Celebrating 45 Years of Fostering Community College Innovation

League for Innovation
Innovation Showcase

In 2013, the League marks its 45th year of promoting community college innovation, experimentation, and institutional transformation. Through conferences, projects, publications, and other resources, the League offers opportunities for community college educators to explore the innovations of others and to showcase their own. As you celebrate innovation at your college, we invite you to use League events, publications, and project resources to stimulate discussion and foster innovation not only on your campus, but also with colleagues around the world. The following paragraphs describe opportunities and resources you may have missed or may want to revisit in the coming year.

Innovation of the Year Awards 

Each year the League celebrates the creativity and ingenuity of community college educators through the Innovation of the Year Awards. All League Alliance Member institutions are eligible to participate in the Innovation of the Year Awards program. Submit your local winner information to the League by March 13, 2013, or contact LaRita Phillips for more information.

Significant Discussions: A Guide for Secondary and Postsecondary Curriculum Alignment 

Developed with considerable input and feedback from a group of community college educators and their secondary school partners, this guide is designed to facilitate conversations leading to smoother, more successful transitions for students from high school to college and careers. The guide includes sections and worksheets for getting started, conducting a gap analysis, aligning curriculum, and assessing the impact of the effort, as well as recommendations for next steps at individual, institutional, and system levels. It also includes practical worksheets and numerous resources to assist in this work.   

Significant Discussions and Developmental Math 

To help inform math faculty of resources developed by major projects on math and student success, the second Significant Discussions project produced an inventory of these initiatives, available at www.league.org/significantdiscussions_mathaudit. In addition, math faculty from community colleges and their partnering secondary schools held Significant Discussions to align math curriculum. They collaborated on strategies for easing the high-school-to-college transition by eliminating, or greatly reducing, the need for developmental math among recent high school graduates. Descriptions of their work will be posted on the website, www.league.org/significantdiscussions, in coming weeks.

Getting Connected 

Researchers from The University of Arizona and Claremont Graduate University are exploring, in eight community colleges, the ability of social media to improve student engagement and increase student retention. Two project publications are available for free download: Social Media in Higher Education: A Literature Review and Research Directionsand The Role of Social Media in Community Colleges. The project continues in 2013, so watch the website for additional materials.

Next Generation Learning Challenges (NGLC)

The League is a partner in this initiative led by EDUCAUSE. NGLC seeks, through the applied use of information technology, to dramatically improve college readiness and completion in the United States, especially among low-income young adults. Focus areas include college completion, college readiness, and breakthrough models that point to the future of higher education. Additional information, including descriptions of the various projects funded by NGLC, is available at www.nextgenlearning.org.

Walmart Brighter Futures Project

This project was designed to help dislocated workers acquire 21st century job skills and obtain jobs requiring these skills, and to increase academic progression, retention, and completion rates for dislocated workers. Eight U.S. community colleges located in areas experiencing high rates of job loss and unemployment were selected to work with their local and regional workforce development community to offer a variety of services and training to people seeking employment. The report on the project, Community Colleges Creating Brighter Futures for Dislocated Workers, features exemplary practices and student success stories at the participating colleges. 

The Nature of Innovation in the Community College

In 2010, the League conducted a study of the nature of innovation in the community college. Focusing on Innovation of the Year Award recipients over a ten-year span, researchers used surveys and interviews to explore characteristics of innovators; the genesis of innovations; college support for innovations; the impact, evaluation, and sustainability of innovations; and ways colleges encourage innovation. The report on their findings also includes guidelines for innovators. To download the report and its accompanying video, visit www.league.org/natureofinnovation.

Project SAIL 

This national network promotes access, exchange, and dissemination of specialized industry-driven programs anywhere and anytime for community college students. Project SAIL targets Specialty Asynchronous Industry Learning content, provides access to existing programs and degrees, and has developed a model curriculum/content-exchange system. Project SAIL exchanges allow students to pursue specialty training in programs that may not be available in their local service area, and provide opportunities for colleges that offer specialty training programs to help those students achieve their goals.

Getting Results 

Produced by WGBH-Boston in cooperation with the League for Innovation in the period from 2004 to 2006, Getting Results is a modularized, online, community college faculty development program. It was initially designed for adjunct faculty in STEM disciplines who work in ATE centers and projects; however, the pedagogical principles underlying the modules are applicable across disciplines, and its user-base quickly expanded to include a wide range of full-time and part-time faculty. The program is available at www.league.org/gettingresults.


The League publishes three online periodicals, Leadership Abstracts, Learning Abstracts, and Innovation Showcase, with new issues announced each month in our newsletter, League Connections. Leadership Abstracts explores major leadership issues in the community college; Learning Abstracts fosters continuing conversations about learning and chronicles the efforts of community colleges that are focused on student learning, success, and completion; and Innovation Showcase features the distinctive ways community colleges engage with the students and communities they serve. The League maintains an open call for manuscripts for these three publications; click on the title of each publication to learn more and to access author guidelines.

Member Spotlight

Each month the League features Alliance member colleges in the Member Spotlight section of League Connections.League Alliance Members are invited to submit Member Spotlight articles related to a special achievement or innovative program, partnership, or activity at their college.