SUNY honors Sturman for innovations in instructional technology

Published May 21, 2024


Steven Sturman

Steven Sturman.

Steven Sturman, an instructional designer in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, will receive the FACT2 Award for Excellence in Instructional Support at a State-Operated or Statutory Campus. The honor, awarded by the State University of New York (SUNY), symbolizes SUNY’s dedication to advancing the boundaries of educational technology and underscores its commitment to the use of technology to support instruction, research and service.

Sturman will accept his award at SUNY’s Conference on Instruction and Technology (CIT), which will be held at UB from May 21-24.

The FACT2 Excellence in Instructional Support award acknowledges the exemplary contributions of staff who promote innovative applications of educational technologies to enhance teaching and learning within SUNY. Recipients demonstrate a keen ability to identify opportunities and craft strategies to effectively integrate technology into the curriculum and align it with learning objectives.

Sturman has been integral to the development and implementation of HyFlex classes, both within the UB School of Social Work and across SUNY. HyFlex is a hybrid and flexible model of instruction, which creates student-centered, flexible courses that allow students to attend class in the manner that best suits their learning needs and balance their schoolwork with other life obligations.

Throughout his two years on SUNY’s HyFlex course development project, Sturman has trained 125 faculty members across multiple SUNY campuses, demonstrating the practical ability of the HyFlex model to integrate in-person-based teaching strategies with remote synchronous and asynchronous learners. Sturman also has provided individualized support across SUNY campuses and created a Community of Practice for trained faculty and staff. The Community of Practice encourages HyFlex instructors across SUNY to share their experience with the HyFlex model and what strategies are most successful for them.

For the 2023-2024 academic year, Sturman took on a lead role in the HyFlex course development project. As a lead, Sturman continues offering train-the-trainer sessions, focusing on increasing support for faculty and staff implementing the HyFlex model.

“It is nice to be able to showcase the expertise we have been developing in the School of Social Work and share that with institutions across the SUNY system,” Sturman says.

Outside his work with the HyFlex course development project, Sturman leads other projects that encourage the effective integration and use of technology in the School of Social Work. Examples include developing and implementing virtual reality in the DSW program, guiding the use of artificial intelligence in classrooms, helping to facilitate the transition from Blackboard to the Brightspace learning management system, and supporting the inSocialWork podcast

Associate Professor Lisa Butler, who recommended Sturman for the award, summed up his impact by saying: “In short, Steven Sturman is immensely deserving of this recognition for his exceptional and indispensable encouragement, facilitation and support for the adoption and implementation of innovative instructional technologies in our school over many years.”