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January 2006
Volume 1, Number 1

Showcasing Innovation in the Community College

From the Editor

Community colleges are responsible for some of the most innovative programs and practices in higher education: As community college educators, we believe this claim when we hear it, and some of us have even been known to make the claim ourselves. With this new monthly publication, the League seeks to showcase these innovative programs, particularly those that focus on the community aspect of the work we do. Community colleges are home to art galleries, book fairs, film and music (and chocolate!) festivals, archive collections, planetariums, environmental stewardship efforts, publications, volunteer networks, business incubators, workshops for aspiring and established professionals in a variety of fields, and any number of other innovative community outreach programs.

Jonathan borofsky, walking man (on the edge)
oppenheimer collection, gallery of art
location: roof of commons building
johnson county community college
used with permissionFrom internationally known events that draw hundreds of thousands of participants, such as Miami Dade College’s Miami Book Fair International; to celebrated art collections and spaces, such as the Gallery of Art at Johnson County Community College (with close to 200,000 visitors annually); to regional festivals featuring area music, such as Southwest Virginia Community College’s Virginia Mountain Music Festival; to local open-house style events such as Dallas County Community Colleges’ Dia de la Familia, these programs connect college to community and community to lifelong learning.

2005 official miami book 
fair international poster
miami dade college
used with permissionIn some cases, these events are gifts from an institution to the community it serves, a show of appreciation for local support. For some colleges, the outreach activities generate revenue to sustain scholarship or other college and community programs. In addition to promoting goodwill between college and community, these initiatives can also provide experiential learning and leadership opportunities for students and recruiting venues for college courses and programs.

Innovation Showcase is designed to serve as a space for sharing effective practice throughout the field, so if your college is host to a distinctive, innovative program for bringing your community together, we encourage you to join this conversation. Please read the guidelines below and contact a member of the League’s editorial staff for additional information.

Guidelines for Submitting Manuscripts to Innovation Showcase

Innovation Showcase features innovative community college programs, practices, facilities, and partnerships with community or business and industry. Innovation Showcase is a monthly digital publication, distributed electronically and posted on the League website, that includes one 1,500 to 2,000 word article along with two or three photographs illustrating the topic of the article. Author and photographer credits are published with the article.

Contact the editor of the series to discuss your idea. Touching base with an editor can save considerable time. Typically, an editor and author work closely together to target submissions to the audience and to ensure that the manuscript meets the format and style guidelines. Although the call for manuscripts is open and ongoing, authors who take the time to make the connection with the editor first will have a better chance for an article to be accepted quickly.

Focus on the audience. Innovation Showcase is targeted to provide meaningful content for community college faculty, staff, and administrators. Keep in mind that this audience is made up of busy people with hectic schedules and much competition for their time. Authors should use straightforward prose and provide useful content. Remember, too, that Innovation Showcase has an international audience.

Organize the article clearly. One of the most common difficulties of submitting authors is the failure to build a clear organizational structure - one that is easy to follow. Again, the audience for the series is made up of individuals with little time to spare. So, here are some basic guidelines regarding organization:

  1. Provide a brief introduction that places the subject in context and forecasts the central idea. This section is typically one to three paragraphs long. It previews the initiative and provides the history and context of the initiative.
  2. Provide major sections with meaningful section titles. Two to five sections that outline the steps in a process or delineate the elements of an initiative will help the reader better understand the message and follow the flow of the piece.
  3. Finish strongly. Include one or two concluding paragraphs that bring the sections together and reinforce the benefits, relevance, utility, or significance of the initiative.
  4. Use Innovation Showcase style. Manuscripts are generally 1,500 to 2,000 words in length. References or citations, long quotations, and the names of individuals should be avoided unless absolutely necessary. If citations or quotations are necessary, please provide full references and permissions. To avoid inconsistencies and errors, rely on dictionaries and language manuals in lieu of digital spelling and grammar checkers. Finally, please do not use electronic tracking in your manuscript.

Include four to six digital photographs with your article. With your manuscript, please submit four to six digital photographs (.jpg or .gif file format) that illustrate the program, event, activity, facility, etc., along with the name of the photographer for each photograph. If the manuscript is selected for publication, the editors will select two or three photographs to use with the article.

Submit the manuscript and photographs. The manuscript must be submitted as a Word document. Attach the manuscript and the digital photograph files (.jpg or .gif file format) to an email message addressed to Cynthia Wilson at wilson@league.org.

If you have any questions or would like additional information, please contact Cynthia Wilson at wilson@league.org or (480) 705-8200, ext. 238, or Boo Browning at browning@league.org or (480) 705-8200, ext. 227.

Cynthia Wilson, Editor