Innovation of the Year Awards

2023-2024 Innovation of the Year Awards Open January 8 to April 12, 2024

Established over 35 years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year Awards were devised as a way to recognize significant innovations at Board and Alliance member colleges. These innovations reflect significant achievements and the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded. The award honors faculty, staff, and administrators at member colleges who have created and implemented innovative programs, practices, partnerships, policies, and activities that improve the institution’s ability to serve students and the community.


The League does not facilitate the selection process. Participating institutions announce the Innovation of the Year Awards competition internally. It is recommended that each member college or district* create a committee to establish local eligibility criteria and selection protocol. Applications should be encouraged from all areas of the college: full- and part-time instructors, student services staff, administrators, and support personnel.

  • Winning Innovations: After choosing a winning innovation according to its own guidelines, each League Board or Alliance college or district submits its selection via the online application. One winning innovation will be accepted from each college/district.
  • Local Finalists: Districts or systems with multiple colleges or campuses are also encouraged to email information about college-based finalists for the district award to Kelly Dooling, subject line "IOY Award Finalists."

The designated Innovation of the Year Award contact at each institution is responsible for administering this award and submitting a winning innovation online; district-based contacts may also email finalist information as indicated above.

*A district may hold League membership for all the colleges in the district; the overall winner selected from among the district colleges is the Innovation of the Year winner and the remaining college winners are local finalists. Similarly, a college may hold League membership, which extends to all its campuses; the overall college winner is submitted to the League and the remaining campus winners are the local finalists.

Innovation of the Year Award FAQ

Click here for detailed information about how award recipients are recognized by the League.

(College-based finalists for district awards are recognized on the League’s website and invited to submit manuscripts to League publications.)


The Innovation of the Year Award primary contact for your institution will need the following information in order to complete the online application.

Title and Description

A title and description of the award-winning innovation is required as part of the submission process. (100 character limit for title; 1,000 character limit for description)


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. When submitting your college's winning innovation, please select the criteria that most strongly apply:

  • Quality. Students and/or staff agree that the innovation increases quality in the course, program, office, or institution. Evidence of quality may include student ratings or letters of support from colleagues.
  • Efficiency. There is evidence that the innovation contributes to a more efficient way of doing things. Student ratings, perceptions of outside consultants, and pre- and post-comparison of time involved are examples of evidence.
  • Cost Effectiveness. There is evidence that the innovation adds value to the institution while at the same time containing or reducing costs. Cost data will serve as evidence.
  • Replication. The innovation can be replicated at other institutions with a minimum of difficulty.
  • Creativity. The innovation should be original or the adaptation creative. The program description or letters from experts are examples of evidence.
  • Timeliness. The innovation should be no more than five years old at the institution, but must have been around long enough to have been tested so that it meets most of the criteria.
  • Other. Other ways that the innovation is worthy of this award.

Recognition by the Institution

Submissions should indicate how the college, district, or system will recognize the award-winning innovation and associated team members. (300 character limit)

If you have any questions about these awards, please contact Linda Back.


2022-2023 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2023 League Awards Program

2021-2022 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2022 League Awards Program

2022 League Awards Slideshow

2020-2021 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2021 League Awards Program

2021 League Awards Slideshow

2019-2020 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

2020 League Awards Program

2020 League Awards Slideshow

2019 Innovation of the Year Award Winners

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

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