WMCC Faculty Awarded Funds


Ten Innovative Projects at NH Community Colleges Receive Funding

Two Projects Led by WMCC Faculty

Concord, NH – Ten innovative projects at NH’s community colleges to enhance student success and workforce readiness were selected for seed funding in the second round of grants from the Community College Innovation Fund of NH.  The Innovation Fund was created in 2012 by private donations to foster innovative ideas within the State’s network of community colleges.  College faculty and staff develop projects and apply for the funds, which are evaluated by a panel which includes NH venture capitalists, entrepreneurs and business leaders.  In addition to funding, recipients will benefit from access to a group of experts organized to support the Innovation Fund efforts.

Each project will serve as a pilot effort that can potentially be scaled up to create broad impact across the system, according to Ross Gittell, CCSNH Chancellor.  “Education is a rapidly changing field, and today’s innovative ideas will be tomorrow’s leading educational approaches,” said Gittell.   “We are making sure those strategies are developed and implemented in New Hampshire for the benefit of NH students, employers, communities and taxpayers.” 

Two of the successful proposals were put forward by WMCC faculty.  The first, developed by Mary Orff, Science Professor at WMCC, will result in the creation of a high quality online/hybrid lab science course that can be shared throughout the community college system, utilizing both online and lab-based delivery modes to enrich the curriculum and broaden access to science courses.

The second, developed by   Patricia Finnigan-Allen, Department Chair of WMCC’s early childhood education program in partnership with Gale Hall, Department Chair from NHTI, will result in a more authentic and enriched learning experience for online and evening early childhood education students by creating video documentation of course competencies and developing videos from the early childhood Lab School to expose online and evening students to best practices in early childhood settings typically more available today students.  

Other successful proposals include projects designed to:

- Use technology and web-based learning modules to improve math preparedness of incoming college students at zero cost to students;

-Develop an industry-driven degree program in applied data analytics targeted for business owners and employees in health care,      hospitality industries and at small and medium sized established

-Improve interest, enrollment and retention in pre-engineering programs

-Enhance remote access to curriculum and courses to support learners in rural areas, using hybrid course delivery and course capture technology

-Develop a marketing campaign to promote accelerated advanced manufacturing programs to high school students

-Increase system-wide course-delivery in STEM classes

-Create a mentor cohort program for faculty engaged in online teaching and technology integration

-Partner with industry to develop curriculum and credential and associates degree programs and to increase pipeline of future software developers

Charter contributors to the fund include Paul Holloway, Chairman of the Holloway Automotive Group and Chairman of the CCSNH Board of Trustees; Craig Benson, technology entrepreneur and former Governor of the State of NH; Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, Inc and a member of the CCSNH Board of Trustees; Jesse Devitte, Managing Director and Co-founder of Borealis Ventures; and Matt Pierson, Director and past Chairman of the NH High Technology Council and Managing Director with Dunn Rush & Co.

Jesse Devitte, managing partner of Borealis Ventures and a charter supporter of the Innovation Fund, noted “We are happy to help seed the impressive ideas and initiatives of faculty and staff at our community college system, which we see as a critical focal point in higher education and workforce training. This mirrors what we do working with entrepreneurs every day in our role as Venture Capitalists.  We applaud CCSNH for applying private market principles to public higher education.”  

"Dyn continues to support the community college innovation fund because it challenges the system's best and brightest thinkers to push the envelope in education.  In this second year of the program, we were impressed with the caliber of the proposals and the powerful, creative ways they address educational challenges and opportunities here in New Hampshire.," said Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, Inc.

Matt Pierson, director and past chairman of the NH High Technology Council and managing director with Dunn Rush & Co., said “The projects selected are creative and forward-looking, with the potential to position New Hampshire strongly as a leader in education strategies that ultimately will support a strong economy and quality of life.  I look forward to working with faculty and staff on implementing many of these new ideas.”

Seed funding awards range from $4,000-$11,000.