Rationale for Innovation Communities

Innovation Community Projects

Innovation Communities (ICs) operate as Communities of Practice, as described by John Ivey of Apple in the graphic below with examples of how each network is supported by the CATL. ICs exist in that space between less structured Social Networking opportunities and more structured implementation of best practices that occurs in Work Teams.  Social networks are not expected to produce deliverables at all, while work teams are expected to deliver results based on best practices. However, communities of practice such as ICs, exist in a space between. Their deliverable is to document their processes and outcomes, so that they may be spread via the university’s social networks and/or be implemented via a university work team. For example, an IC’s work designing innovative assessments for extra-curricular activities could be accessed in the IC Repository by individual faculty as a form of social networking and/or formally implemented by the Gen Ed Task Force in their e-portfolio plan via work teams. 

communities of practice

Proposal Request

Periodically, the CATL will announce the opening of the Innovation Community proposal process and distribute the Innovation Community Proposal Request Form. Completion of this form is required in order to identify each proposed community to CATL staff, enabling them to provide guidance and support throughout the application process. Applications received without requesting a form from CATL may not be included in the review process. Only the leader(s) of the proposed IC need to complete the form. 

Proposal Completion

Once the application is received, CATL will forward an actual proposal form to the requestor and schedule an introductory meeting with the leader(s) to discuss their ideas. The proposal form is meant to elicit a brief (2-3 page) response to these questions, included for reference:

  1. Proposed innovation (what you hope to do).
  2. Analysis of current course/program situational factors (context, expectations of external groups, nature of subject), and student and teacher characteristics.
  3. Rationale for innovation and connection to Strategic Plan and/or Core Theme (e.g., sustainability in the curriculum, digital storytelling and professional preparation, inclusive pedagogy, VR and student creativity, mindfulness and lives of purpose, etc.).
  4. Potential application of  innovation process selected Shared Reflection (presence, description, analysis, experimentation [see example]) or Design Thinking Process (map, sketch, decide, prototype, test [see example]), and schedule of activities. 
  5. Proposed budget and analysis of potential for scalability of curricular or pedagogical innovation across the University. 
  6. Events currently envisioned (kickoff, workshop, post-project dissemination, etc.). 

Proposal Review/Selection

Representatives from the prior year’s Innovation Communities will be responsible for reviewing the current year’s proposals using this Proposal Review form. Awards will be granted by the Provost’s Office based on strategic priorities, available resources, and the results of the proposal review. Applicants will be notified of their status by email no more than one month after the proposal due date. 

The leaders of the selected ICs must submit a list of participants prior to the project’s start date to allow for the processing of related stipends. Any material change to the scope or membership of the Innovation Community should be reviewed with CATL in advance if possible. 

Support for Implementation

CATL staff will provide administrative support and expertise for Innovation Communities depending on need and availability. Support may take the form of assistance in developing action plans, processing stipends and payments, procuring materials, event planning and promotion, and general possibility thinking. For instance, CATL staff have assisted in events held by ICs in conjunction with their proposed innovation such as kick-off meetings to solicit ideas from faculty peers or to generate interest in joining the community, guest speakers, workshops, etc.

Follow-Up Requirements

Campus Event. Each Innovation Community will commit to hosting an event to disseminate what they have learned to the campus community after the conclusion of their work. The form and timing of the event will be agreed upon with CATL staff. The CATL will assist with event logistics and promotion as needed. 

Digital Repository. To further socialize the work of each Innovation Community, the CATL and Hannon Library have established the Innovation Communities Repository. Each Innovation Community is charged with sharing the work of its members with peers inside and outside the University via this repository. The current collection of artifacts can be filtered by community, academic program, project title, primary contributor or resource type. 

Submissions to the repository are made via this submission form (also accessible from the repository homepage), that contains guidance about file formats and how to handle multiple file submissions. Viewing prior submissions and having a fellow community member review materials before submission is strongly recommended.

Developing the Proposal

What kind of initiatives are best suited as ICs?

Potential leaders should note that the scope of the work undertaken by Innovation Communities is limited due to the number of faculty involved and the relatively short time frame. At their heart, these groups are designed to develop new practices here at SOU, not to implement practices developed elsewhere (unless they are repurposed in unique ways to meet specific challenges we face). Initiatives that are supported by other university processes, such as new course or program development, are best left in those well-worn tracks. 

How does CATL support the proposal development process? 

Potential IC leaders are required to request a proposal so that CATL staff may provide guidance and support for the proposal writing process. CATL staff will work with each IC  leader to craft a compelling proposal. Former IC members will review proposals and the Provost’s Office will award proposals according to these reviews, strategic priorities and available resources. Through this process, CATL staff serve as support and resources, and not as approvers. 

Following the Award

How do we get started?

Generally, IC leaders meet with CATL staff to answer any outstanding questions and review preliminary plans for the IC’s activities. This meeting provides the opportunity for everyone to validate the scope of the proposed work and may reveal necessary adjustments to the information provided in the proposal.

How are participants compensated for their involvement?

Each IC is responsible for developing a budget that identifies project expenses including any stipends for participants. When the proposal and budget are approved, information about the stipends and those receiving them is processed in IEA’s and forwarded to payroll which has responsibility for their disbursal. Any requests for the completion of related paperwork must be fulfilled promptly by IC participants in order to assure timely receipt of stipends.

Doing the Work

What is CATL’s role after a proposal is accepted?

CATL staff serve as advisors, sounding boards, marketers, logistics specialists, critical friends, friendly nudgers, cat herders, and occasional arbitrators. The Center’s job is to help each IC achieve its goals within the stated scope of the proposal by providing any administrative support that might be needed. Support provided to prior ICs includes making reservations for out-of-town guest speakers, promoting events in the noon newsletter, creating flyers and surveys, arranging for campus room reservations and videotaping of special presentations, connecting ICs to resources of which they may be unaware, and general planning assistance. 

How important is it to communicate with CATL?

Lots of clear, open communication is key. Any changes in IC personnel or in the scope of the IC’s work need to be communicated as soon as they arise. CATL staff have a deeply held preference for working ahead and cannot guarantee the best results for anything sprung on them at the last minute. 😉

Following Up at the End

What is our obligation for disseminating what we’ve learned through the IC?

ICs have two major responsibilities for sharing what they’ve learned with the broader campus community: 1) hosting or participating in an open event and 2) contributing to the Innovations Communities Repository in the Southern Oregon Digital Archives at Hannon Library. In addition, representatives of each IC will be expected to participate in reviewing proposals submitted by future aspirants to the IC coterie.

What kinds of sharing events are suggested?

ICs will be invited to participate in any campus-wide symposium hosted by the CATL. ICs may also hold individual events such as workshops, speakers, presentations, etc. if the event is deemed appropriate by the CATL. CATL staff will cheerfully assist as needed in putting on any CI-related events.

What should be submitted to the IC Repository?

The primary goal of the Innovation Community Repository is to share what can be easily found, used, remixed or repurposed by your peers. If a peer is interested in what you did, and would like to explore and perhaps apply your work, what would you need to share with them and what form would it take? 

What are the quality standards for work submitted to the IC Repository?

Materials submitted to the repository should reflect well on the author and the learning community. Each person who submits to the repository should find a peer to proofread and review their submission for clarity. Follow the file naming conventions and organizing principles laid out in the submission instructions carefully.

May I include third-party resources in the IC Repository? 

If you are sharing resources from a third party, the best practice is to link to them from your documentation rather than uploading the documents themselves to the repository, if possible.

Can I post student work to the IC Repository? 

Yes, you may. Anonymized samples of student work are encouraged to illustrate your work. 

Does everyone in the community need to submit to the IC Repository?

This will vary from IC to IC. Some ICs have each member post their own work, while others collaborate on a shared submission.