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The 2018 Turnitin Global Innovation Awards celebrate students, educators, researchers and institutions with a passion for academic integrity and a commitment to student learning through the use of Turnitin tools. There were 916 nominations representing 17 different countries in this year’s awards. An international panel of academics and previous finalists picked this year’s winners from each of the seven global regions in the categories of Excellence in Academic Integrity and Learning with Integrity. In its four-year history, the Global Innovation Awards have recognized over 200 individuals and learning institutions for outstanding efforts and contributions to education with integrity. We commend these honorees for their dedication to original writing and authentic work across disciplines and educational levels.

This year’s overall winner is Erica Flinspach, Senior Integrity Officer and Turnitin Administrator for the University of South Africa (UNISA). UNISA is one of the largest university systems in the world and the largest distance education institution in the southern hemisphere. Recognized by an international panel of judges for her dedication to the use of Turnitin, Erica also impressed the Turnitin Team itself with her story. Carly Dove, a Senior Marketing Manager for Turnitin based in Newcastle, England, remarked: "Erica is a long time user of Turnitin and Administrator for one of the largest universities in the world as far as student enrollment goes. As Turnitin has evolved to support academic integrity, she has picked up on this and pushed for a role as Senior Integrity Officer, so that Turnitin and academic integrity are synonymous at this institution. It's what we would hope for at most institutions!"

With over 400,000 students, from over 130 countries worldwide, UNISA brings together a diverse and geographically dispersed student body. Erica works with colleagues to create a strong culture of ethical behavior at scale, utilizing Turnitin to create meaningful connections between students and supervisors, as well as establish a lifelong foundation of integrity. She says: 

"[Academic integrity] is one of our university values. Being a student or a person who can be proud of the work done and exiting the university with original work, having done their own research, having completed their own study, would also prepare them for the challenges that they might face in the future."

Our Global Innovation Award Runner-Up is Maribel Avila Sastre, Virtual Academic Platforms Administrator from the e-Learning Center at the Universidad del Rosario in Colombia. Maribel and her colleagues strongly believe that that academic integrity is an essential element of education. The e-Learning Center promotes the effective use of Turnitin tools beyond the originality check and formative feedback: with Maribel’s help, instructors work to prioritize students’ needs in order to cultivate a strong, overall learning experience.

"Besides the reports and percentages, we want [Turnitin] to be part of a plan of action... the tool is the main element but it’s not just a tool: it’s a pedagogical instrument we have been given… [E]ducation is changing, it’s evolving. Even when you use new tools and technology, the important thing is to always think about what’s best and positive for the students."

Below is the list of honorees: check out each individual story and learn more about how they champion academic integrity around the world. 


Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Max Watson, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Korea

Honorable Mention: Pushpamala Perera, Sri Lanka Institute of Information Technology, Sri Lanka

Honorable Mention: Rajneesh Choubisa, Birla Institute of Technology and Science, India

Australia/New Zealand

Excellence in Academic Integrity: Higher Education

Winner: Sarah Dowling, Trinity College, University of Melbourne, Australia

Honorable Mention: Jason Stephens, University of Auckland, New Zealand

Honorable Mention: Amy Emanuel, Christian Heritage College Higher Education, Australia

Excellence in Academic Integrity: Secondary Education

Winner: Sherna Matta, Baradene College of the Sacred Heart, New Zealand

Honorable Mention: Susan Koefer, Torrens Valley Christian School, Australia

Honorable Mention: Cathy Hill, St Andrew’s Cathedral School, Australia


Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Maria del Olmo Bañuelos, Les Roches Marbella International School of Hotel Management, Spain

Honorable Mention: Samia Hossfeld, Business and Hotel Management School, Switzerland

Honorable Mention: Ruslan Penchev, International Business School, Bulgaria

Latin America & Caribbean

Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Maribel Avila Sastre, Universidad del Rosario, Colombia

Special Commendation: Marco Sepulveda Medina, Chamber of Deputies (Cámara de Diputados), Chile

Honorable Mention: Paolo Cuya Chamilco, Universidad CĂ©sar Vallejo, Peru

Honorable Mention: Maritza Alvarez Feliz, Colegio Saint Michael's, Dominican Republic

Middle East & Africa

Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Erica Flinspach, University of South Africa, South Africa

Honorable Mention: Dr. Smitha Sunil Kumaran Nair, Middle East College, Oman

Honorable Mention: Prashant Bhushan Pandley, Aga Khan Academy Mombasa, Kenya

North America and Canada

Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Andrea Arnold, Caldwell High School, USA

Honorable Mention: Dr. Amel Ben Abdesslem, George Mason University, USA

Honorable Mention: Lisa Russell, Indiana University Southeast, USA

United Kingdom and Ireland

Excellence in Academic Integrity

Winner: Teresa Johnson, Swindon College, UK

Honorable Mention: Graeme Kelly, Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland

Honorable Mention: Technology Enhanced Learning Team, Barnet Southgate College, UK

Learning with Integrity 

Special Commendation: Azin Aminian, Australian National University, Australia 

Special Commendation: Karen Sheldrake, Coleg Sir Gâr, Wales, UK

Special Commendation: Emilia Illana Mahiques, University of Iowa, US