In an effort to encourage innovation at every level within the OTC System, the college hosted its inaugural Innovation Celebration on Tuesday, Feb. 18. The event, attended by the college’s 500+ full time employees, recognized individuals, departments and programs for their exceptional contributions to the college.
Three Trailblazer Awards were bestowed to employees who positively impact students, colleagues and the community:
- Difference Maker Award: Amanda Stone, college director for student financial services, received the award for her efforts in redesigning the college’s student payment plan.
- Trendsetter Award: Jeff Jones, college director for disability support, was recognized for his collaborative student-advocacy efforts.
- World Changer Award: Loren Lundstrom, the college’s dean of student development, accepted the award for his student-centered initiatives and servant leadership on campus.
In addition to the Trailblazer Awards, the college awarded grants to innovative projects that support OTC’s mission and strategic plan. Nine ideas were put to the test in “Shark Tank style” presentations, which were then voted on by employees.
Game Changer Grants were awarded to the following projects:
- Farm to Table: an interdepartmental project that introduces a livestock component to the college’s agriculture program.
- Interactive Campus Maps: a platform to create digitally enhanced campus maps, which will support the college’s recruitment and marketing efforts.
- Former Felon Support Initiative: a prison-to-college pipeline to help offenders successfully integrate into college life and prevent recidivism.
The college also awarded Student Success Mini Grants to the following initiatives:
- Diversify Library Fiction Collection Project: The OTC Library will purchase more fiction books to provide different perspectives and experiences for students.
- Canvas/IT Support Station Project: OTC Online and IT will develop a centralized support station for students to receive online assistance and resources.
- Mobile Student Services Project: Student Services will set up mobile stations in high-traffic areas around campus to proactively support more students.
- OTC Legal Clinic: The college will partner with Legal Services of Southwest Missouri to host four Q&A sessions about legal topics that may affect students.
- OTC’s Most Valuable Resource? Our Employees: Human Resources will explore new and innovative ways to recognize long-serving employees.
To conclude the event, OTC Chancellor Hal Higdon congratulated the award winners – and the entire college community – for fostering a spirit of innovation at OTC.
“Your dedication and student-centered focus make us successful in everything we do,” he said. “I am proud to be part of this college community. OTC’s future is bright thanks to each and every one of you.”