Innovation of the Year | GCTC

Innovation of the Year

Every year the League for Innovation in Community College honors outstanding innovations which have been recognized by member institutions as Innovations of the Year. These innovations represent capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded.

The following groups have been recognized as the Innovators of the Year in Gateway's annual Spirit of Innovation recognition program: 

Name of Innovation Lead Person(s): Sarah Smith

Name of Innovation Collaborator(s): Early Childhood Education Students


Research shows that student-mothers who work and go to school give up school when the balance becomes too difficult to manage. Parenthood and work will always come first. One faculty member helps reduce the stress of going to school by redesigning a program so that students can come in for one night and receive credit for 2 classes. Each required technical class is technically paired as a back-to-back hybrid, so working-student-parents could come in one night per week, receive six credit hours, or two nights per week, and receive 12 credit hours. These students are in the same classes with the same students, forming supportive friendships. By strategically rotating selected paired classes, students are able to jump in anytime (on intro nights) and then move to upper level course pairings on the other two nights. It has also dramatically increased course enrollment, retention, and student satisfaction.

Name of Innovation Lead Person(s): Dr. Trish Goodman, Dr. Teri Vonhandorf, Carissa Schutzman, Steven McGuire, Angie Praiswater

Name of Innovation Collaborator(s): Michelle Flick, Justin Bertsch, Doug Penix, Courtney Burch, Mike Koch, Patrick Rickert, Eileen Walter, Mary Pat Behler, Workforce Solutions, Industry Partners, and Partners for a Competitive Workforce


The Enhanced Operator Program is an innovative collaboration between Gateway and its manufacturing partners to design a competency-based curriculum that is industry aligned, driven by employer need and relevant to the workforce for which it is created. In this 16-week course, credentials earned can be stacked toward higher credentials and provide immediate entry into high-wage, high demand jobs.

Students have the option of moving at their own pace as they satisfy the competencies. They even have the option to “test out” of modules if they have the knowledge and experience to do so. In addition, the curriculum will be primarily “open-source,” meaning resources are drawn from industry sources giving students real world learning experiences. Only one textbook is required for the entire program, and course work includes preparation needed for the Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt Certification Exam.

Upon successful completion of this program, students will obtain the Enhanced Operator Certificate, which is a locally recognized industry certificate equivalent to 14 hours of college credit. All credits can be applied towards Gateway’s Manufacturing Engineering Technology Associate in Applied Science Degree. Another bonus to students is a guaranteed interview with employer partners for everyone who completes the program.

Submitted by Heather Anderson

Names of Collaborators: Dr. Angie Taylor, Amber Decker, Sandy Ortman-Tomlin, Heather Anderson, Bethany Foxx, Shelby Krentz, Covington Independent Public Schools, Gateway to College

Description: The Gateway to College Program serves Covington students, 16 to 21 years old, who have dropped out of school, have low academic standing, low standardized test scores, or are behind in credits and unlikely to graduate. The dual credit program allows students to earn a high school diploma while progressing toward a college degree or certificate.

Gateway to College students learn how to succeed in an educational setting, under the guidance of a program director, resource specialist, faculty and staff. The program provides wrap-around support to help meet the academic, social, and emotional needs of the student. This experience builds their academic and personal skills, preparing them to succeed in school and in life.

Submitted by Mike Rosenberg
Names of Innovation Collaborators: Teri VonHandorf, Ingrid Washington, Andre Washington, Mallis Graves, and Marinell Brown

Gateway2NKU is a dual enrollment program which offers guaranteed admission to NKU after Gateway students complete an associate degree pathway. Participants are jointly Gateway and NKU students, which enables them to be advised at both institutions, receive applicable student success services, participate in student activities including sporting events and Greek life, makes them eligible for housing, and enables them to take credit bearing classes at NKU while at Gateway, speeding their road to degree completion.

Submitted by Diana Loh, Julie Walter (The Welcome House), Keith Lanser
Names of Innovation Collaborators: Nancy Ritzenthaler, Anne Auberger, Myshamil Walker (The Welcome House)

The Health Fair at the Welcome House was a premier service learning experience for students enrolled in NSG 213 and 230 during the fall of 2013. Planning for the collaboration began in the spring of 2013. Diana Loh was responsible for planning, embedding the experience within the courses, and instruction. Julie Walter was responsible for planning, hosting the experience, and participating in student learning. Keith Lanser was responsible for collaboratively planning, implementing, and evaluating the experience with Gateway faculty and Welcome House staff. Nancy Ritzenthaler and Anne Auberger provided additional instructional support, and Myshamil Walker helped during the planning process. Gateway's nursing students were responsible for staffing the health fair, interacting with clients, and reflecting on their learning.

Submitted by: Diane Fritz and RuthAnne Kolumba 
Names of Innovation Collaborators: Dr. Yohanes Honu, Andrea Owens, Melisa Halilovic, Rani Clark, Stephanie West, Chad Joiner, Jordan Souder, Maxine Glover, Jay Brill, Greg Albrinck, Mary Grenke, Melissa, Alvarez and Cara Light 
While peer-tutoring is not a new concept, the approach as to where and how this service is delivered, highlights our innovative project. Our new academic support design is an innovation of a traditional approach to tutoring. The outcome improved course quality through enhanced student learning, increased student leadership, class retention and finally our project has resulted in full circle collaboration between the students, staff and faculty. In SPRING 2012 66.7%; SUMMER 2012 75%; FALL 2012 71.4% of those students who participated in the open-lab peer tutor sessions passed the A&P I course (with a D or higher). There was also a positive correlation between the numbers of hours spent in the tutor sessions and a passing course grade- the more hours, the more the likely the student would pass the course. For greater details regarding the results, see the attached data sheet. This innovation resulted in the retention of course content, thus student learning.

Submitted by Melissa Fry and Dr. Susan Santos
Names of Innovation Collaborators: Melissa Fry and Dr. Susan Santos

Two instructors from the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences Division collaborated to team teach ENG 230: The Social Psychology of Harry Potter. Knowing the students love for this fictional character series, instructors designed a course to use this popular series of books to explain the literary mechanisms and character behaviors on a deeper level. Gateway CTC Associate Professor English tackled the literary aspects of the novel series and was responsible for bringing both John Granger, author of such books as Looking for God in Harry Potter and Harry Potters Bookshelf along with Micah Tanenbaum, co-web master for MuggleNet, who donated their time as guest speakers. Gateway CTC Assistant Professor of Psychology, covered the abnormal behavior amongst Harry Potter characters, including dissociative identity disorder, schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and phobic reactions. The course is already garnering national attention and is being mentioned on several websites and blogs.

Submitted by Thomas Collins 
Names of Innovation Collaborators: Dr. Anthony Clarke, Dr. Yvonne Meichtry, Bowlin Group, Duke Energy, General Cable, Corning Cable 10 members, The Fiber Optic Association Board of Directors 6 members, The Fiber Optic Association Board of Advisors - 35 members 
The project is the development of an International Training and Certification program in collaboration with the Fiber Optic Association (FOA). The project developed a new professional certification as a Certified Fiber Outside Plant Technician and delivered the first class in the country to eleven Gateway students in fall 2010. All of the students passed the certification exam and earned their Certified Fiber Outside Plant Technician certification. Three components make this project unique: 
There is not any program like this in the United States. 
The delivery of course information focused on making the material accessible to students anytime, anywhere. 
In addition to the multiple ways to access course materials, the curriculum was also modularized so students could work and complete smaller modules when they have the time. 
by Tess Burns, Patrick Lamping, Laura Cook Kroeger, Margaret Thomson, and Tyler Underhill 
To establish Gateway's Facebook page as a viable communication link to students, the group created the Gateway Guy. On October 27, 2009, the Gateway Guy was born. Two boxes of surplus stress balls, in the form of a happy face with a body, wearing a red shirt with "Gateway CTC" on it, were dusted off and given a new purpose to help drive traffic to Facebook to create a fun and compelling new way to communicate with students and prospective students. The Gateway Guy has a voice or tone that very relatable to students and which encourages/promotes student engagement. The group posted images of the Gateway Guy, asking students to guess where he was when the photo was taken. Given the viral nature of Facebook, the first post by the Gateway Guy was answered in two minutes. As Guy grew in popularity, he began to distribute messages to students. His first big success was recruiting approximately 60 students to give up a day of their spring break in 2010 to attend an advocacy event at the State Capitol in Versailles, Ky. Students accept him as a viable source for information about the college because he uses a dialect that is compelling to students.

By Charlene McGrath, Yin-Fen Pao, Jeremy Berberich, Sheila Gray, and Ian Fry 
Gateway Community & Technical College was created in 1997 from three existing technical schools in the Northern Kentucky area. In order to maximize service to students, as well as take advantage of its location in an information rich region, Gateway developed a hybrid library. The Gateway hybrid library provides the college community with print and electronic resources, onsite and virtual reference services, and access to the Gateway Library collection, as well as the resources of a rich array of regional partner libraries. This is accomplished through contractual agreements and memberships; library policies; resource access to on-campus centers at the three Gateway campuses, partnerships with Northern Kentucky University (NKU) Steely and Thomas More College (TMC) libraries; reference services; information literacy; and an annual planning process.