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The Hornet

Serving the Fullerton Community Since 1922

The Hornet

Innovation of community colleges helps increase student success

President Emeritus of the League for Innovation, Dr. Terry O’Banion, spoke about connections on innovation, student success, and the completion agenda at the Cypress College Campus Theater on December 2nd. The presentation, “Your Next Bright Idea Could Change Everything,” was open to all and took place from 2-4pm.

The presentation opens up with Ken Robinson, District Director of Equity as he talks about Dr. O’Banion’s achievements. O’Banion has been working with community colleges for years and among his many distinguishable positions are a Professor of higher education of University of Illinois, University of California, Berkeley, and more, and Vice Chancellor for Education with the Dallas community college system. He has also written 15 books and over 200 articles.

Dr. O’Banion states that the two key idea as framework for community college is that the community college is an American social innovation, and that they are a crucible of innovation.

“Nowhere in the history of the world has someone said everyone can come to college…That’s why it’s called an American innovation,” said O’Banion.

The presentation targets important questions such as “How does the process of innovation work, and what is its’ impact?” O’Banion explains the process of innovation thoroughly in a chronological order of events that took place in the history of community colleges.

Using activities such as surveys of 400 winners of the League’s Innovation of the Year Award, and 173 innovations, the beginning of the community college innovation started through faculty, administrators, and classified staff. He recommends students to take part in bright ideas to help innovations of community college as well.

The powerpoint that O’Banion shows to audiences show that the idea of innovation was made up of an original idea and an adaptation of an existing idea. 85% of the awards for innovation went to groups made up of two or more people.

Even though there were barriers to the success of the project such as lack of time, technical issues, lack of financial support and resources, and the magnitude of the project itself, the enthusiasm and perseverance of teamwork and the need for innovation made the project successful.

Surveys and testimonies by students, faculty and staff helped to know that the innovation had impact towards colleges. The innovation fund was seen as value to the college leaders. The success was also due to the fact that the project was surrounded by a culture that supported and encouraged innovation.

Dr. O’Banion connects his innovation ideas to the Completion Agenda, which is a mission to double the number of students who complete their college work by 2020. President Obama is part of many other national fundings that support that mission and also adds on that there will be five million more community college graduates by 2020.

“Everyone in the community college world is deeply committed to doubling the number,” O’Banion says. “Never in our history have we had so much funding.”

In addition to the support from stakeholders, funding from foundations, and growing research, student success is ensured through the purpose of innovation. The process not only requires field testing and evidence of impacts, but is collaborative.

“The purpose of innovation is to improve and expand student learning, which leads to increased student success and completion. If we do innovation well, we’re going to have students stay in college and complete college,” said O’Banion.

“I’m glad I came, I didn’t know how informative it would be to me. Getting faculty and staff to come up with programs that improve student learning is going to directly benefit students,” said Terrence Gleason, Manager of Technology Enhanced Instruction at Fullerton College.



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