An innovative project at Parkland College that preserves scholarly and creative works from its campus has earned statewide honors recently.
“Scholarship at PARKland”, or SPARK, Parkland’s new online institutional repository, received the Illinois Council of Community College Administrators’ Innovation Award for 2011. The award was presented on Thursday, November 17 during the ICCCA’s fall conference at the Decatur Convention Center. The ICCCA recognizes extraordinary accomplishments of select Illinois community colleges whose achievements were judged most innovative and unique by a peer committee. Of the nine colleges that applied, Parkland College took top honors. Submissions for the award were judged based on their goal, objectives, uniqueness, feasibility, evaluated success, and suitability for replication by other colleges.
Funded through the Parkland College Association College Planning Committee’s Innovation Fund, SPARK is a cooperative project between the Parkland College Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning (CETL) and the Parkland Library. Erika Hackman (Director, CETL) and Sherry Cmiel (Information Services Librarian) created and manage SPARK.
Launched in October 2010, the open-access digital repository makes available to the public the rich body of scholarly and creative work of Parkland students, faculty, administration, and staff. From Graphic Design Student Exhibition collections to “A with Honors” student projects to academic publications by administration and faculty, SPARK offers a wide range of materials that anyone in the college or community can examine. SPARK aims both to “foster collaborations between faculty and students as well as between colleagues within and across disciplines” and to assist Parkland College in fulfilling its mission to “engage the community in learning,” according to its website, spark.parkland.edu.
By the end of its first academic year, SPARK had reached and surpassed its original benchmark measures, and currently has 199 scholarly/creative works contributed from 103 different contributors, along with 6,074 full-text downloads. The repository has received more than 4,100 online visits from 16 countries, with visitors looking at over 25,500 pages.
“SPARK is an innovative project for our campus, but also for community colleges nationwide. We are just the second community college in Illinois, and one of a handful of community colleges in the country, to have created this type of repository for scholarly and creative work,” Cmiel said. “SPARK creates a visible picture and facilitates a deeper understanding of student success,” Hackman added. Those with questions or suggestions may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 217/353-3389.
The Illinois Council of Community College Administrators is dedicated to serving the interests of its members and to advance the common needs of community colleges. ICCCA membership is open to all administrators in the Illinois community college system.