Innovation of the Year Award

The 2020 Innovation of the Year Awards are open March 16 to May 31, 2020.

The League’s Innovation of the Year Award was devised as a way to recognize significant innovations at Board and Alliance member colleges. These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of 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 recognizes one top Innovation of the Year from each participating institution per year. Recipients of winning innovations receive Innovation of the Year Award certificates, acknowlegement on the League's website, and invitations to present their innovations at the 2021 Innovations Conference.


The League will provide award program guidelines to the designated Innovation of the Year Award contact* at each League Board or Alliance member institution by the award's opening date. Participating institutions will announce the Innovation of the Year competition internally. It is recommended that each member college or district create a committee to establish eligibility criteria and selection protocol. (The League does not facilitate the selection process.) Applications should be encouraged from all areas of the college: full- and part-time instructors, student services staff, administrators, and support personnel.

Information about submitting your institution's winning innovation to the League is coming soon.

*The designated Innovation of the Year Award contact at each institution is responsible for administering this award and submitting a winning innovation. 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. When submitting your college's winner, please select the criteria that most strongly apply to the innovation.

  • 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. Quality is difficult to measure, but the committees might want to wrestle with criteria that define quality in their 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 selected 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.


The League will recognize Innovation of the Year Award winners by

  • Sending each recipient an honorary certificate** within three weeks of the closing date;
  • Posting information about award winning innovations on the League website;
  • Inviting award winners to submit manuscripts to League publications;
  • Inviting recipients to share their innovations at the 2021 Innovations Conference (neither honoraria nor expenses are provided to chosen presenters);
  • Highlighting winners at the Innovations Conference via onsite signage and general session slideshows; and
  • Inviting award winners who attend the Innovations Conference to an exclusive awards reception.
**Colleges or districts planning special award ceremonies should notify the League office as early as possible regarding the winning innovation and the timeline under which they are working. The League will make every effort to get the certificate(s) to the institution in time for the awards ceremony, but must have at least three weeks’ notice.


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

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

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