OTC hosted its second-annual Innovation Celebration on Thursday, April 1. The event, held virtually this year in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, funded eight different grant initiatives across the OTC System. It also honored employees for their exceptional contributions to the college.
“With all the new challenges that arose this past year, we could have simply maintained the status quo,” said OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon. “But, in true OTC fashion, we forged ahead with innovative practices, keeping our mission and strategic plan top of mind.”
The following individuals received Trailblazer Awards for their advancement of OTC’s Strategic Plan: Jacque Harris, instructional designer; Landon Vinson, industrial systems technology instructor; Mitch Hurt, electrical distribution systems instructor; Sarah Gott; course material manager; and Danelle Maxwell, manufacturing department chair.
The award winners were nominated by their fellow colleagues and determined by a vote of the college community.
Game Changer Grants
In further support of OTC’s Strategic Plan, the following innovative project proposals received up to $10,000 in grant funds:
Ozzy’s Digital Commons by Greyson Foresee
This project will provide virtual reality technology and training to students and local employers at a designated location on the Springfield campus.
3-D Printer and IT Visibility by Matt Geltmacher, Tom Foley, Chris Rantz, Shawna Grisham and Desmond Ford
The grant will fund the purchase of two 3-D printers, which will serve dual purposes: 1) reduce college expenses by printing equipment and parts needed for IT projects, and 2) demonstrate the application of 3-D printing in the college’s highly visible Robert W. Plaster Center for Advanced Manufacturing.
Eagle Pride Student Showcase by Rene Wade, Danelle Maxwell, Ryan Friend, Robert Randolph and Marcia Wheeler
The Eagle Pride Showcase will display outstanding student work to celebrate the tangible results achieved in the college’s 40+ programs. Display items will be equipped with a QR code so viewers can obtain more information about the program represented in each piece of work.
OTC Outdoor Classroom by Dr. Morgan Presley, Robert Clark, Mike Martin, Justin Frese and Jared Durden
This capital project will create an outdoor classroom space available for use by any program at the OTC Springfield Campus. Built by OTC’s Construction Technology Program, data suggests the space will improve student engagement and mental health.
Student Success Mini Grants
The following proposals were also awarded Student Success Mini Grants for their clear plans to meet OTC’s institutional priority of student success:
Walking Pathways by Cara Griffin and Ginger Luke
This project will create three pedestrian paths through campus to promote staff and student wellness. The OTC Wellness Committee and the City of Springfield will map the routes, designating them with vinyl pavement markers.
Pollinate it Forward by Morgan Presley and Robert Clark
The OTC Green Council will partner with the City of Springfield and Springfield Public Schools to cultivate and explore native plants. Green Council volunteers will prepare native plant kits and lesson plans for partnering K-12 schools. Students will sprout the plants and raise them. Once grown, the plants will be transplanted to the OTC Springfield Campus.
OpenStax Textbooks by Sarah Fancher
To support the adoption of OER and open textbooks, the OTC Hamra Library will purchase several physical copies of OpenStax textbooks related to high-enrollment general education courses. These textbooks will serve as review copies for instructors and reference copies for students.
Operation E.A.G.L.E by Erin Dooley
Operation E.A.G.L.E. (Empowering Advisor Growth, Leadership, and Excellence) provides training for staff whose primary role is advising. Training sessions, held twice a semester, cover a variety of topics to continue to improve their knowledge of various areas of the college. This project will not only support internal professional development, but also provide the opportunity for advisors to attend virtual conferences at no cost to themselves or their departments.
To conclude the virtual Innovation Celebration event, Chancellor Higdon congratulated the award winners – and the entire college community – for fostering a spirit of innovation at OTC.
“You’ve proven that a crisis doesn’t halt innovation, it inspires it,” he said. “OTC’s future is bright thanks to each and every one of you.”