Innovations in the community college can be thought of as streams that flow through the larger body of work educators and students engage in each day. The Innovations conference incorporates ideas, initiatives, and inspirations from eight vital streams into the broader conference goal of encouraging and facilitating student and organizational learning through innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation. The conference features forum sessions, roundtable discussions, learning center courses, and poster sessions for each Innovations stream, along with general session keynotes aimed at inspiring innovation and change in all areas of community college education.
Join the most energetic professionals in community colleges as they come together to showcase their model programs, share lessons learned, and look to the future by exploring Innovations in (1) learning and teaching (2) leadership and organization (3) workforce preparation and development (4) student services and activities (5) basic skills and developmental education (6) resource development and foundation management (7) research, assessment, and accountability (8) diversity, equity and inclusion (9) open educational resources.
Community college professionals continue to develop new and innovative ways of approaching learning and teaching, many of which promote the learning-centered movement. This conference stream affords educators the opportunity to share their innovations with colleagues around the world. Classroom assessment and research, learning styles, learning communities, service learning, distance learning strategies, interactive computer-aided instruction, multimedia in the classroom, ethics in instruction, and critical-thinking skills development are only a few of the wide range of instructional strategies featured.
| Leadership and Organization
Accountability mandates, fluctuating funding, demographic shifts, and the rapid pace of change continue to challenge community college administrators to explore innovative strategies for leadership and organization. Learning organizations, knowledge management, quality principles, liberation management, and leading from the soul are only a few of the techniques used today to meet community college leadership challenges. In this stream, the League invites colleagues committed to transforming their community colleges to share their leadership, organizational, and staff development programs, processes, and perspectives in an effort to help all community college leaders learn how to blend diverse innovations together to make a difference in community college education.
| Workforce Preparation and Development
The League for Innovation's Workforce Initiative explores the many ways community colleges are meeting the workforce needs of their communities. In a continuing effort to further this initiative, this stream highlights the individual and collaborative work of community colleges, K-12 institutions, businesses, and government agencies in contract training, continuing education, tech-prep programs, school-to-work initiatives, work-based learning activities, business and industry training, integrated academic and technical learning models, college and career transitions, and community college and industry partnerships. Some of these initiatives include the exploration of e-learning in workforce training, as well as the certification of workplace skills.
The diverse needs and backgrounds of community college students have challenged student services personnel to develop and implement some of the most innovative approaches to serving students in higher education. Exciting methods for tackling the challenges of recruiting, admissions, advising, assessment, accessibility, orientation, early warning systems, learning support systems, enrollment management, retention services, and counseling are featured in this stream. This stream also presents a wide array of student activity and leadership programs.
| Basic Skills and Developmental Education
The increasing needs of community college students demand that basic skills educators develop new and innovative ways to help underprepared students become successful members of a community of learners. This stream showcases a variety of organizational and instructional strategies to improve basic skills and developmental education programs in community colleges, including placement testing, assertive advising, peer tutoring, targeted mentoring, support groups, technology tools, faculty training, and outcomes assessment. Innovations in GED programs, adult high school, developmental education, and other basic skills programs are also featured in this stream.
| Resource Development and Foundation Management
Out of vision and necessity, community colleges have long been entrepreneurs in various areas of resource development and fundraising. Yet many community colleges have not realized their full potential in all of these areas. This stream highlights successful models and future directions in private fundraising, corporate and private sector relations, alumni programs, federal and state grants, local fundraising, development offices, and performance contracting.
| Research, Assessment, and Accountability
Increased calls for accountability at federal, state, and local levels challenge colleges to strengthen their assessment systems and more clearly document institutional and student outcomes. This stream showcases innovative strategies and useful models of institutional research; institutional effectiveness and planning; responses to accountability mandates; quality criteria and measures; course and program review and revision; and direct measures of student learning.
| Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion|
Moving beyond tolerance to appreciation of the distinctive ethnicities, languages, cultures, and life and learning styles of both students and education professionals is fundamental to the community college open-door mission. Just as inclusive learning spaces are a must for promoting equitable, appropriate support of underrepresented learners, inclusive working spaces are essential for the recruitment and retention of a diverse faculty and staff. The League’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Stream has a special focus on ensuring a safe, welcoming, inclusive environment for all students and employees.
Dedicated to examining, evaluating, and sharing effective and promising practices, the League's focus on sustainability explores the ways community colleges are working to make their campuses and communities not only more environmentally responsible, but also as self-sustaining as possible. This conference stream offers technical assistance, resource development, and collaborative connections to professionals engaged in sustainability projects, environmental initiatives, and green-industry certifications.
| Open Educational Resources|
The use of open educational resources (OER) – offered freely for anyone to use, remix, improve, and redistribute – has shaped a new frontier for learning. Ranging from full courses, modules, textbooks, and assessments to streaming video, software, and countless other educational tools and techniques, OERs are reshaping our digital world. The Innovations Conference OER Stream supports this growing community of educators who are focused on increasing access and innovation in teaching and learning.