The college's Blackboard/Sakai expert has been instrumental in implementing a wide range of e-learning initiatives.

Carlos Cruz '00 M.A. Wins 2013 CUNY Excellence in Technology Service Award

Jan. 6, 2014

Carlos A. Cruz, the multimedia, instructional deisgn specialist and Blackboard/Sakai administrator at the Brooklyn College Library, showing his award.

Carlos A. Cruz, the multimedia, instructional design specialist and Blackboard/Sakai administrator at Brooklyn College Library, was presented with an Excellence in Technology Service Award at the 2013 CUNY IT Conference on December 5. The day also happened to be his birthday. 

"It was a very special recognition for me, and one present that you never expect to get on your birthday," Cruz said.

"Carlos has been the mainstay of local support for our more than two thousand Blackboard courses, has met with hundreds of faculty, trained faculty and others about new Blackboard features and upgrades, and has worked closely with SEEK on e-portfolios," said Chief Librarian Stephanie Walker, who has known Cruz for about a decade. "And he has been involved in just about every e-learning initiative we've ever offered. He is incredibly deserving of this award, and we are delighted with this recognition of his excellence."

This is not Cruz's first award. His 1999 holiday card received an award from CUNY, and in the same year he received the PSC-CUNY research award. More recently, he obtained the 2009–2010 ePortfolio Mini Grant & Seminar Program from CUNY's LaGuardia Community College. The modest Cruz admits, however, that while his award was already announced in the conference program, he still got goose bumps when his name was called.

"It's always thrilling to represent Brooklyn College," he says. "Especially because there are so many talented people on this campus who deserve recognition, too."

The Cuba-born Cruz first arrived in the United States in 1994, armed with an art degree from the University of Havana and a master's in social anthropology from the Ibero-American University of Mexico.

While completing a master's in computer art design at Brooklyn College, he worked on Latinas in the U.S.: A Historical Encyclopedia, a project jointly led by then-chair of the Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Virginia Sánchez Korrol, and Professor Vicki L. Ruiz of the University of California, Berkeley. Funded with grants from the Ford Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and international donations, the project required a team member with technical know-how to assist them with the new web technology.

"With his expertise in Cuban studies, he was the perfect complement to our team," says Sánchez-Korrol, who hired Cruz. "In addition to managing our files, budgets, contracts, digital photos, and design, the Latinas in History interactive project was Carlos' brainchild."

Blackboard technology allows faculty to teach online courses and interact with students via blogs and wikis. When Cruz started at the library there were about 373 users of this technology, a figure that today has increased to 2,500. He constantly monitors users to make sure everything is running smoothly.

"Carlos Cruz is a miracle man," acknowledges David Bloomfield, a School of Education professor who teaches education leadership, law, and policy at the Department of School Psychology, Counseling and Leadership, and who is an early Blackboard user. "He was indispensable when training the faculty members on Blackboard-based web development in Educational Leadership for the college's first online course sequence," he says.

"Carlos makes himself available to whoever needs him," stated Puerto Rican and Latino Studies Chair María Pérez y González in a communiqué she circulated among the faculty. "We are very proud of him."

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