Celebrate Faculty and Staff Innovation With Innovation of the Year Awards
November 2013, Volume 8, Number 11
From the League
The League’s Innovation of the Year competition was established over 25 years ago as a way to recognize significant innovations at community colleges. The award is designed to recognize faculty, staff, and administrators who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the institution’s ability to serve students and the community.
Each year, League Alliance member colleges determine their own eligibility criteria and selection protocol, and submit their winning Innovation of the Year to the League. Granting this award provides a venue for showcasing these innovations and the dedicated community college educators who strive for excellence on a daily basis. Winners are not only recognizing locally by their institutions, but nationally through participation in the League’s annual Innovations conference and Innovator Spotlight online conference. Each year, all winners are featured in a late spring/early summer issue of Innovation Showcase.
This sample of past winners highlights the creative and innovative work being done by some of the best and brightest in the community college world. Join them by submitting your college’s winning innovation by April 12, 2014!
Learning and Teaching
Community College of Baltimore County
Adjunct Teaching Learning and Scholarship (ATLAS) Learning Community
ATLAS engages a cohort of veteran adjunct faculty representing diverse disciplines, in the study, discussion, and implementation of high-impact pedagogical practices in writing-enriched courses. Through ATLAS, CCBC has provided adjunct faculty a professional development context and forum to sustain critical discourse in a community of inquiry. Participants received a stipend for participation in the year-long learning community which featured four face-to-face meetings, online discussions, and the development and presentation of a teaching project. Program activities also included the reading of a focus book (John Bean’s Engaging Ideas: The Professor's Guide to Integrating Writing, Critical Thinking, and Active Learning in the Classroom) and related articles/resources.
Student Services and Activities
Central Community College
Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success
In 2011, CCC received one of 15 U.S. Department of Education grants to create a series of best practices for veteran students. The college established dedicated Veteran’s Resource Centers (VRC) on three campuses with online presence for rural veterans. Through partnerships with the VA Hospital, Vocational Rehabilitation, and community agencies, these one stop shops provide a dedicated place for personal, academic, financial, physical, social, and career counseling, as well as advocacy through a variety of creative programs and institutional policy changes. One program, a mandatory faculty/staff boot camp, addressed comprehensive needs of veterans: reintegration challenges in the classroom, PTSD, and brain injuries. This program trained 95% of CCC, 10 Nebraska colleges, and 8 organizations; impacted 4,500 participants; and comprises a webinar to instruct new employees. Overall, the VRC has increased retention rates by 14% and completion rates by 18%.
Workforce Preparation and Development
Southern Alberta Institute of Technology
SAIT's Downtown Culinary Campus
In September 2012, SAIT’s downtown Culinary Campus opened in the heart of Calgary. This 10,000 square foot facility includes a state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, bakery, and marketplace. Culinary students from SAIT’s main campus are rotated through this world-class facility. Under the guidance of our chef instructors, the students provide a weekday lunch service and sell their culinary creations in the facility’s marketplace to literally hundreds of downtown workers—up to 900 customers every day. This lets our students experience the amazing energy and authenticity of true experiential learning. The facility also hosts late afternoon and weekend continuing education cooking classes, as well as team building events for downtown corporate clients. This campus would not have been possible without the tremendous work and dedication of our SAIT team, which put in hundreds of hours on weekdays, weekends, and holidays to turn this innovative vision into reality.
South Seattle Community College
13th Year Promise Scholarship
College doors have opened for hundreds of Seattle-area high school seniors, thanks to the 13th Year Promise Scholarship at SSCC. The program, first of its kind in the state, guarantees graduating seniors the opportunity to attend the college tuition-free for one year, along with support services to help them succeed. The 13th Year Promise Scholarship was launched in partnership with Cleveland High School in 2008 and extended to Chief Sealth International High School three years later. Research shows that students who have a high school diploma and one year of college with a workforce certificate or degree reach a tipping point for earning living-wage jobs and/or continuing college. The scholarship is primarily designed to provide access to higher education, particularly for under-represented, low-income, and first generation students. More than half of 13th Year Scholars say they would not have enrolled without it. The program is funded by financial aid and philanthropy, and plans call for more expansion.
Basic Skills and Developmental Education
San Diego Miramar College
Basic Skills and Developmental Education Innovation
San Diego Miramar College’s innovation is the purposefully planned collaboration and integration of multiple Basic Skills (BSI) Programs that together, have combined to improve basic skills student success, retention, and persistence. How have we done this? Our BSI Committee has dedicated itself to systematically coordinate multi-pronged interventions in counseling, math, English, and CTE to improve student outcomes from multiple angles: Instructional assistants working in a new basic skills-focused English Lab; supplemental instruction for basic skills math classes; directed CTE workshops/tutoring; targeted counseling in and out of BSI classes leading to more Ed Plans and student awareness of campus services; systemic changes to pre-college writing courses via increased instructor collaboration; and utilization of portfolio assessment. Together, these interventions are creating more successful students, who are taking and passing more basic skills and transfer-level course.
Research, Assessment, and Accountability
Central Piedmont Community College
Jumpstart for Institutional Research
The office of institutional research at CPCC developed a process for replicating their data extraction and analysis process to increase data capacity in college IR offices across the country. The method is low cost, highly efficient, and can be continued from year to year with only the cost of SAS site license renewal. It involves colleges uploading one term’s data to a cloud, mapping the college’s data, making a site visit to the college, creating SAS datasets, and installing the data mart file structure. All colleges that participate will have a common dataset and all programs written for any of them (including CPCC) will work for all of them. Colleges that implement the process will dramatically increase the capacity of their IR offices and will be able to support the culture of evidence at their respective colleges. Staff in CPCC’s IR department approached several state community college systems and national initiatives about funding the adoption of CPCC’s IR process.
Leadership and Organization
Asheville-Buncombe Technical Community College
Competency-Based Employee Performance Management and Evaluation System
A-B Tech developed a competency-based employee performance management and evaluation system and integrated it with the college’s professional development initiative. The limitation of A-B Tech’s original performance system, which had a binary scale and provided minimal evaluation of professional growth of employees, was identified. A cross-functional task force developed sets of competencies the college needed to realize its vision, mission, and values. The outcome included core competencies for all college employees plus role-based competencies. In all, the task force identified 9 Core, 6 Faculty, 7 Faculty Chair, 5 Supervisor, 5 Manager, and 5 Executive competencies. A Lickert scale ranging from “unacceptable” to “exceeds expectations” was defined as a rating system for each competency. Professional development offerings have been restructured to intentionally address one or more competencies.