Award-Winning Programs at League Member Institutions Exemplify Community College Innovation

From the League
Innovation Showcase

Congratulations to the 2023-2024 Innovation of the Year Award winners from 28 participating League member colleges! The League initiated the Innovation of the Year Award over 35 years ago to recognize local community college programs and initiatives that reflect the spirit of innovation and experimentation on which our organization was founded. The award provides an opportunity for colleges to showcase their innovative efforts; celebrate the dedicated educators, staff, and administrators who are responsible for this exceptional work; and promote a culture of innovation at their institutions.

Some of this year’s winning innovations are described below. Click here for a full list. Individual institution pages provide details about award winners.

Not a member? Learn about how your college can participate in League Awards here.

Central Community College

Transition Advantage Scholarship: Early College Bridge Program

The Transition Advantage Scholarship (TAS) started in 2016 to foster early college enrollment, grow secondary partnerships, and enhance matriculation of full-time students. Dual-credit students from 81 high schools have the opportunity to earn the scholarship by successfully completing 12 semester credits taught by more than 100 credentialed high school adjunct instructors and faculty at Central Community College (CCC). TAS awards students with an additional 12 semester credits of tuition at no cost to be applied to their first year of attendance. Learn more here.

Foothill-De Anza Community College District

The Physics Show: Engaging the Public in Physics Education and Funding Title 1 School Outreach

The Physics Show is a live performance during which two physics professors, the theater manager, and college students perform hands-on physics demonstrations with engaging and lighthearted commentary to educate the general public about basic physics principles. The professors volunteer their time, and the college donates the use of the facilities. The show engages about 20,000 people annually. The revenue from ticket sales is used to bring about 4,000 students from Title 1 schools to the show each year. Learn more here.

Harper College

Innovation Accelerator: Minimizing Risk While Maximizing Innovation

The world is changing faster than ever, and new technologies are rapidly becoming part of everyday business. Harper College’s Innovation Accelerator—a growing collaborative of forward-thinking faculty, administrators, and business leaders that work to prepare the next generation of professionals for the opportunities of the future—is the answer. The accelerator focuses on rapid development and delivery of emerging technology programming to meet regional employer demands for a skilled workforce. Learn more here.

Merced College

The AgTEC Innovation Center

Merced College’s state-of-the-art AgTEC Innovation Center integrates cutting-edge meat, nut, fruit, and vegetable processing, complemented by advanced nutrition facilities linking research and development to end products. Industry relevance takes center stage with autonomous equipment crafting value-added agriculture products. This visionary initiative adopts competency-based education, developed collaboratively with six other California Community Colleges that are part of the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s Build Back Better Regional Campaign. Learn more here.

Middlesex Community College

Using the Pedagogy of Real Talk for Student Support

A group of dedicated Student Support staff engaged in professional development in the pedagogy of real talk (PRT), and, as a result, conducted a student climate survey in fall 2023. An impressive 44 percent, or 2,323 students, responded to this survey. The survey benchmarked students' sense of belonging and will be repeated next year. The Student Support PRT group shared their data to enable others to appropriately use it to identify demographic differences and trends for targeted interventions. Learn more here.

Northland Pioneer College

Nursing Assistant Integrated Education and Training

The Integrated Education and Training (IET) programs in Northland Pioneer College’s College and Career Prep division support students with low academic skills in efficiently preparing for careers, such as through Nurse Assistant Training (NAT). An eight-week IET-NAT pre-session stresses both classroom and workplace success, front-loading medical terminology, introducing workplace essential skills, and providing support in preparation for the High School Equivalency exam. The program continues with a one-semester Workforce Skills course, corequisite with NAT 101. Learn more here.