Transforming relationships through innovation

Dual enrollment with College Credit Plus is looking to be improved at Sinclair in a new tool that was designed.

The 2017 Innovation of the Year Award was presented to Melissa Tolle and Bruce Clayton, recognizing their project, “Transforming Relationships and Decisions with the Dual Enrollment.” The chair of Sinclair’s Innovation of the Year Award and also of the Design Department, Amanda Romero, emphasised that the award is for recognition of innovative projects and sharing with others the different ideas that come out of Sinclair.

The tool gives staff quicker access to information and enables them to better identify problems and monitor student progress. According to Tolle, the real innovation was in how the department uses the tool and makes decisions.

The Dual Enrollment Reporting Tool provides current and historical data on aggregate and student level enrollment data.

Tolle is the director of Sinclair’s College Credit Plus (CCP) office and Clayton is a research analyst for the Research Analytics and Reporting(RAR) office. Together they created a comprehensive data reporting tool for CCP.

Tolle recognized and determined the kind of information the tool needed to provide and Clayton developed it in an SAS visual analytics program. According to Clayton, the collaboration between the two departments for its creation was crucial.

“[Tolle] knew what information she needed, but not necessarily what information we had or how we could deliver it. I knew what we had and how we could make it available, but not necessarily what information would best help her do her job,” Clayton said.

The project had to meet multiple criterias in order to receive the award, including benefiting the students and community, as well as aligning with one or more of Sinclair’s core values.

Tolle explained that the project aligns with Sinclair’s emphasis on sustainability and efficiency. The easy access to data and student progress saves valuable time that before would have been spent waiting for people to get back to you about the information. As Tolle explained, it is more of a self service reporting tool now.

“We are able to get more students to complete their degrees. Last year 11 CCP students received their associate’s degree and this year we are doubling that number because we were able to advise students and monitor their progress through the data in this tool,” Tolle said.

According to Romero, she believes in the communication factor the tool provides and that being able to get essential progress data to partner high schools, their students and parents is important for the growth of the program.

Romero also emphasised the importance of what the National League of Innovation said about their award.

“These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the spirit of innovation and experimentation upon which the League was founded.”

Each year the National League of Innovation presents awards to recognize projects within member community colleges, which Sinclair has been apart of for 28 years.

Cerridwyn Kuykendall

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