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NewsJune 22, 2022

UAFS Earns Two Global Awards for Educational Advancement

The University of Arkansas - Fort Smith announced Wednesday that the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education selected the institution for two global awards in strategic communications.

CASE awarded a Grand Gold award in the student-oriented digital campaign category for the university’s Mental Health Monday campaign and a Silver award for the university’s 8-bit web launch video during the organization’s 2022 Circle of Excellence awards.

“Public, regional institutions are known for having small numbers of professionals and limited resources available in their departments of Marketing and Communication, and UAFS is no exception. For this reason, it is an even bigger achievement for UA-Fort Smith to win two CASE Circle of Excellence Awards,” said Dr. Terisa Riley, UAFS Chancellor. “I am particularly proud of the team for winning the Grand Gold award in a student-oriented category.”

UAFS’s Mental Health Monday campaign used interactive elements built into Instagram Stories to engage directly students struggling with their mental health, forming one-on-one connections and sharing campus resources.

“I believe this shows the commitment of the team to using digital platforms to identify individual problems and offer individual care and solutions,” Riley said. “The amount of time committed to outreach following this campaign is not something that happens at most universities and reassures me that student health—mental and physical—continues to be the number one priority for everyone at our institution.”

Judges echoed Riley: “This approached an important issue with tact and energy. It promoted access to mental health resources in a way that removed barriers to the viewer.”

Rachel Putman, associate director of strategic communications, and Shandreka McCullough, class of 2021, who served as a communications student assistant during her time at UAFS, created the campaign and sent hundreds of messages in response to its success.

The university’s Web Launch video, also created by Putman, included an 8-bit character modeled after Dr. Riley, who navigates a blue-themed retro-style videogame to announce the redesigned site, transforming a non-responsive and dated website into to a sleek, modern, mobile-friendly site. The video features an original 8-bit score composed by Putman's husband, Cory Putman.

In 2022, CASE received more than 4,500 entries from 636 institutions in nearly 30 countries. Of those, volunteer judges chose 626 exemplary entries for global recognition as bronze, silver, gold, or Grand Gold. Grand Gold Awards recognize entries that are exceptional and are considered “game-changing” in the field. These are the highest-level awards presented by CASE, and only one Grand Global award is given per category.

CASE’s Circle of Excellence Awards are the premier recognition program for educational advancement. These peer-selected and adjudicated awards honor colleges, universities, and schools worldwide whose talented staff have advanced their organizations with resourcefulness and ingenuity. 

“Our CASE Circle of Excellence Awards celebrate the creative, resourceful, and innovative ways advancement professionals around the globe champion their institutions’ success,” says CASE President and CEO Sue Cunningham. “Advancement has never been more important to support and strengthen education. These 2022 Circle of Excellence recipients—from institutions and teams of all sizes and shapes, from regions across the world—showcase how advancement empowers teaching and learning, ignites institutional progress and helps communities thrive. I hope you take the opportunity to explore these award winners and become inspired.”

Winners were selected based on several factors, including overall quality, innovation, use of resources, and the impact on the institution or its external and internal communities, such as alumni, parents, students, faculty, and staff. 


About CASE:

CASE—the Council for Advancement and Support of Education—is a global, not-for-profit membership association with a vision to advance education to transform lives and society. 

We are the home for advancement professionals, inspiring, challenging, and equipping them to act effectively and with integrity to champion the success of their institutions. CASE defines the competencies and standards for the profession of advancement, leading, and championing their dissemination and application with more than 97,000 advancement professionals at 3,100 member institutions in 80 countries. 

Broad and growing communities of professionals gather under the global CASE umbrella. Currently, these include alumni relations, development services, communications, fundraising, government relations, and marketing. These professionals are at all stages of their careers and may be working in universities, schools, colleges, cultural institutions, or other not-for-profits. CASE uses the intellectual capital and professional talents of an army of volunteers to advance its work, and our membership includes many corporate partners in the education sector. 

Headquartered in Washington DC, CASE works across all continents from its regional offices in London, Singapore, and Mexico City to achieve a seamless experience for all our stakeholders, particularly our members, volunteers, and staff.