Posted: March 04, 2013
Seven innovative projects to enhance student success and workforce readiness outcomes at NH's community colleges were selected for seed funding from the newly-created Community College Innovation Fund of NH.
The Innovation Fund was created by the Community College System of NH (CCSNH) in November of 2012 to support the ideas, expertise and initiative of community college faculty and staff seeking to explore innovative approaches to education. It is financed with private contributions from NH venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders to foster innovative ideas within the State's network of seven community colleges. Proposals were submitted by community college faculty and staff. A panel of judges that included many of the funders evaluated the proposals and selected the seven final projects to support. In addition to funding, recipients will benefit from access to a network of experts organized to support the Innovation Fund efforts.
This was the first round of awards; additional proposals will be considered in late 2013 and again in 2014.
Charter contributors to the fund include Paul Holloway, Chairman of the Holloway Automotive Group and Chairman of the CCSNH Board of Trustees; Craig Benson, technology entrepreneur and former Governor of the State of NH; Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, Inc and a member of the CCSNH Board of Trustees; Jesse Devitte, Managing Director and Co-founder of Borealis Ventures; and Matt Pierson, Director and past Chairman of the NH High Technology Council and Managing Director with Dunn Rush & Co.
"I am very excited by the projects that will move forward through the Innovation Fund," said CCSNH Chancellor Ross Gittell, who established the fund and sought the initial funding support. "There is an abundance of truly innovative ideas within the community college system that can be developed and tested through this funding opportunity. We are creating the educational strategies of tomorrow, to meet the challenges of a rapidly changing world," said Gittell.
Jesse Devitte, managing partner of Borealis Ventures and a charter supporter of the Innovation Fund, noted "It has been great to experience first-hand the innovative nature of the educators and staff at the Community College System of NH. We are happy to help seed their impressive ideas and initiatives, just as we do working with entrepreneurs every day in our role as Venture Capitalists and we applaud the CCSNH for applying private market principles to public higher education."
"Dyn was drawn to Chancellor Gittell's concept because it challenged the system's best and brightest thinkers to push the envelope in education. We were blown away with the caliber and quantity of submissions and by the finalist presentations. There's a lot of entrepreneurial activity and we look forward to seeing what our award winners will accomplish," said Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, Inc.
Matt Pierson, director and past chairman of the NH High Technology Council and managing director with Dunn Rush & Co., said "I found the proposals to be well thought out with the potential to disrupt traditional education in positive ways. Clearly there's a lot of great thinking going on in our Community College System! I look forward to working with faculty and staff on implementing many of these new ideas."
Seed funding awards range from $2,500-$7,000. The winning projects, selected from nearly 40 entries, include plans to:
- Migrate a technical course in Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning to an online format using rich media to expand access and leverage the online platform in conjunction with the college's unique lab facilities, and develop a process for the community colleges to continue to develop online courses in technical fields to expand educational opportunities - Project Leader: John Cook, Vice President of Academic Affairs – Manchester Community College.
- Use analytics and modeling to develop strategies that will lead to improvement in student preparedness and the effectiveness of developmental (remedial) courses - Project Leader: Jere Turner, Director of Institutional Research – Manchester Community College;
- Improve students' writing and communication skills through the use of online interactive video resources that cover multiple types of written communication and utilize self-paced, self-assessment mechanisms - Project Leader: Dave Pollak, Associate Professor – Lakes Region Community College;
- Teach and promote the technology of renewable energy by creating a state-of-the-art mobile lab which can be used to deliver instruction in a variety of settings such as college open houses, middle and high school career days, and other venues to inform and inspire learning in the technology, applications and management of renewable energy systems - Project Leader: Keith Fletcher, Associate Professor – Lakes Region Community College;
- Create a program to introduce new students to STEM fields (science, technology, engineering and math) through a "First Year Seminar" based around a specific STEM topic that will integrate science and technology with social science and humanities, as a means to inspire learning in STEM fields through the integration of knowledge across disciplines - Project Leaders: Pam Langley, Vice President of Academic Affairs – NHTI and Elibet Chase, Professor of General Studies and Head of the Academic Advising Center – NHTI;
- Strengthen math preparedness through the use of hybrid course delivery methods that make math concepts "come alive" through experimentation in physics labs and other non-traditional settings - Project Leader: Matthew Wood, Associate Vice President for Non-Traditional Learning Formats – NHTI;
- Enhance nursing instruction by incorporating iPads into classes and labs, providing enhanced simulation and feedback mechanisms, on-site annotation of content, and enabling students to utilize this multi-functional learning technology which is becoming increasingly common in the nursing workplace - Project Leaders: Tricia Fanjoy, MSN, RN – NHTI; Michelle Jutton, MSN, RN – NHTI; and Susan Moreau, MSN, RN – NHTI;