on avatars before trying them out with actual students or clients.

“We can change a lot of fields with this type of technology — education, counseling, journalism, business and more,” said Wendy Murawski, executive director and Eisner Endowed Chair for CSUN’s Center for Teaching and Learning. “SIMPACT started small, and Dr. Sally Spencer in the Department of Special Education has been growing the program ever since.”

The Valley Economic Alliance is made up of business, government and education community organizations. Their mission is to engage and unite San Fernando Valley stakeholders to raise standards of living and economics. 

Alliance leadership recognized CSUN at the organization’s annual Board of Governors meeting and Education awards on May 21 at CSUN’s Tseng College for Extended Learning.

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