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RVCC Proposals Receive Funding

Ten Innovative Projects at NH Community Colleges Receive Funding - Two Successful Proposals from River Valley Community College

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 River Valley Community College faculty.  The first, developed by Robin Saunders, Program Director of the medical lab technician and phlebotomy programs, will enhance remote access to curriculum and courses to support learners in rural areas, using hybrid course delivery and course capture technology. 

The second, developed by a team that includes Rich Andrusiak, Program Director of RVCC’s physical science, engineering, and math programs and Bonnie Akerman, Program Director for biological sciences, will enhance cross-campus collaboration in the delivery of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) courses and broaden access to these courses.  

“I am proud of the great work submitted by these faculty, a clear example of the high level of instructional collaboration and partnership that exists at River Valley Community College as it positions students for greater success,” said Dr. Harvey-Smith, President.

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

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

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

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

-Incorporate video resources into early childhood education curriculum for evening and online students

- Develop a high quality online/hybrid lab science course for students that can be shared throughout CCSNH

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.

For additional comments please contact:

Jeremy Hitchcock, CEO of Dyn, Inc.  603-391-4494
Matt Pierson, Director and past Chairman of the NH High Technology Council and Managing Director with Dunn Rush & Co,  mattpierson@comcast.net
Ross Gittell, CCSNH Chancellor,  603-230-3500