Cheryl Dowd Receives National Award for Educational Technology and Distance Education Policy Work

Dowd directs activities and research for state and federal regulatory compliance requirements for SAN member institutions and coordinates WCET’s policy advocacy work

BOULDER, Colorado — Cheryl Dowd, senior director, State Authorization Network (SAN) and WCET Policy Innovations, was recently honored with one of the highest awards of the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA).

The USDLA Eagle Award is presented to a nationally recognized public official that has demonstrated unique leadership in the public policy arena and has a long-standing record of educational technology support as well as the support of the USDLA mission, which includes serving the needs of the distance learning community by providing advocacy, information, networking, and opportunity.

As senior director, Dowd directs the activities and research to manage state and federal regulatory compliance requirements for the out-of-state activities of more than 800 SAN member institutions. SAN is a membership organization within WCET – WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies, the leader in the practice, policy, and advocacy of digital learning in higher education. WCET was founded in 1988 by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) to meet a growing need to integrate distance learning and educational technology into the academic services of higher education institutions in the West and has grown to serve members across the U.S. and Canada.

Dowd also researches the impact of governmental policies and coordinates policy advocacy for WCET members and manages statewide cybersecurity workshops with Homeland Security staff and institutional leadership in the WICHE region.

“Cheryl is an amazing ambassador among regulators, institutional personnel, higher education associations, and consumer protection groups in advocating oversight that best meets all needs,” said Russ Poulin, executive director of WCET. “Additionally, once a regulation is set, she is invaluable in interpreting complex language and helping institutions with compliance strategies. This recognition is well-deserved.”

USDLA recognized Dowd for her tireless work in assisting institutional personnel with understanding regulations and devising strategies to meet their requirements. She is a national leader in advocating for federal and state regulations that achieve the reasonable balance of protecting students and expanding educational opportunities and has worked tirelessly with state regulators, licensure agencies, Veterans groups, and consumer advocates.

Dowd earned her juris doctorate from the University of Richmond, master’s degree in criminal justice from Bowling Green State University, and bachelor’s degree in political science from James Madison University.

Past winners of this prestigious award include Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida, U.S. Department of Education Secretary Richard Riley, then-U.S. Representative and current Colorado Gov. Jared Polis.

Media Contact:

Melanie Sidwell, Director of Communications
Mobile: 303.834.5278 |



About SAN

The State Authorization Network (SAN) is the leader for guidance and support for navigating state and federal regulatory compliance for out-of-state activities of postsecondary institutions.

About WCET

WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies is the leader in the practice, policy, & advocacy of digital learning in higher education. We are a member-driven organization that brings together colleges, universities, higher education organizations, and companies to collectively improve the quality and reach of digital learning programs. Visit


The Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) works collaboratively to expand educational access and excellence for all residents of the West. By promoting innovation, cooperation, resource sharing, and sound public policy, WICHE strengthens higher education’s contributions to the region’s social, economic, and civic life. Visit


This is a sponsored message and does not necessarily represent the views of the Education Writers Association, its board of directors, or its members. Want to see your release on the EWA site? Promote it with EWA.