2019-2020 Innovation of the Year Award Finalists: Maricopa Community Colleges

Chandler-Gilbert Community College

Concourse Syllabus Pilot Project: Providing Syllabus Solutions Through a Technology-Based Platform

Chandler-Gilbert Community College faculty and leadership came together to brainstorm ways to improve the consistency of dual enrollment (DE) syllabi to comply with Higher Learning Commission (HLC) requirements. The discussion transitioned into an innovative project with the goal of leveraging technology to provide DE instructors with access to a platform where they could consistently and productively create syllabi in compliance with HLC standards with the possibility of sharing these tools collegewide. This pilot project enhanced the quality of syllabus construction and review. It was through the collaboration between multidisciplinary faculty, administration, the Center for Teaching Learning and Assessment (CTLA), and Information Technology that this project met its goals. This summer, the CTLA is training faculty how to use Concourse features, as a new project team was assembled to tackle a collegewide roll out to make this tool available to all faculty.

Innovators: Michael Berry, Carol Crane, Juliet Crocco, Brien Dieterle, Ángel Fuentes, William Guerriero, Enjolie Lafaurie, Aryn Peppin, Gabriela Rosu, Renée Rude, Chris Schnick, Mark Schufletowski, Hayley Steinberg, Donna Thompson, Jeremy Tutty, Corey Weidner, Brian Woodrum, Nilan Yang

District Office

Employee Learn Center

The purpose of this project was to create a system to deliver mandatory training and online learning to 10,000+ employees, maintain systemwide employee transcripts, and generate needed reports. The Maricopa Community Colleges district office sought to provide a districtwide solution for registering, delivering, tracking, managing, and reporting formal, informal, instructor-led, and online learning. This workforce development tool provides access to learning online, classroom, and virtual training as well as online resources. This has led to the creation of Learning Plans where employees are auto-enrolled and sent system-generated reminder notices as well as transcripts that are accessible 24 hours a day. In addition, online courses are immediately available. Since implementation in October 2017, the system has been used by all ten colleges and the district office and supported 2,097 sessions of instructor-led courses with 25,646 enrollments and 247,308 online course completions. In March 2020, 300 online courses were added with over 1000 course completions per week.

Innovators: Jessica Arthur, Karen DeLaVina, Sherrie Faulkner, Megan Faye, Briana Haas-Arvidson, Patricia Honzay, Rayan Klyana, Carolyn Miller, Sara McCarthy, Vicki Nelson, Lin Oliver, Karen Russo Anderson, Stephanie Williams

Estrella Mountain Community College

Skills Credentialing Programs to Enhance Professional Development

Estrella Mountain Community College’s Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL) has innovated how it provides professional development training to faculty and staff. Historically the CTL provided traditional one-hour workshops, which had spotty attendance as a rule. The new multiweek Skills Credentialing programs (e.g., Assessment Practitioner, Advanced Canvas, Basic Video Production) were designed to develop skills and recognize skill acquisition by employees through clear and measurable learning outcomes, authentic assessment, and issuance of digital badges and physical certificates in a college celebration. This innovation improves the leadership and organization of our college by creating, enhancing, and documenting clear and measurable professional development outcomes. It demonstrates quality through alignment with Quality Matters best practices, is replicable to all 10 colleges, is original to the district, and is timely, as it was introduced just last year. Fifty-two employees completed trainings in the fall and 54 are in progress this semester.

Innovators: Chris Celeya, Deborah Cotton, Heather Edwards, Erik Huntsinger, Najmah Muhammad, Daniel Reichstein, Chris Wacaser

GateWay Community College

Wifi Hotspot Lending Program

When schools and libraries are closed, many students have no access to the Internet required for them to complete college classes, certificates, and degrees. In face-to-face classes, students are expected to have access to an Internet-enabled computer for a large portion of their assignments; for online classes, it is required for 100 percent of their coursework. GateWay Community College was the first community college in Arizona to receive Library Services and Technology Act grant funds for this program, which makes mobile hotspots available for student checkout for a four-week period. It is a common misconception that everyone who has a phone has Internet access. Students told us that they were searching at all hours of the night and on weekends for Internet access to complete their assignments, which is an added burden and barrier to student success. Looking back, we were one step ahead of the pandemic's impact and the need to move to 100 percent online. One of the requirements of the grant is that students fill out a survey when they bring the device back.

Innovator: Beth Malapanes

Glendale Community College

LibPorts Library and E-Portfolios

Glendale Community College’s Library and ePortolio System (LibPorts) gives students, faculty, and staff a place to upload their scholarly and creative works. These collections can then be searched like a library, effectively sharing student knowledge with the community and showcasing all the quality work done by the campuses. In addition, all the works a person uploads are placed in their own e-portfolio, where students can showcase themselves. These e-portfolios can be organized in any way a person sees fit and can contain works, resumes, and digital badges. LibPorts provides a critical piece to workforce preparation and development in helping students build their brand and market themselves to employers. Finally, the LibPorts system offers a lot of interaction options and suggests different works based upon a person’s college and pathway to help build a community of scholars.

Innovator: Sean O'Brien

Mesa Community College

Building a Powerful Partnership

Building Powerful Partnerships is a dynamic process essential to ensure that colleges address the workforce needs most important to the economic vitality of their communities. At Mesa Community College, the Arizona Advanced Manufacturing Institute (AzAMI) serves as a labor market-responsive institute designing workforce solutions, and connecting and growing a pipeline of talent for the manufacturing sector. Our partnership with Boeing designed a solution to address the need for 450 additional electrical wiring harness technicians through 2022.  

Innovators: Cesar Becerra, Harvey Johnson, Leah Palmer, Matthew Rayman, Michael Voss

Paradise Valley Community College

Open Educational Resources Specialist Program

The Open Educational Resources (OER) Specialist Program at Paradise Valley Community College builds upon the Maricopa Millions project and is based on the work at College of the Canyons to facilitate more OER content development and increase the number of low- and no-cost courses. The two OER Specialists—part-time technology-savvy students—work with faculty to locate materials and create digital content. The OER Specialists adapt content to new and different mediums and can remix/revise content to the faculty member's needs. In the fall of 2019, eight courses were converted from using traditional textbook materials to OER low-cost content materials resulting in a total student savings of $26,891.45. In the spring of 2020, nine courses were revised with an estimated savings of $43,952.50. The OER Specialist Program provides low- and no-cost OER course options to reduce student's cost to attend college and reduce the time and technology skills needed for faculty to redesign their courses with quality content.

Innovators: David Dwork, Carolyn Miller, Loretta Mondragon, Jessica Parsons

Phoenix College

Neighborhood College

Neighborhood College, a community partnership concept, delivers Phoenix College classes in the community, making them accessible to an ever-increasing population. The concept was born out of a desire to meet students where they are, not just in the philosophical terms of where they are in life, but also in geographical terms. Students find it easy to register and enroll off-campus at their place of employment. Almost all students who have enrolled in a class have completed that class. This has demonstrated a way to increase not only enrollment but also retention outcomes, as these students are more likely to complete a class than traditionally enrolled students. The partners have seen positive outcomes as their staff further their education, which leads to personal improvement and boosts self-esteem. The 223 students served at three partner businesses has generated 110 full-time student enrollments pursuing five degree or certificate pathways in three fields of interest.

Innovators: Orlando Alcordo, Emily Anderson, Carrie Armsby, Doug Berry, Vonzell Cash, Shelyn Celaya, Cindy Cloud, Dawson Dopp, Marty Etchart, Angela Genna, Abeer Hamden, Kay Harrison, Julie Humphrey, Che Jones, Erika Keenan, Heather Kruse, Brandon Larkin, Michael Matos, Brenda Maynard, Debi Moser, Doug Northway, Heather Patterson, Robert Pelletier, Cindy Ramos, Maria Reyes, Nick Rouse, Brenda Starck, Joe Sueyoshi, Daniel Villa Contreras, Julie Voller, Teresa Wadman, Deborah Webster, Bill Williams, Mardy Wilson, Rick Wilson

Scottsdale Community College

Scholars Academy

Participants in the Scottsdale Community College Scholars Academy form a year-long community of practice where they learn about the scholarship of teaching and learning (SoTL) and engage in an action research project, transforming their natural curiosity about student success into a scholarly approach to teaching and learning. The goals of the program include having the participants engage in an action research cycle—planning, acting, observing, and reflecting on their professional teaching practice—and build a community of practice. Twenty-seven faculty have participated in the Scholars Academy, contributing to a growing community of practice, and have engaged in action projects that directly improved the teaching and learning in their courses.

Innovators: Dennis Abry, Karryn Allen, Stephanie Fujii, Eric Haas, Joseph Ortiz, Ted Uran, Merry Wilson

South Mountain Community College

South Phoenix Oral History Project

South Phoenix Oral History is a student-founded, student-led initiative to capture and preserve the history of South Mountain Community College (SMCC) and South Phoenix, Arizona. This initiative captures and preserves the history of SMCC and South Phoenix through archival research and academic scholarship. Since its founding, over 100 students have contributed to the project. Students research and interview people about their experiences and contributions to SMCC and South Phoenix, then analyze the interviews and prepare the digital content for academic publication. To date, students and faculty have published more than seventy interviews and bios. Student work has also contributed to a full-length documentary, a virtual and guided historic campus walking tour, and an academic manuscript. Community college students—from arguably the most disenfranchised neighborhoods in the city—are collectively writing the book on the history of South Phoenix.

Innovators: Summer Cherland, Travis May, Liz Warren

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