Innovation of the Year Award

Innovation of the Year Awards Open February 26 - May 2, 2019

Established over 30 years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year Award was devised as a way to recognize significant innovations at League Board and Alliance member colleges. These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded. This award is designed to recognize innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the ability of institutions to serve students and the community, and to honor the faculty, staff, and administrators who have created and implemented them. Granting this award provides a venue for showcasing these innovations and the dedicated community college educators who strive for excellence on a daily basis.

League Board and Alliance colleges determine their own eligibility criteria and selection protocol, and each college or system submits its award-winning innovation using the 2019 Innovation of the Year Award Application. Each college may only submit one award-winning innovation.

The designated Innovation of the Year Award contact at each institution is responsible for administering this award and submitting names. Please contact your president or chancellor to find out who the primary contact is at your college.


Winning innovations should fall into one of the following categories.

  • Basic Skills and Developmental Education
  • Leadership and Organization
  • Learning and Teaching
  • Research, Assessment, and Accountability
  • Resource Development
  • Student Services and Activities
  • Workforce Preparation and Development
  • Other


Winning innovations should meet one or more of the following criteria.

  • Quality. Students and/or staff agree that the innovation increases quality in the course, program, office, or institution.
  • Efficiency. The innovation contributes to more efficient processes.
  • Cost Effectiveness. The innovation adds value to the institution while containing or reducing costs.
  • Replication. The innovation is easy to replicate at other institutions.
  • Creativity. The innovation is original and creative.
  • Timeliness. The innovation is not more than five years old at the institution, allowing plenty of time for it to be tested.


To begin the nomination process, each college announces the Innovation of the Year Award competition at its institution. The individual college or district forms a local committee to establish institution-specific criteria and select an award winner. The League encourages participating colleges to seek nominations from all areas of the college, including full- and part-time instructors, student services staff, administrators, and support personnel. The award celebrates the innovation as well as those who designed and implemented it; therefore, a single nomination will include both the innovation and the people who developed it.


Each participating college determines the selection process it will use and follows that process to select its Innovation of the Year Award recipient. The college shares information about the winning innovation with the League, including a brief description of the innovation and the names, job titles, and a photograph of the personnel who developed the innovation. The League presents an Innovation of the Year Award to each participating college for its winning innovation.


The guidelines for submitting institutional winners for consideration are sent directly to the individual designated as the primary contact at each League Alliance member college. Please contact your president or chancellor to find out who the primary contact is at your college.

Honoring Award Recipients

Participating colleges have a variety of ways to celebrate their local winners and further emphasize the value of innovation in community college education. Some colleges plan special award ceremonies, recognition programs, receptions, or dinners to honor and celebrate their award recipients. A number of colleges provide each member of the winning team with funding to attend a League conference. Participating colleges often issue news releases announcing the selection, and some publish pamphlets or booklets featuring the winning innovation. 

The League recognizes Innovation of the Year Award winners by

  • Sending each recipient an honorary certificate;
  • Inviting recipients to share their innovations at the next year's Innovations Conference;
  • Posting information about award winning innovations on the League website; and
  • Highlighting winners at Innovations Conference general sessions via revolving PowerPoint slideshows.

2018 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2017 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2016 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2015 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

To find out more about this award and how your college can participate, contact Sherry Sklar.

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