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Past Recipients

2022 Innovation of the Year Award


Dawn Arnold, Teresa Hernandez, Joshua Moore, Lance Smith and Brenda Stickle

Title:  School Partnership Online Information Portal

Ohio's Dual Enrollment program (CCP) legislation requires colleges and secondary schools to communicate and manage information throughout an academic year. Data and student information sharing are critical to alignment with the state goal, serving high school partners and students. The School Partnership (SP) Online Information portal is key to meeting this demand be securely sharing data in the portal. The SP Portal provides 24/7 access to student data, registration, grade information, reminders, and communications with Sinclair Community College. The SP portal is key to improving and growing partner relationships, while also increasing student access to CCP.

2021 Innovation of the Year Award


Christopher Murphy

Title:  Comprehensive Automotive Service Technology

Trained automotive service technicians have been in high demand for the past several years.  To help support local repair facilities' employment needs, Sinclair Community College's automotive department aligned their course schedule to offer a closed cohort work-based learning program to support student completion and workforce preparation.

2020 Innovation of the Year Award


Ryan Murphy, Kyle Jones, Paul Hansford, Martha Taylor, Jaclynn Myers, Mike Libassi, and Sue Merrell-Daley, Bob Sherman

Title: Creating Big Data Pathways/Data Analytics for All

Innovation Type: Workforce Preparation & Development

Sinclair’s team created a degree in Data Analytics and a short-term certificate in Data Fundamentals through collaboration with the Educational Development Corporation in Boston, funded through a grant from the National Science Foundation. Our objective was to develop an occupational profile of a middle-skilled data worker (“Data Practitioner”) and build educational programs to prepare students for employment in this field. The profile consists of the skills, knowledge, and workplace behaviors required to be effective in this role and our programs involve externships which allow students to apply their skills in community-oriented settings, helping Dayton-area organizations become more effective with data.

2019 Innovation of the Year Award


Najat Baji, Craig Birkemeier, Robert Chaney, Wendy Cheng, Kay Cornelius, David Hare, Eric Kraus, Kinga Oliver, Olga Stephens, Richard Uchida, James Willis, Jesse Williams

Title: Co-requisite Remediation in Mathematics Innovation Category

Teaching and Learning Summary Description:  The Math Department faculty at Sinclair Community College developed co-requisite “booster” courses to pair with all sections of Algebra, Introductory Statistics, and Quantitative Reasoning. These three courses form a gateway through which nearly all students pursing transferable degrees at Sinclair College must pass. However, many students struggle to make it through the remedial algebra classes that come before this gateway. The booster classes allow students to reduce, or sometimes eliminate, the need to take remedial classes prior to reaching the gateway. They also provide students with review of prerequisite content right when that content is needed to help them master new concepts in their gateway classes. 

2018 Innovation of the Year Award


Karla Knepper, Director, Academic Advising

Julie Thompson, Assistant Director, Connect 4 Completion

Title of Project/Innovation: Transforming Relationships and Decisions with the Dual Enrollment

Brief Description:  Sinclair developed Career Communities, resulting in many positive outcomes including the redesign of Academic Advising to better align a student’s advising experience to their intended academic pathways. This holistic approach allowed for the scaling-up of advising services to provide better connections for students, create a more personalized experience, and foster opportunities for students to explore and solidify career and transfer choices, set academic goals, meet students with similar interests, and negotiate the complex processes of a large institution.

2017 Innovation of the Year Award


Melissa Tolle, Director, School and Community Partnerships

Bruce Clayton, Research Analyst, Research, Analytics & Reporting

 Title of Innovation:  Transforming Relationships and Decisions with the Dual Enrollment

 Brief Description:  Nationally over 2 million students are participating in dual enrollment programs and with the onset of the College Credit Plus Program in the state of Ohio, Sinclair College recognized the need to be responsive to this growing student market, high school partners, state reporting, and internal college constituents.  In response, the Dual Enrollment Reporting Tool was created as a robust, visual analytics tool that provides current and historical data on aggregate- and student-level enrollment data.  The reporting capabilities cover over 20+ data components which have transformed relationships and decision making regarding dual enrollment students participating at Sinclair.

2015 Innovation of the Year Award

James Willis, Professor, Mathematics
Kinga Oliver, Associate Professor, Mathematics

Title of Innovation: Mathematical Pathway to Success for Arts Majors

Brief Description
The challenge facing most community colleges across the nation is the large number of students placing into developmental mathematics, not able to complete a degree. Sinclair Community College is a leading institution in the national effort to create a new, two-semester path for non-STEM majors, which takes students to-and-through a college-level math course in one academic year.

Working with other colleges in a Networked Improvement Collaboratory, we developed 65 lessons that highlight several contextual themes integrated throughout the pathway: Social, Citizenship, Medical Literacy and Health Risk, Environment, and Finance. Each of the themes is investigated using real world, application-driven problems.

2014 Innovation of the Year Award

Barbara Tollinger, Professor and Chair, Business Information Systems
Robert Sherman, Associate Professor and Chair, Computer Information System
Kenneth Hook, Assistant Professor, Computer Information System

Title of Innovation: SCOPE Help Desk

Brief Description
Through collaborate efforts between the Business Information Systems and Computer Information Systems departments emerged an innovative program, "SCOPE" (Students Correcting Open-door PC Emergencies). In its third year of full operation, SCOPE serves a dual purpose: (1) helping students, staff, and faculty with computer technology support needs not met by an available service on campus; and (2) providing authentic, hands-on work experience for students. The quality of student education ahs been improved through the real world hands-on work of the students during their service in the SCOPE help desk. Rather than just hearing about a technology in a lecture and experiencing a few examples in a homework assignment, SCOPE students perform daily troubleshooting and other IT services. They learn industry-relevant problem solving skills in a host of areas. Between fall of 2011 and January 2014, SCOPE delivered more than 4,300 different support services for free, with a documented cost saving of over $500,000 to students, staff and faculty!

2013 Innovation of the Year Award

Christina Amato
Student Success Advisor
Distance Learning Programs & Support

Elizabeth Burns
SinclairOnline Academic Coach
Distance Learning Programs & Support

Title of Innovation: 360° Student Services: Engaging the Online Student from Prospect to Degree

Brief Description
In 2010, SinclairOnline evaluated its capacity to serve a student population that had nearly tripled in three years. Existing support services were assessed and ultimately modified or replaced altogether with services and processes that were scalable and more efficient. Distance Learning strove to take a 360° approach to student services and become a student-centric, one-stop shop for online students, and tools were created and implemented to achieve this. Emphasis was placed on streamlining enrollment and registration processes, assessment of online readiness, familiarization with Angel, and increased interaction and outreach between staff and online students. Additionally, high-need student populations were identified, and for the first time, those students were paired with SinclairOnline staff for holistic case management to engage them from prospect status to degree completion.

2012 Innovation of the Year Award

Shan Huang
Associate Professor, Physics

Marigrace Ryan
Professor, Biology Department

Vandana Rola
Manager, Web Course Development
Distance Learning and Instructional Support

Title of Innovation: Pioneering Online Science Lab

Brief Description
The “Pioneering Online Science Labs” project exemplifies Sinclair Community College‘s motto, “Find the need and endeavor to meet it”. Sinclair students expressed a need for fully-online degree programs. However, the lack of online science courses prevented the completion of the AA and AS degrees online. The College listened and met the need by developing fully-online astronomy and biology lecture and lab courses. The courses have been extremely successful – enrollment has increased and success rates mirror those of the traditional classroom. Students have learned and are very satisfied with their experiences.

2011 Innovation of the Year Award

Katherine Rowell, Director
Center for Teaching and Learning

Kent Zimmerman, Professor
Department of Communication

Phyllis Williams, Professor
Department of Biology

Sally Struthers, Professor
Art Department

Lalitha Locker, Associate Professor
Physics Department

Heidi Arnold, Assistant Professor
Department of Communication

Title of Innovation: Adjunct Faculty Certification Course

Brief Description
Under the encouragement of the Office of the Provost and the Center for Teaching and Learning at Sinclair, Phyllis Williams and Kent Zimmerman created a course in which adjunct instructors could learn more about effective teaching methods and move to Lecturer II status sooner if they demonstrated competencies in five key areas. Williams and Zimmerman benchmarked other institutions. While there was a plethora of exceptional classroom activities available, few institutions had developed a systematic course for adjunct faculty. No other institution of higher education had designed a course that incorporated the background of classroom management skills with an opportunity to assess the classroom performance skills of the adjunct instructor. This created course met these needs, and has been facilitated and continuously improved by a team of facilitators: Heidi Arnold, Lalitha Locker and Sally Struthers.

2010 Innovation of the Year Award

Kates Brommeland, Coordinator, Young Scholars Program Office of Pre-College Programs

Project Title: Increasing High School OGT Success Rates Using a Predictive Model

Brief Description
The Young Scholars Program (YSP) prepares first-generation college students within Montgomery County to be academically ready to pursue higher education. The program focuses on academic preparation for Ohio Graduation Test (OGT) completion, career and leadership development, and college preparation seminars. Upon graduation from high school and the program, YSP students receive a financial aid package to Sinclair Community College.

YSP created a predictive model that would anticipate an increase in high school OGT success rates as a function of intervention. This prediction is based on the 2004-2005 Ohio Department of Education OGT data and the success of Study Island (SI) software; an online courseware aligned to the state standards and benchmarks. This program’s predictive model incorporated a blended instruction-methodology to successfully prepare high school students for the OGT.

In 2007, YSP implemented the methodology and provided students with an integrated model. The integrated model provided content instruction in math, a SI prescriptive plan, and individualized math lessons. Using pre-test data, SI determined appropriate math coursework, provided a prescriptive plan, gauged progress, and projected students’ OGT scores. YSP Instructors were able to take this information and develop cohort specific instructional lessons that gave students the foundational information needed to work through their individualized prescriptive plan.

Implementing a blended instruction–methodology, YSP created and increased the number of students who successfully completed the OGT by the 11th grade. This outcome directly links to Sinclair’s Strategic Priority #1: Success for a wide range and variety of students … aligning all of Sinclair’s activities with the goal of defining and improving student success.

2009 Innovation of the Year Award

Robert B. Gilbert, Assistant Professor
Architectural Technology

Project Title: Center for Energy Education Laboratory

The Center for Energy Education laboratory was designed and built by Sinclair students as an internship project. The Energy Lab has a wide range of projects, displays and information modules ranging from energy efficiency, solar thermal, solar PV, biodiesel, ethanol, wind and hydrogen.

The Center is engaged in community education and awareness of dwindling global energy resources and global warming, together with student energy-related activities, development of energy-related curriculum, courses and modules, and designing and building an energy lab.

There have been numerous tours given of the Energy Lab. The Lab has a special area designated as K–12 which includes numerous activities of interest to them: solar PV products, hydrogen powered cars, solar powered wind mills, an interactive solar drag race track and dragsters, among many other activities.

Many programs at the College are able to use the laboratory for classroom teaching and learning. For example, Architectural, Civil and Construction Management Technology programs are able to use the lab to demonstrate Energy Star construction specifications, energy codes and installation techniques. As well, through learning service projects, students conduct energy audits for non-profit organizations within the community. These collaborations with local business community have resulted in co-op positions for Sinclair students. The Center for Energy Education Lab has proven to move Sinclair into the energy education arena.

2008 Innovation of the Year Award

David W. McDaniel and Brandon Evans
Miami Valley Tech Prep Consortium

Project Title: The Miami Valley Tech Prep Consortium: Program/Pathway Course of Study Templates

Program/Pathway Course of Study Templates are academic maps that contain academic and technical course preparation for grades 9 through an Associate Degree in pathway career fields which mirror the United States Department of Education 16 career fields. The templates are designed to account for the State of Ohio secondary graduation requirements and the Sinclair Community College Associate Degree requirements in 69 Sinclair Associate of Applied Science Degrees. By using these templates, students, instructors and parents have a tool to develop conversations from career planning, emphasizing academic preparation to course awareness and sequence leading to transition to continued education and/or the workforce preparation.

2007 Innovation of the Year Award

Sue Merrell, Russ Little, Cheryl Stewart-Palafox, and Brian Cooney

Project Title: Attaching Outcomes to Courses Using Curriculum Management Tool (CMT)

Through the web-based Curriculum Management Tool (CMT), Sinclair Community College personnel initiate, review and approve curriculum, as well as identify, assess, and report a host of learning outcomes. A database under girds the ability to track curricular revisions and data-driven continuous improvement across the 2400 courses and 180 programs comprising Sinclair's curriculum. Within the past three years, department chairs and chair designees have re-crafted the architecture of course offerings and programs through their use of CMT. With CMT's build-it-in approach, courses and programs incorporate assessment and performance criteria from their inception. As a result, direct linkages exist between course outcomes and measurable general education outcomes, explicit assessment methodology, and performance standards. CMT provides for analysis and study of course and program outcome attainment in support of instructional and college-wide effectiveness.

2006 Innovation of the Year Award

Pamela Combs, Yvonne Dorsett, Letha Houston, Mary Jenkins, Debra Moody and Pat Schlaerth

Project Title: Student Success Plan

The Student Success Plan is Sinclair Community College’s choice for the 2006 Innovation of the Year Award. Sinclair’s primary student retention strategy is the Student Success Plan—a comprehensive model to increase success, retention, and graduation rates of high-risk students. It includes the Individual Learning Plan and Counseling Action Plan in a holistic counseling and intervention system. Through a case management approach, counseling, and web-based support system, high-risk students are identified, supported, and monitored. A comprehensive student-tracking system allows the college to collect and analyze data as well as monitor trends. Counselors assess and assist high-risk students with choosing college majors or career goals, developing plans to pay educational expenses, identifying resources to help them succeed, reviewing strategies to improve learning and study skills, registering for classes, and developing Individual Learning Plans.

2005 Innovation of the Year Award

Pamela Combs, Yvonne Dorsett, Letha Houston, Mary Jenkins, Debra Moody and Pat Schlaerth

Project Title: Web Content Management System

This innovation is a web-based content management system that allows users of all skill levels to create and maintain web-based content for a dynamic web site from a visual display template ( This system includes maintenance tools that can be accessed through a web browser. With minimal training, effort and time, over 200 Sinclair employees have learned to post web-based content and maintain their web sites. The new Sinclair web site is consistent, with over 5,000 pages and is generated real time from a database. This innovation gives the users control over the content and navigation; and, allows the user to see the latest content available, while providing a consistent user interface.

2004 Innovation of the Year Award

Yufeng Wang and Victoria Hennessey

Project Title: Global Awareness Week

These recipients are given this honor for their work on Sinclair’s Global Awareness Week. Celebrating Global Awareness is the theme of the week-long programs and activities. It is designed to provide an opportunity for students, faculty/staff, and community members to participate in a variety of cultural and academic activities aimed at raising the level of world awareness and international understanding. Global Awareness Week continues to promote awareness of world cultures and global issues at Sinclair.

2003 Innovation of the Year Award

Teresa Prosser, Roxann Delaet, and Susan L'Heureux

Project Title: Allied Health Read/Write Connection

These recipients are given this honor for their work on the Allied Health Read/Write Connection. This is a module/course enhancement designed to enable students to improve and apply basic reading and writing skills while learning the course content of ALH 103: Introduction to Health Care Delivery. Three learning modules assist ALH 103 students in improving their text marking, note taking, reading comprehension, writing fluency, and test taking ability during the study time it takes to master the content of their course.