In October 2001, the Des Moines Area Community College West Campus officially opened as a facility primarily focused on the area of information technology. It was one of the first educational institutions to effectively utilize handheld computer technology (PocketPCs and Palm PDAs) to both create and deliver class content via e-books and facilitate instruction through a completely wireless network using custom software.
Through extensive partnerships with a variety of I.T. companies including Compaq (now Hewlett-Packard), Microsoft, Apple, Palm, Cisco, SCT, Taqua and Marconi, the DMACC West Campus remained highly focused on innovation both in and out of the classroom. The campus received national attention for this focus and was featured by national media outlets including CNN, CNBC, USA Today, NY Times, NPR and Wired magazine. The campus was also named to InfoWorld’s 2002 100 List as one of the country’s most innovative organizations, along with Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and University of Pennsylvania and organizations such as GE, Verizon, NASA’s Langley Research Center and FedEx.
While retaining innovation as a core value, the campus continued to evolve in its efforts to help students, industry and the community foster creativity and highlight imagination. Beginning in 2004, classrooms became themed-based, focused on the stories of great American innovators. In addition, from 2005 through 2011 exhibits were created to illustrate the 20-year development of the personal computer and the 150-year history of telecommunications. The first annual ciWeek (Celebrate! Innovation Week) took place March 1–5, 2010, and featured Captain Alan Bean, Apollo 12 and Skylab 3 astronaut and the fourth man to walk on the moon, as the keynote speaker. The exhibition has been fully funded through donors and sponsors, and to minimize development costs, the design, construction and maintenance of the exhibition has been accomplished through DMACC West staff and faculty.
The Celebrate! Innovation™ Learning Exhibition continues to evolve. The DMACC West Campus is committed to fostering the spirit and essence of innovation and showcasing its direct impact on society. Through the generous support of sponsors and donors, the exhibition will continue to grow and touch the lives of future generations.