Spring 2023 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From the Chair

The past few years have required community colleges to grapple with the effects of a worldwide pandemic, economic uncertainty, and social upheaval. Responsibility has fallen on the shoulders of leadership, faculty, and staff to enhance institutional…

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Fueling Dual Enrollment Momentum to Combat Declining College-Going Rates

Since 2020, enrollment at community colleges has declined 5.4 percent, which has prompted institutions to reflect on practices that impact student success and on barriers students face in their pursuit of higher education.

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Designing Our Colleges for Change: The Leadership Challenge of Processes

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, many educators recognized that higher education is operating in an increasingly complex and volatile world. While leaders aspire to turn uncertainty into a clear vision for the future, we are often doing so during tumultuous times, such as during significant leadership and funding model changes or while our biggest competitors are simultaneously overhauling their strategies.

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San Carlos Apache College’s New Traditional Vision of Enhancing Student Support Services

San Carlos Apache College (SCAC), one of the newest tribal colleges in the U.S., has become a major player in efforts to build an innovative, yet traditional, community college of tomorrow. During a League for Innovation “Community Colleges and Communities: Collective Workforce Development and Wraparound Services” project convening in June 2022, the SCAC team presented a concept that provided new insight to creatively connecting student support services with a college’s community, students, and staff.

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Can AI Actually Bring Instructors and Students Closer Together?

In today’s community college classrooms, technology is everywhere you turn. As higher education institutions embrace the role of emerging technologies like artificial intelligence (AI) in everything from sprinkler systems to lecture delivery, it’s clear that the question for many instructors is no longer whether to use tech in the classroom—it’s how to use it well while also maintaining their authentic teaching style.

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Wellness at the Intersection of Retention and Student Support

Higher education has been in upheaval for the last two years due to the pandemic. Broader funding for higher education has increased, but funding for wraparound services has not only decreased, but not fully recovered from the cuts made during the 2008 economic recession. There is evidence that investment in wraparound services can help increase retention and graduation rates for students who attend community colleges.

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A New Model: How Community Colleges Are Centering Learners and Their Skills

As we look back at how the pandemic has shifted higher education, the message moving forward is that the learning and upskilling experience must evolve to better meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. Within a new learn-to-work era, there are three clear signals that require attention.

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Spring 2022 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From the President

Founded in 1968 by B. Lamar Johnson and a dozen U.S. community and technical college presidents, the League for Innovation in the Community College (League) has proudly served community college institutions for 54 years.

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Partnering to Better Meet Students’ Basic Needs

Community college faculty, staff, and administrators have long been innovators and problem solvers. Indeed, the League for Innovation in the Community College (League) was founded over 50 years ago when B. Lamar Johnson brought together...

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From Food Pantry to CARE Center: A Holistic Approach to Student Basic Needs

When Northeast Texas Community College (NTCC) applied to participate in the League’s Innovative Solutions for Hunger Relief and Student Success Project in 2019, project lead Carmen Shurtleff had no idea...

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Project Firstline: Infection Control in Community College Curriculum

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored gaps in infection control knowledge and practice in healthcare settings nationwide. In spring 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) partnered with...

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The Collective Impact of Community Colleges and Communities: Workforce Development With Wraparound Services

The League for Innovation in the Community College (League), with support from the Garcia Family Foundation, is leading a three-year collaborative project designed to support low-income, first-generation...

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Building a Model for On-Ramping Underserved Populations to Career Pathways in Retail Management

Working with the Western Association of Food Chains (WAFC), and with support from ECMC Foundation, the League for Innovation in the Community College (League) is engaged in a two-year project to demonstrate...

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Innovatus, Spring 2022, Spotlight

Congratulations to the almost 300 faculty, staff, and administrators from 60 member institutions who received 2021-2022 Excellence Awards for exemplifying exceptional teaching and leadership!

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Northeast Texas Community College: Serving Students in Need

As Northeast Texas Community College transformed its new food pantry into the CARE Center (see From Food Pantry to CARE Center: A Holistic Approach to Student Basic Needs), staff and students used a variety of activities to...

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Spring 2021 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From the Chair

As open institutions with a commitment to student access and success, it is essential for community college faculty, staff, and leadership to understand the nonacademic factors that influence students’ ability to reach their educational and…

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Shifting the Focus From Student Financial Aid to Student Financial Success

We are in the midst of a student financial aid crisis. Student loan debt exceeds $1.5 trillion, 70 percent of college graduates leave school with debt, and 36 million Americans currently have some college with no credential. With rising tuition…

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Community College Students and Debt

Many community college students come from low-income, minority households where the family is not able to assist with college costs. Students, therefore, often work to support themselves and concurrently pay for their education.

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Can Artificial Intelligence Make Classroom Discussion Better?

For millennia, the Socratic method has been a pillar of effective, engaging classroom discussion. Rooted in sparking thoughtful dialogue among learners, it has been touted as the type of authentic learning (Levine & Rascoff, 2020) that may help higher education recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Shared Leadership Throughout the Community College

The COVID-19 pandemic has helped expose two systemic flaws in higher education. First is the inflexibility of the traditional learning model, and second is the institution’s overvaluing of their campus experience.

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Innovative Solutions for Hunger Relief and Student Success

Almost half of U.S. community college students responding to the #RealCollege survey conducted by the Hope Center for College, Community and Justice indicated that they had experienced food insecurity within the previous 30 days

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Working Together for Student Success: Course Sharing, Access, and Retention to Completion

For years, access was solely about opening doors to those who didn’t know they belonged in our classrooms.

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Community College Programs Are Crucial to Getting Americans Back to Work

America faces a desperate shortage of workers with the skills and training to do the jobs that keep the economy and the country going, including jobs in healthcare, clean energy, IT, construction, and other vital industries.

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From Bold Vision to Meaningful Results: Ensuring a Work-Based Experience for Every Student

The Art and Science of Culture Change creates a visual, linguistic, and conceptual infrastructure that provides scaffolding for shared transformational journeys and engages practitioners in intellectual fun on the road to innovation and entrepreneurship.

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Spring 2020 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From The Chair

Welcome back to Innovatus, the magazine of the League for Innovation in the Community College. Community colleges have a long history of not only addressing current local, regional, state, national, and international needs, but of having courage…

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Supporting the Academic Enterprise: Entrepreneurial New Revenue Streams For Your College

The traditional higher education business model has more in common with a medieval monastery than a modern corporation, largely dependent upon state largesse, charitable contributions, and generous payments from wealthy novices.

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The Talent Crisis: Why Community Colleges Must Be the Cornerstone

The United States is at the front end of the greatest talent shortage in its history. The combination of unprecedented global competition, historic low unemployment rates, unacceptable high school dropout rates, and the departure of 80 million baby boomers from the workforce requires better talent supply chain models.

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Thinking Like an Entrepreneur Fosters Innovation

Through my daily interactions with students and employees at HACC, Central Pennsylvania’s Community College, and with members of the community, I learn their needs, hopes, and aspirations and hear how our institution can help them fulfill their dreams.

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Accelerate Innovation at Your Community College

The need for innovation at community colleges is clear. Innovation ensures the long-term success of our institutions. It enables more effective courses, greater community impact, and more sustainable economics.

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Leading the Zeitgeist With Club Z

The word Zeitgeist represents the spirit of the times and the prevailing ideas and beliefs as society moves forward. As we look to the new decade and beyond, how can we lead the Zeitgeist on our campuses and better serve our students, colleagues, and communities?

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Thinking Differently About Teaching Entrepreneurship

Adopting an entrepreneurial mindset within our community colleges is part of a mission to better serve our students and communities.

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Issues That Keep Community College CEOs Awake at Night

As part of its recent strategic planning process, the League for Innovation in the Community College Board of Directors brainstormed a list of current challenges facing community colleges—challenges the League could use in its programming to help its full membership develop and share solutions.

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Spotlight: Creating a Community College Culture of Health

Since 2012, the League for Innovation in the Community College has led its Community Colleges and Public Health Project with an overarching goal of involving community colleges in education for public health.

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21st Century Skills: Two Decades Later

In 2000, the League published Learning Outcomes for the 21st Century, a report of a study designed to help community colleges define and clarify the knowledge, skills, and abilities students would need for success in the new millennium.

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Winter/Spring 2019 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From The Chair

Welcome back to Innovatus, the magazine of the League for Innovation in the Community College.

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Community College Mission: From Access to Capabilities

The traditional mission of the community college flows out of several principles and characteristics of the institution, its local communities, and its students.

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Competence vs. Completion: Does Passing Equate to Learning?

Science education is in crisis. Students in STEM programs across higher education fail, drop out, or change their majors at alarming rates. Two years ago, we challenged ourselves to do better for our science students.

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Insights Into Higher Education Innovation: How Institutions Organize and Prioritize to Spur and Increase Innovation

Today’s financial, political, and higher education environment poses unprecedented challenges. Public financial support and trust in quality, productivity, and value is eroding.

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Change Minds, Behaviors, and Outcomes Through Effective Leadership

Today’s community college landscape is evolving, and change seems to be a constant—particularly at institutions embracing innovation as part of their culture. That is why it is imperative for all community college leaders to be mindful about how their teams handle the change required to remain relevant in the postsecondary sector.

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Spotlight – Walmart Brighter Futures 3.0: The Optimal Industry Partnership

With Walmart Brighter Futures, the League for Innovation in the Community College continues its long history of leading workforce development initiatives. Walmart Brighter Futures 3.0, the third iteration of this workforce development project funded by the Walmart Foundation, focuses on career mobility for incumbent retail workers, specifically by providing the core skills and knowledge needed to move into management and leadership roles in the retail industry.

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We’ve Come A Long Way, Baby: 21st Century Apprentices Set Up for Success at SAIT

The Southern Alberta Institute of Technology (SAIT) began in 1916 with 11 students and two pieces of donated machinery. Over the last 100 years, SAIT has become a leader in applied education, specializing in action-based learning.

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Innovative to Address Food Insecurity as a Barrier to Graduation

According to Wisconsin HOPE Lab’s Hungry and Homeless in College (2017), 67 percent of community college students across 24 U.S. states are food insecure, with 33 percent of those students experiencing the very lowest levels of food security. Moreover, about half of community college students experience housing insecurity, and 14 percent are homeless.

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Challenges Community College Students Face

Challenges Community College Students Face

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From Speed Bump to On-Ramp: Holistic Assessment and the Reinvention of Placement

The last decade has seen a remarkable and much-needed wave of innovations in developmental education, and the mechanisms for placement are no exception.

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March 2018 ISSUE

Back issues

Letter From The Chair

Welcome to the inaugural issue of Innovatus, the magazine of the League for Innovation in the Community College! Throughout 2018, the League is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding. Since innovation is at our core, it seems appropriate…

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Past, Present, and Future: The League for Innovation at 50

Ask Terry O’Banion to identify the most important work the League for Innovation has done in its 50 years and he leads with helping community colleges become “national leaders in information technology” before revealing his top choice: leadership…

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Faculty Voices: How Well Is Your College Doing on Completion?

At least half of community college faculty say their institution is doing a good job in five areas supporting improvement of student completion rates, according to a survey conducted for the League for Innovation’s Faculty Voices Project and fielded by Public Agenda. The fall 2017 survey was conducted among U.S. community college faculty to gain insight into faculty perceptions about efforts at their colleges to increase the percentage of students who complete. Completion was defined in the survey as students who “earn a certificate or degree or transfer.” Of the 1,179 respondents, 782 were full-time and 397 were part-time community college faculty.

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Community Colleges in The Age of Innovation

The future of education is up for grabs. It is changing on virtually every dimension that matters—the design of schools, the role of faculty, and above all, the learning experience. These changes are inevitable because a tsunami of new technologies is driving profound shifts in education fundamentals—the relationship between teachers and the taught, the location and timing of educational activities, and the very definition of what it means to learn. They are also inevitable because today’s rising generation was born into a world of turmoil that demands the ability to design one’s life with an eye to personal as well as professional fulfillment.

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Accelerating Innovation to Transform Community Colleges

Managing and maturing innovation can lead to significant and lasting transformation in community colleges, resulting in agile institutions that implement multiple types of innovation in an intentional, coordinated fashion continuously over time. Higher education institutions fall within a broad spectrum of innovation maturity ranging from non-existent to transformative (see graphic), with a majority falling somewhere between non-existent and emerging. Few mature their innovation beyond the emerging point, which we refer to as the “innovation valley of death,” largely because they lack systematized innovation management and execution.

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Maricopa Millions: Making the Most of Open Educational Resources

The cost of higher education is rising at an alarming rate, with course materials and textbooks seeing some of the most dramatic increases. Along with increased costs, fewer students are buying textbooks and course materials. A 2011 survey by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, as reported by Molly Redden in The Chronicle of Higher Education, found that 70 percent of students had not purchased a textbook because of the price. Of these, 78 percent believed they would perform worse in class as a result. Although instructors expect students to use course materials for their classes, many do not. This can greatly impact student success.

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Spotlight: Celebrating Excellence

For Excellence in Public Health and Health Navigation Education in Community Colleges

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50 Years of Innovation

A Selection of League Projects, Initiatives, and Events Over Five Decade

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Developing Leaders Throughout The Ranks

It was supposed to be about developing the leaders of tomorrow. That was the intent when the San Diego Community College District laid the groundwork for a series of Leadership Academies serving faculty, staff, and administrators in 2009. The academies, however, have been building more than leaders. The program also has helped hundreds of employees—ranging from groundskeepers to academic department heads—network with each other and build lasting working relationships in a sprawling district that includes three college campuses and San Diego Continuing Education, as well as support services and district headquarters.

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Guided Pathways to Success: A Game Changer for Midland College

For the past two years, Midland College (MC) has been designing and implementing a pathways model with clear, educationally coherent program maps that are aligned for program completion, quality credentials, workforce skills, and transferability for baccalaureate and graduate degrees. As a result of MC’s efforts, the college has been recognized as a leader in the Texas Success Center’s Texas Pathways initiative, and the MC developmental math program has been named as exemplar in its efforts to redesign curriculum for the new pathways approach.

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Partnering to Develop Workers With Right Stuff

Today’s employers know that skilled workers don’t grow on trees. Sometimes, you have to grow your own talent.

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