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Yakut Gazi Wins Award for Contributions to the Future of Online Learning

Associate Dean of Learning Systems positions Georgia Tech as a leader in at-scale learning

Yakut Gazi, Ph.D., associate dean of Learning Systems at Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE), the lifetime learning arm of the Georgia Institute of Technology, received the 2021 Certificate of Merit from the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), the only engineering education society dedicated to the professional needs of engineering educators across all disciplines.  

With nearly 20 years of service to higher education institutions in the United States and globally, the award recognizes Gazi’s leadership, championship, and commitment to quality online education at-scale.  

“Yakut has been making “good trouble” for years -- providing students around the world access to education at an affordable cost in a noble cause and calling,” said Lisa Stephens, Ph.D., assistant dean for Digital Education in the UB School of Engineering and senior strategist for Academic Innovation in the Office of the State University of New York (SUNY). 

Presented in a virtual ceremony on March 26, 2021, the award highlights the impact of the Affordable Degrees at-Scale Symposium, an annual signature event for Georgia Tech and brainchild of Gazi and Nelson Baker, Ph.D., dean of Professional Education.  

"It’s not a hyperbole to say that the “art of the possible” became a reality for hundreds of SUNY instructional support staff during the symposium,” shared Kim Scalzo, Ph.D., executive director of Open SUNY, in Gazi’s nomination letter. 

Since the introduction of Georgia Tech’s Online Master of Science in Computer Science (OMSCS), the first-ever affordable online degree-at-scale, five years ago, as many as 45 new online degrees-at-scale programs now exist in the market. The Affordable Degrees-at-Scale Symposium supports these higher education institutions that are creating similar programs to meet the need for affordable, accessible, and high-quality online programs. 

When Gazi hosted the first symposium in 2017, it attracted 57 attendees from peer institutions. At this year’s virtual symposium, held in March, more than 500 attendees from higher education institutions from all over the world attended and featured 19 speakers from universities in the United States, India, and The Netherlands. 

“As our workforce continues to evolve and diversify to match the pace of change, many institutions have been actively exploring scaling up their online education to meet the needs of new and returning students,” noted Baker. “Yakut has been instrumental in leading initiatives that create and deliver world-class content to learners across the globe, positioning Georgia Tech as a leader in the delivery of 21st-century professional education." 

As the associate dean for Learning Systems at GTPE, Gazi comes with a wealth of international experience in instructional design and technology, having worked at higher education institutions in the United States, Qatar, Turkey, and Spain since 1993. In her role at the Institute, she oversees a Learning Design Team that curates the expertise of Georgia Tech faculty into high-touch, personalized content to more than 21,000 learners across Georgia Tech’s online education programs. 

Gazi regularly shares her depth of knowledge and insights to the higher education and business communities. Her most recent work, an international open access book that shares higher education's collective responses to the Covid-19 pandemic, adds yet another important perspective to the ongoing discussion around educational transformation.