Innovation has been a core value of the Des Moines Area Community College West Campus since its beginning more than ten years ago. Helping students become more creative and innovative in their thinking has always been the primary goal of every program and course of study.
Following completion of construction in 2001, the West Campus immediately began receiving national recognition for its modern, state-of-the-art approach to learning. Through partnerships with a variety of hardware and software developers as well as providers of academic content, creative uses of emerging technologies have allowed students the opportunity to learn within a new, innovative context.
However, it hasn't been enough to just creatively utilize technology to develop an innovative learning environment. Students need to be continually reminded that creative and innovative thinking is critical to both personal and organizational long-term success and also understand how the innovative spirit has been a key aspect of what has made this country great since its beginning.
Designed to inspire, the Celebrate! Innovation™ Learning Exhibition stresses the importance of creative thinking and innovation by surrounding students, staff and faculty with numerous examples of innovative thinking which have formed the current narrative of American innovation. Through the use of tangible exhibits and artifacts, digital video, large photos and diagrams, and story panels integrated into classrooms, labs and common spaces, the West Campus has been transformed into a place that preserves, displays and celebrates America’s innovative spirit.
Students are shown how a diverse group of inspired people from varying backgrounds chose to actively contribute to society by adding value to everyday life. These visual stimulators have been designed to begin conversations and prompt questions. Personal discovery begins when someone can’t help but look at something and ask, “Why?” or “What did they do?” or “What was the purpose of this?”
The current Celebrate! Innovation™ Learning Exhibition includes four distinct elements:
200 Plus Years of American Innovators (1742–1965),
20 Years of Personal Computing (1975–1995),
150 Years of Telecom (1845–1995), and
ciWeek (Celebrate! Innovation Week), which occurs annually in early March. Combined with innovative teaching and learning methodologies, creative ways to teach and deliver class content, special presentations by outside innovators, and youth-focused summer innovation camps, these elements serve as positive, interactive experiences that impart and interpret information, involve audiences and influence understanding of innovation’s role in human development.