Continuing the Celebration of Community College Innovation

League for Innovation
Innovation Showcase

As community colleges prepare for classes to begin in coming weeks, the League congratulates the 2014-2015 Innovation of the Year award recipients, and invites participation in the 2015-2016 Innovation of the Year awards program.

Launched more than three decades ago to recognize significant innovations at member colleges, the awards are designed to recognize 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. Granting this award provides a venue for showcasing these innovations and the dedicated co---mmunity college educators who strive for excellence on a daily basis. In a continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded, we are pleased to showcase the award-winning innovations from the 2014-2015 academic year, and we encourage League Alliance colleges to recognize innovation on their campuses by participating in the 2015-2016 Innovation of the Year awards program. 

The following descriptions of four award-winning innovations reflect the diversity of programs and projects honored last year, which range from improving student success and promoting sustainable education to fighting hunger and advancing medical technology. Click here to view descriptions and other information about all 44 award-winning innovations, and click here to learn how your college can participate in this year's Innovation of the Year awards program.

Mathematical Pathway to Success for Arts Majors, Sinclair Community College (Ohio) 

Sinclair Community College is a leading institution in the national effort to create a new, two-semester path for non-STEM majors, which takes students to-and-through a college-level math course in one academic year. Working with other colleges in a Networked Improvement Collaboratory, we developed 65 lessons that highlight several contextual themes integrated throughout the pathway: Social, Citizenship, Medical Literacy and Health Risk, Environment, and Finance. Each of the themes is investigated using real world, application-driven problems.

Iowa Sustainable Village, Kirkwood Community College (Iowa) 

The Iowa Sustainable Village (ISV) is a multidisciplinary collaborative project between education and industry to design and build highly innovative and efficient single family structures on a small footprint. By engaging students in a practical application of theoretical knowledge, the project improves student success and helps meet the workforce needs of local industry. In addition to student engagement, the ISV is designed to inspire stakeholders from all over the region to create innovative projects within all aspects of the built environment and agriculture. With the ever increasing need of sustainable education, the ISV takes a huge leap forward in providing a resource for education and research. Access of the ISV from K-14 and the broader community has and will continue to create authentic opportunities for ideas and collaboration. The ISV will serve as a model for other schools to develop their version of a community accessible system to educate both students and the public.

Fighting Hunger on a College Campus, Johnson County Community College (Kansas)

Johnson County Community College is the first college campus to offer Project Strength on our own campus with our students being the instructors of the program. We are also the only Dietary Manager program to partner with a non-profit hunger agency to facilitate the accomplishments of program competencies. This program benefits the student instructors, student participants, as well as the non-profit organization, Harvesters. We are currently planning our next session for Fall 2015 to be offered at a satellite campus location. This location has students who are immigrants and most are not fluent in English. One of our students who has volunteered is originally from Guatemala and speaks Spanish fluently. This will be our first foray into doing Project Strength in another language!

Percutaneous Access to Kidney Assist Device (PAKAD) for Kidney Stone Surgery, Institute of Technical Education (Singapore)

Kidney stones are a urinary tract disorder with 5 million new cases diagnosed annually. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is a preferred minimally invasive surgery for complex or large stones (> 2cm). The team successfully developed a medical device (PAKAD) to shorten the time needed for surgeons to create renal access paths on kidney stone patients in the PCNL procedure. The device uses precision mechanisms to systematically adjust and guide the needle for alignment with stone targets in the kidney. An accurate alignment ensures a high success rate of needle puncture. The intent is to replace the current practice of unaided trial-and-error method, which is tedious and time consuming. The benefits reduce x-ray exposure to patients and crew, lessen complication rates with accurate puncture, lower operating theatre costs (shorter usage time) and simplify learning of a difficult skill so that more surgeons can perform PCNL. This project has been patented and will be commercialized.